Category Archives: TN Trout

Tennessee Trout freestone Trout Streams

Little River

by David Knapp of Trout Zone Anglers

Species: Rainbow, brown, and brook trout and smallmouth bass
Angler Type: Wade or Boat
Access Type: Public or Private

Guides

Trout Zone Anglers
Fightmaster Fly Fishing
Frontier Anglers
R&R Fly Fishing
Smoky Mountain Gillies
Smoky Mountain Angler

Fly Shops

Little River Outfitters
Smoky Mountain Angler
Orvis Sevierville
3 Rivers Anglers

Lodges/Rentals/Hotels/Campgrounds

Docks Motel
Tremont Lodge and Resort
Elkmont Campground
Riverstone Lodge
Dancing Bear Lodge
Blackberry Farm

Good Eats

Miss Lily’s Café
Dancing Bear Appalachian Bistro
Apple Valley Café

The River

Little River begins high in the Great Smoky Mountains on the flanks of Clingman’s Dome and Mt. Collins. The headwaters contain native southern Appalachian brook trout. The river grows from several tributaries and is a good sized trout stream by the time it passes the National Park Service Campground at Elkmont. The river’s character begins to change here from a backcountry pocket water stream, to a larger trout stream with large pools and larger trout. From Elkmont to Townsend, there are approximately 15 miles of excellent trout water. Rainbow and brown trout thrive in these waters. Some of the largest brown trout in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park inhabit these waters. Flows at the Townsend USGS gauge average from 75 cubic feet per second (cfs) in the fall, to 400 cfs in the spring time. The best wading is anything below 450 cfs. Even at this flow, caution is recommended.

The river in the Park is too small for drift boats or rafts. White water enthusiasts enjoy paddling Little River during high water episodes. Outside of the Park in Townsend, private land makes floating almost mandatory. This upper section can be done in a raft at appropriate flows. Below Walland, Little River can be easily floated in a canoe or kayak. This lower water is strictly smallmouth and other warm water species fishing, but can be a relaxing way to spend a day.

Fishing

Water depths vary from mere inches in riffles, to well over 10 feet in the deeper holes. Use caution accordingly.
Floating in Townsend is a good option during the winter months when the state stocks some larger trout. Floating in warm weather can be good for smallmouth bass.

Legal Considerations and Fishing Regulations

Please be very conscientious of private property outside of the National Park. It is not recommended to wade the river outside of the Park unless you have definite permission to access the river.
In the National Park, there are special regulations to protect this unique wild fishery. A daily and possession limit of 5 fish with a minimum size of 7” is in effect. Fishing is allowed from a half hour before sunrise to a half hour after sunset. Fishing is limited to single hook artificial lures and flies only, no bait or natural scents. No double or treble hooks are allowed. Anglers are limited to using one rod at a time.

Outside of the Park, statewide trout regulations apply. A 7 trout a day limit with no bait restrictions applies on this put and take fishery. We recommend catch and release on the smallmouth outside of the Park. Further information on regulations can be found at the following:

TWRA Regulations

Great Smoky Mountain National Park Information

Rod and Gear Suggestions

7’ 6” to 10’ fly rods in 2-5 weights are ideal depending on the fishing. In the lower elevations, 8’6” to 10’ rods in 4 and 5 weight are recommended. In the high elevation waters, lighter and shorter rods are ideal for the small but eager native brook trout.
5’ to 9’ 4x and 5x leaders are ideal except in the fall when low water may require 6x tippets. Monofilament is fine for dry fly fishing but fluorocarbon tippets are recommended for nymphing.

Flies

The spring hatches bring anglers from around the country. A basic selection of standard flies should work most of the time, but check in with the local fly shops to see what hatches are on and buy proper imitations.

Some suggestions for the Smokies include Parachute Adams (#12-#18), Tan and Brown Elk Hair Caddis (#14-#16), Yellow Stimulators (#12-#16), Bead Head Pheasant Tail Nymphs (#12-#20), Prince Nymphs (#10-#14), Tellico Nymph (#8-#14), Green Weenie (#12-#16).
Specific hatches in the spring and summer include Quill Gordons (#10-#14), Blue Quills (#16-#18), Hendricksons (#12-#14), Sulfurs (#16-#18), Light Cahills (#14-#16), Blue-winged Olives (#18-#24), Isonychias (#8-#12), Little Black Caddis (#16-#20), Little Yellow Stoneflies (#12-#18), Golden Stoneflies (#6-#12).

Summers are prime terrestrial time. Beetles, ants, and inchworms are all very important at certain times on Little River. The low elevations outside of the Park below Townsend may see some hopper action during windy days.
Midges hatch year round and are especially important in winter when they may be the only thing hatching.
On the smallmouth waters outside of the Park, Wooly Buggers, Stealth Bombers, Poppers, and Clouser Minnows should keep you catching fish.

Getting There

Tennessee highway 321 follows lower Little River from Townsend to Maryville. In the Park, Little River Road, Tennessee state route 73, follows Little River from the Park boundary to the turnoff for Elkmont Campground. From Townsend, follow 321 to the only stoplight in town. At the stoplight, leave 321 for highway 73 which takes you into the Park. At the Wye, the road splits. To fish Little River, turn left towards Gatlinburg. The road follows the river for the next 13 miles. If you are coming from Gatlinburg, take highway 441 to the Sugarlands Visitor Center. Turn right onto Little River Road and drive approximately 5 miles.

GSMNP Maps

Local Weather Forecast

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Updated Caney Fork River Description

We’ve been working with local guides to get the best river descriptions possible.  This one is from Susan Thrasher of Southern Brookies guide service.  Give it a read.  This description will be posted on the site from here on out.  Hope you enjoy.

Caney Fork

by Susan Thrasher of Southern Brookies

Species: Brook, Brown and Rainbow Trout
Angler Type: Wade or Boat
Access Type: Public or Private

Guides

Southern Brookies
Southeastern Fly
Trout Zone Anglers
Tennessee on the Fly

Fly Shops

Orvis Nashville
Fly South
Cumberland Transit
Jones Fly Co.

Lodging

Long Branch Campground – below Center Hill Dam
Edgar Evans State Park – on Center Hill Lake

Description

The Caney Fork River begins near Crossville, Tennessee and is impounded twice over its approximate 140 miles before reaching the Cumberland River. Most notably for trout anglers is the final stretch of river below Center Hill Dam. The dam is located approximately 70 miles east of Nashville, Tennessee. The 16 miles immediately below the dam is the primary stretch of water supporting trout. This section of the river is stocked annually by the (TWRA) Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency at four main locations: just below the dam, Happy Hollow, Betty’s Island and Gordonsville access areas.

TWRA stocks, on average, 220,000 rainbow, brown and brook trout March through November. Due to heavy generation and continually changing water levels, the river does not support any measurable, natural reproduction. However, hold over trout and the occasional stocking of large brood trout, offer opportunities to hook into fish measuring well over 20 inches. Brook trout rarely exceed 14 inches, but the new state record was caught on the Caney Fork in 2016, measuring just over 20 inches.

Generation Schedule

The daily generation schedule at Center Hill Dam is based primarily on power needs and flood control. The frequent releases provide enough cool water to support trout fishing year round. It is important to check the schedule before venturing out. Water levels can rise suddenly and become dangerous. The schedule can be found either by calling TVA #800-238-2264, #4, #37, or through the TVA website. https://www.tva.gov/Environment/Lake-Levels/Center-Hill

Fishing Access

The river is suitable for wading during periods of non-generation; however, the current is too strong for wading under generation. Fishing from kayaks, canoes and drift boats is also very popular during periods of non-generation. Extreme caution should be used when drift fishing during periods of generation and is recommended for experienced boaters only.

Use the link below for public access points and boat ramp locations. http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/Portals/49/docs/Lakes/Center Hill/Caney Fork Access Area Map.pdf

Center Hill Tailwater (Caney Fork River) Public Access Points

  1. Buffalo Valley Recreation Area, USCOE, with ramp
  2. Long Branch Recreation Area, USCOE, with ramp
  3. Pull-offs along 141, TDOT right-of-way, river access, no ramp
  4. Happy Hollow Access Area, TWRA, gravel parking area with ramp
  5. Betty’s Island Access Area, TWRA, gravel parking area, no ramp
  6. Pull-off along Kirby Road at I-40, TDOT right-of-way, no ramp
  7. Stonewall Bridge, TDOT right-of-way, river access, no ramp
  8. South Carthage Ramp, gravel parking, with ramp

Creel Limits

For detailed information on trout stream fishing regulations, see the trout section of the Tennessee Fishing Guide. http://www.tnfish.org/files/TennesseeFishingRegulationsTWRA.pdf

The regulations for the Caney Fork River are:

  • One Brown Over 24” may be harvested (under 24” protected; must be released)
  • Rainbows and Brookies under 14” may be harvested (14”- 20” protected; must be released)
  • One Rainbow and One Brookie over 20” may be harvested
  • Total Creel Combined – 5 Trout

Tennessee Fishing Regulations
Please be sure to check current regulations if you are unfamiliar, many of our tailwaters have unique regulations.

Equipment Suggestions

Rod: The most common outfit for fly fishing the Caney Fork River is a 5 or 6 weight rod in lengths ranging from 8.5 to 9 feet.

Fly Line: Weight forward floating lines are recommended during times of non- generation. Sinking lines are necessary during generation to ensure the flies are able to reach the fish due to the swift current.

Leaders: Fluorocarbon leaders and tippet with overall lengths between 9 and 12 feet and sizes tapering from 3X to 6X (depending on fly size) are recommended.

Suggested Flies

Flies: The majority of flyfishing is subsurface with midges heavily favored. Dry fly activity is limited; however, the occasional midge, mayfly and caddis hatches are seen a number of times during the year. Terrestrials, such as spiders, grass hoppers and beetles, are used during the summer months. Streamers produce fish year round.

Patterns to take along:

  • Eat at Chucks soft hackle
  • Zebra midges in various colors
  • Bead head pheasant tail
  • Scuds and sow bugs
  • Woolly Buggers in various colors
  • Guacamole stick bugs
  • Griffith’s gnat
  • Adams
  • Elk Hair Caddis
  • Streamers

Purchase a Tennessee Fishing License

Getting There

Take Interstate 40 to exit 268, then south on Highway 96 to Center Hill Dam. Buffalo Valley and Long Branch Recreation Areas are on opposite sides of the river just below Center Hill Dam.

Weather forecast for Lancaster, TN

Click here for all old Caney Fork River Reports

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Winter is here!

Wow! winter is officially here. We are in full swing at the shop (Orvis Sevierville) for fourth quarter madness. There has been little time to fish, but I thought I would quickly post some easy non-tailwater fisheries that are viable winter options withing a quick drive from the shop. So here we go.

Paint Creek
First let’s start with directions: Directions to Paint Creek

Paint Creek is a fun little stream to fish in the winter. It is located in the northern portion of Cherokee National forest and is stocked on a regular basis. In Spring/Summer/Fall there are quite a few campers and fisherman on the stream. However in the winter it is left to mainly locals and guys that are serious about fishing. I really like to hit it when it is really cold and we have a little snow on the ground as the stream is absolutely gorgeous during these times.

Another great thing about Paint Creek in the winter is that it is all Catch and Release fishing and is managed as a Delayed harvest area!  So there are goods numbers of trout to chase.  It is also a great place to take a beginner.  Link to TWRA Regulations.

Here is a link to an old post: Paint Creek Post

Gatlinburg, TN

Another overlooked area to fish this time of year is the Gatlinburg stocked fishing areas.  This is also managed as a delayed harvest area in the winter and is greatly overlooked.  You will have to fish in the midst of traffic and people, but after the first of the year all of this is gone for the most part and you can have some really fun fishing.  TWRA regulations.

Directions to Gatlinburg, TN

Some of my favorite flies for this time of year include Pheasant Tails and Prince Nymphs, the all popular Glo Bugs and San Juan worms, plus some Woolly Buggers.  If the water is really cold I like to fish with indicators, but when the water is warmer they will also hit flies on the swing as well as an occasional dry fly.  (PS, we did pick up the beer box in the photo and no it wasn’t ours, whiskey is much more effective when it’s cold!)

Hopefully, everyone is finding some time to get out this holiday season and remember it is also a great time to take family out on the stream and introduce new blood to our sport.

Tightlines and Happy Holidays!

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Spring Fishing Report Southeastern Style!

Spring

                       Fishinghttp://i686.photobucket.com/albums/vv230/woolly_bugger/jpeg1-1.jpg

                                             Report

                                                                       Southeastern Style…

Hiwassee River Update…We have a great spring situation occurring on the river now. TVA is doing some work to the penstock in Apalachia Lake so we are getting a constant flow from the dam which is the equivalence of between one and two turbines. This should persist through April and is a perfect flow to fish the upper river from the powerhouse to Reliance and the middle section. We very rarely have these flows. I believe it has been about eight years since the last opportunity. What this means is we get to fish the upper and middle sections from the drift boats and that is where the best mayfly action occurs. We have Hendricksons with caddis mixed in turning to Sulphurs late April into May.

http://i686.photobucket.com/albums/vv230/woolly_bugger/jpeg1.jpg Bottom of the World Almost…Our Patagonia trip this past February was fantastic as always. The fishing is always epic, but what makes it so special are the people and the place. We have a great group go every year and this year’s group from across the country was no exception. Our Chilean hosts and local guides are some of the most hospitable on earth and the country is mysteriously enchanting with another stream or river around every corner.

Chile is home to some of the world’s best and least explored trout fishing. We continue to fish new water every year. Plans are already underway for our 2012 trip which happens to be the big hatch year for the Cantaria beetle; a fierce looking but harmless insect, up to 4.5 inches in length and a favorite meal for the rainbows and browns. Join us for the fun next year.

The Crystal Ball -Trout Fishing in the Southeastern U.S….Every year about this time people start asking, “How is the fishing going to be this year?” Well, one thing is for certain – every year is different. But based on our winter and early spring weather summary, we are set up for one of the best seasons in east Tennessee and north Georgia. We had a good cold winter with rain and snow which provided us a stable supply of cold water for our mountain trout streams and a cold water reserve in our reservoirs. We have had an extremely wet March which has given us quick lake fill in the TVA reservoirs. So, we should have good stable and predictable flows for spring into summer. Combine all of that with the fact that our trout went through minimal stress last summer and fall and it all adds up to some good rod bending in 2011.
Southeastern Anglers Update…We are celebrating our 12th year as the premier drift boat guide service in the Southeastern USA. We are proud to be able to say that we have been around for a while. It all equates to experience and knowledge on the water and a high quality experience for you, the angler. Take a moment and visit our new website www.southeasternanglers.com. We have added some new services and faces, all without increasing prices for 2011. One great new feature is our new PCI compliant credit card processing system. For only $15.00 per transaction you can be assured that your trip payment via MasterCard or Visa gives you full identity theft protection. The Fishing Reports tab will be updated weekly with “what’s going on.” You can follow us on FB, twitter, or as an RSS feed to stay in the know.

Captain Dane Lawhttp://i686.photobucket.com/albums/vv230/woolly_bugger/png1.png

423-338-7368 / 770-655-9210 (cell)
danelaw@southeasternanglers.com
www.southeasternanglers.com

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Buffalo Creek Feb 16


Well all of this high water and cold weather had gotten me down, because I couldn’t get out to fish anywhere. Well the high water has receded a bit and I went exploring up around the Holston, below Cherokee Dam. TVA was still running 17,000 CFS but Buffalo Creek was fishable. I figured because of the falling snow and it being a Tuesday that their would not be many other fisherman or any at all on the water. I figured right and got a nice surprise.

I’ve fished Buffalo Creek before and I left with a bad taste in my mouth. Trash every where, almost no fish and very low flows. However this day I was pleasantly surprised to find that there was almost no trash, good flows and plenty of fish. All tough they were on the small side, it didn’t matter cause they were eager to eat and I had fun.

The high water must’ve flushed the trash out of the river, or maybe someone did some stream side cleanup. It looked like a completely different stream. The flows were a little on the high side, but the water was almost clear with just a hint of color.

It turned out to be a great day and although the fish were on the small side it was a lot of fun being able to catch them on dry droppers.

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Paint Creek 10/30/09

Headed for Paint Creek on a last minutes whim. The original plan had been to float the Clinch and throw streamers, but TVA decided they wanted to run two generators. So in a last ditch effort to get a little fishing in, we headed over to Paint Creek.

The drive over was really cool. There is a some pretty country over there and the leaves looked amazing. We got on the water around 12:30pm. There was not as many fish in the river as years past, but there were some very nice ones and a few even cooperated and decided to eat for us.

It was a great day and we even managed to catch a few fish. Doug and Clay found one really nice run that produced some great fish. We wrapped it up at 3:30pm and made it home for dinner.

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