Little River is one of the largest drainages within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and consists of the West Prong, Middle Prong, and East Prong. Generally the East Prong is just called Little River as it is the dominant “prong.” This stream contains gentle pools and tumbling pocket water. The mix of water types makes this an enjoyable fishery.
This Smoky Mountain stream features some of the most diverse fishing opportunities in the Park. The highest tributaries of the East and Middle Prongs featuring native brook trout. Wild rainbow trout often mix in with the brook trout in the higher elevations. As you head lower, brown trout start to show up. Little River probably contains some of the largest brown trout in the entire Smokies. In the lower elevations near the Park boundary, smallmouth bass start to mix in with the trout. By the time you get into Townsend, just outside the Park, smallmouth and rock bass are dominating. Trout are also stocked in town by the state of Tennessee.
In addition to being a great trout stream, Little River is also one of the most accessible streams in the Park. There are many miles of roadside access and many more backcountry miles accessible by hiking trails. Being close to the peaceful mountain town of Townsend helps as well. Anglers can stay in the “Peaceful Side of the Smokies” without experiencing the crowds of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. An excellent base for anglers to further explore the Park is Elkmont Campground. This campground is at the heart of the best water on the river.
While the main stem is probably the most heavily fished stream in the Park, Middle Prong (Tremont) and the West Prong are also very popular and for good reason. Check out each branch’s individual page for more on the fishing opportunities available.
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