Trout Zone Anglers, LLC

Great Dry Fly Fishing Opportunities Abound in the Smokies

The dry fly fishing in the Smokies is settling into a nice routine. Blue Quills are hatching in excellent numbers and Quill Gordons are showing up as well. Also, Little Black Caddis have started on lower Little River. This hatch will progress upstream quickly over the next couple of weeks, providing good fishing. Soon, we will be seeing Hendricksons. This is especially true if the warm trend continues heading through March. Normally they show up in late March or early April.

Spring is the Best Time for Dry Flies in the Smokies

Perhaps my favorite time to fish in the Smokies with dry flies is the next three months. Bugs will hatch steadily. Water levels, while unfortunately low, are actually good for dry fly fishing. Higher water makes dry fly fishing tougher in general. Thus, this spring will provide some of the better dry fly opportunities possible during what is already peak dry fly season.

Blue Quill is one of the spring hatches in the Smokies providing good dry fly fishing

“Blue Quill and an Orvis Superfine Rod” ©2017 David Knapp Photography

Current Fishing Report

Yesterday, I was able to get out and fish with my buddy Pat Tully. We had the river to ourselves so we just drove slowly up Little River and stopped at most of the pullouts to look for bugs and rising trout. The impending bad weather had scared everyone else off I suppose. What we found was lots of bugs, mostly Blue Quills although some Quill Gordons were also present, and of course we found rising trout. Even when the rain started, the hatch continued for another hour and we caught fish after fish. The day ended with a nice brown I nailed on a streamer.

This time of year, classic mayfly weather also happens to be miserable fishing weather. However, a little discomfort is worth it in exchange for the excellent fishing you can experience.

Rainbow trout caught on Little River while dry fly fishing yesterday

“Spring Rainbow Trout on a Dry Fly” Photo by Pat Tully ©2017

How To: Dry Fly Fishing in the Spring

One of the keys to finding rising trout is to know where to find the bugs. Of course, you can book a guide trip with me to see how I approach fishing during this time of year. If venturing out on your own, however, stop in at Little River Outfitters and stock up on flies. Then head into the Park and start slowly working your way up Little River. Stop at several pullouts along the way, spend time observing the water, and you should find some rising trout. Some of the best trout fishing on Little River is upstream from Metcalf Bottoms to Elkmont, but don’t be afraid to explore upstream and downstream of those places either.

A brown trout caught dry fly fishing is prepared for release in the Smokies

“Unhooking a Smoky Mountain Brown Trout” ©2017 David Knapp Photography

Guided Fishing Opportunities

If you want to maximize your time on the water, consider booking a day of guided fly fishing. As a guide, I prefer to focus on the learning aspect. While catching fish is very important on a guided trip, I believe you should always end the day as a better angler. If your goal is to learn to catch more fish, then a day on the water with me will help. After spending several years as a high school math teacher, I bring the tools to facilitate the learning process and help you become a better angler.