The Great Smoky Mountains National Park features over 800 miles of trout streams. Native southern Appalachian brook trout are thriving in many mid and high elevation Smoky Mountain streams. Many anglers visit the Park for a shot at catching one of these special fish. Best of all, brook trout love dry flies and are some of the prettiest trout out there in our opinion.
In addition to native brook trout, wild brown trout inhabit many of the larger low elevation streams, occasionally growing to legendary proportions. Furthermore, rainbow trout thrive throughout the Park except in a few streams that are solely inhabited by the native brook trout. Finally, smallmouth bass can be found in the lowest elevations of a few streams.
Smoky Mountain Stream Size and Nature
The waters available to fish range from large streams like Little River, Hazel Creek, and the Oconaluftee, all the way down to tiny brook trout trickles in the highest elevations. Pocket water is interspersed with large pools where the lunkers lurk. Long glassy flats and choppy riffles and runs provide great dry fly opportunities when a hatch is on. In between hatches, anglers will catch more fish by going subsurface. There is even a good spring creek in the Smokies, but this stream is quite difficult to fish.
Many Smoky Mountain streams are a small stream angler’s paradise. Consequently, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a must fish destination for any serious angler.
Surprises in Smoky Mountain Streams
Most trout in the Smokies are small, averaging 5-10 inches in length. However, the possibility of a trophy keeps many anglers coming back. Some of the larger Smoky Mountain streams contain brown trout which can grow very large given proper habitat and food. These fish do not come easily though. Many anglers spend several months stalking a single fish. As a result, catching one is always a treat.