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West Prong of Little River

This small stream flows west from the junction with Middle Prong before abruptly turning south and leaving the road behind. Easy access is possible on the West Prong Little River along Laurel Creek Road. This is the main road into Cades Cove and sees heavy traffic from Park visitors. Anglers who want to fish this smaller stream can access it from pullouts along this road. Another option is to hike in on the West Prong Trail from Tremont on Middle Prong of Little River.

West Prong Little River in the Smokies

Riffles on West Prong Little River ©2016 David Knapp Photography

Fishing West Prong Little River

If you are looking for large fish, I would not recommend fishing the West Prong of Little River. Larger than expected trout occasionally turn up on this stream. I have caught rainbow trout up to 13 inches here. However, that is an exception rather than the rule. The average catch will be the usual 5-8 inch rainbow trout. If you are wanting shots at larger trout, consider fishing the nearby Little River.

The stream is made up of classic mountain pocket water including nice pools, riffles, and runs. Some of the pools on this stream are quite large for such a small stream. Hatches are fairly diverse here as well. This is a good stream to catch many of the classic spring mayfly hatches. One of the most exciting hatches is the March Browns. These large mayflies never come off in large numbers, but it doesn’t take many to get the attention of the resident trout. This is one of the few Park streams where I recommend fishing strictly with a dry fly or at least a dry fly and a small nymph as a dropper. Nymphing will certainly catch fish here, but many of the larger pools are custom made for dry fly fishing.

During heavier hatches, matching the hatch is a good option. That said, my go to fly on this and many other Great Smoky Mountains stream is a Parachute Adams in #14-#16.

Best Time To Fish West Prong Little River

Because this is a lower elevation stream, fishing can become tough during the hot days of summer. Fishing is best here fall through spring. If you only have a couple of hours to get away and are staying in Townsend, consider hitting the West Prong Little River. Someone looking for fairly easy access will also appreciate this stream. Early in the morning and later in the evening is usually best on this stream.

Rainbow trout on a dry fly on West Prong Little River

Dry Fly Eater on West Prong Little River – ©2016 David Knapp Photography