Ice cold mountain gold

The water level for the Little River is finally back down to a fishable flow, it’s still a bit high so wade with caution. The water temp at the Elkmont campground today was 44 degrees and mixed with the high water the fish were on the bottom. The good thing is that the water is gin clear and the fish don’t have as hard of a time seeing flies, so use some split shot and get them down to the bottom.


This skinny female took a heavily weighted fly off the bottom.

I played around with a several different flies and kept adjusting the indicator to get the right depth. I also continued to add split shot to the leader until I noticed consistent strikes. This isn’t the easiest or the most fun way to fish but it can pay off in the Winter when conditions are tough. Pheasant tails, prince nymphs, hares ears and birds nests will be good flies to keep in your fly box, all of which you can find at LITTLE RIVER OUTFITTERS.

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Sometimes the next fish is only a shot away, in this case 5.

Every day is different when it comes to fishing in the Smokies and if you’re not willing to change your setup it can sometimes cost you fish. It can be as simple as a fly switch and other times it’s adding more weight, it just depends on the situation. Seeing the strikes this time of year can be difficult, especially if you’re only used to fishing in the warmer months, it’s a lot more subtle due to the cold water slowing the fish’s metabolism. Winter fly fishing can be humbling if you not prepared for it, heck it can be down right rough even if you are prepared.

The plus side to fishing in the Winter is there aren’t any crowds and the Smokies are as peaceful as they’re ever going to be throughout the year. If you would like to learn these techniques and more then give us a call (CONTACT US) and we would be more than happy to help out. Take care and  be safe on the water.



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