FlyFishing in the Great Smokey Mountains

The week before Easter weekend 2013 the family and I traveled down to Gatlinburg, Tennessee to visit some friends of ours, who had rented a cabin for the week.

Traffic on Main St. Gatlinburg TN

Traffic on Main St. Gatlinburg TN

Suggestion – dont arrive driving through Gatlinburg proper.  The traffic is a nightmare.

My friend Alex, who we were staying with, was interested in having me teach him how to fly fish so I dug through all my gear and put together outfits for the two of us.  The day my family and I arrived, Alex and I stopped by the local FFishing shop and got some maps and our day license.  The guy at the shop was great and even stayed open a little pass closing time to let us get some flies, and of course gave us tips on where to go.  The person at the shop said to try Pigeon Creek, which was actually right near where we were staying.

We got up around 9:00AM, since the local guy said the fishing typically started rising that time of year around noon and would quit around 4:00PM.  Now that is a long stretch of fish rising!

Alex Suited Up

Alex Suited Up

When we arrive the air temperature was about 65º F, but the water was a chilly 43º F coming off the snow covered mountains.  Since it was Alex’s first time casting I thought we should find a nice open flat stretch. (Clear as Gin!)

Nice Flat Stretch of Water

Nice Flat Stretch of Water

It turned out Alex is a natural at casting.  After 15 minutes he was going at it as if he had been doing it all his life.

Right at 12:05 they started to rise to the west side of the stream and in the shade of the trees. The only problem, you couldn’t see what was hatching, thus must be very very small.  The Guide at the Fly Shop had told us they’d bite on 16-18′s, and to use a dropper configuration, but this produced nothing.  So…. we tied on smaller, and smaller flies.  By about 1:00PM there were probably 16 trout rising in front of us.  Only one strike for the day, and that little rascal spit that dry fly out as soon as it touched it.

The big news, I managed to (yet again) take a swim in the cold cold waters.  This time I fell in up to my neck, and watched as three full boxes of flies started floating down stream.  After scrambling for 5 minutes I did manage  to get all three boxes.  Alex asked if this meant the end of the trip.  My reply, “H__L No, I always carry a spare set of waders.” So I stripped down and switched to my neoprenes.  Here you can see my clothes drying on the car.

Clothes Drying

Clothes Drying

Note to self, besides being bracing, hypothermia sets in quick in 43º water.

Right on que, the fish stopped biting at 3:55PM, and we had nada for the day, although it was beautiful fun.  Next time i’ll bring 28 size dry flies.  :-)