The Smoky Mountain Rainbow Trout

Anytime trout fishing in brought up in conversation, mention of the Rainbow Trout is not far behind. The “true American trout” as its called by most fishermen, the Rainbow Trout brings about colorful imagery and excited in the minds of most anglers and rightfully so. In simple terms, it’s just a beautiful fish.

Rainbow are found worldwide and are now included in most stocking programs due to their adaptive nature and for the sole reason that they’re a extremely sought-out fish.

The rainbow is different in demeanor from most fish as well. They’re aren’t “bottom feeders” like their cousin the brown trout who tend to creep in the depths of the stream, and they don’t mimic the brook trout who tends to stay in the back waters. Rainbows feed and approach the surface with regularity and therefore they are commonly found in the open, faster waters. They’re found to be more revered than their relatives as well.

You can identify Rainbows fairly easily, especially those found in the streams of the Townsend and the Smoky Mountains. Their upper bodies are heavily matted with black spots and their backs range from dark to light olive. The abdomen is white and along the lateral line there’s a characteristic reddish pink band – a trait in which the color usually extends over the central portion of the fish’s gill covers. The rainbow has no yellow or red spots.

Rainbows apparently find security under a choppy, broken stream surface. Unlike browns, rainbows are much less oriented to physical, overhead cover. When hooked, larger browns will run for overhead cover, rainbows would rather just run and run and run to feverishly evade being hooked. Rainbow trout are also unique among the trout species in that they usually jump one or more times once hooked, a characteristic just as prevalent among bigger rainbows as among smaller ones.

Rainbows grow depending on a myriad of factors. Depending on habitat and the available food supply you’ll see the most dramatic variables in growth. For example, one-year-old rainbows will average 4 or 5 inches long; at two years approximately 6 or 7, and 9 inches long at three years. The maximum age reached by most rainbows is about seven years of age and, if they drift-feed, can weigh eight pounds or greater.

Central to the whole sport of fly fishing for trout is the demonstrated ability of rainbow and other trout to learn, remember, and to act as individuals different from the norm. These abilities demonstrate firsthand why trout are selective and why, as a result, there is no one trout fly that will tempt all of the trout all of the time.

Park resource managers continue with restoration efforts and have closed some streams and tributaries to fishing. This is an ongoing effort to ensure natural barriers such as waterfalls are adequate enough to prevent the brown and rainbow trout from migrating upstream.

Brown Trout Fishing on the Little River

Best Sport fish in the Smokies

If you are looking for a different fishing adventure in the Smokies, look no further then the Little River in Townsend, TN.  The Little River is full of large, brown trout and they are ready to be caught!

The brown trout is not a native fish to the Smoky Mountains.  They were introduced into the area during the 1930s as a game fish to increase fishermen traveling to the area to fly fish.  And though the brown trout has not been good for the brook trout that were native to the area they are still a lot of fun to catch.  Brown in color, aggressive and fun to catch, the brown trout has thrived in the lower elevation waters of the Smoky Mountains.  They tend to grow a little bigger then the rainbow trout and they are just as much fun to catch.  The Little River is a perfect habitat – mildly rocky, quick water, a few rapids and the food is plentiful.

Where to Fish
If you are in Townsend wanting to fish the Little River during the summer, you have to watch for tubers.  Yes, there will be people wading, swimming and tubing in the Little River after the water gets warm.  But – the fish are dodging the tubers as well.  They are looking for more quiet places to spend their time, you need to do the same.  Look for those places that are between the more used waters.  In the case of the Little River , this means going to the spots after the tube take-outs and before the local swimming holes.  You have a good stretch of river that is not as used and ready for you to pull out as many trouts as the fishing regulations allow.  Of course the fact that the fish eat the food that the tubers drop in the water means that getting the brown trout to bite is easy.

If you are fishing the Little River during the spring, fall or winter, you are going to have an easier time finding a spot to fish.  Without the tubing going on, the fish expand their range to cover the whole length and width of the Little River.  Look for those areas directly downstream from the rapids – this is where the brown trout hangout.  If you work your way up stream, taking your time, you are bound to find some good fishing and a lot of fun.

What to Bring
You can either fish for brown trout with a fly rod or a spinning reel, the fish don’t care and they will bite as long as you have the right bait.  Now, if you are a bit of a traditionalist, then you can always find what flies the fish are biting on at a local outfitters but if you want something guaranteed to get a bite, I have another suggestion – corn & bread.  Yes, you read that right – corn & bread.  Get a can of corn and a loaf of bread.  The nibblets of corn fit easily on the hook and once you roll the bread into little balls they will stay on the hook. Brown trout eat corn and bread balls like they were going out of style.  Hook into a brown trout, reel him in and add to your Smoky Mountain story with a great catch and potentially a great meal.

Little River Outfitters Townsend TN

Fly fishing in the Smoky Mountains is a outdoor sport loved by many who venture to the national park every year. For weekend anglers and serious fly tiers alike, the one place you should be sure to stop before fishing in any mountain stream is Little River Outfitters Townsend TN! Their staff has a wealth of knowledge on anything that has to do with l0cal fishing, especially around the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and they carry all the gear you might need to successfully reel in that prized trout while you’re here.

Since 1994, Little River Outfitters Townsend TN has catered to the Great Smoky Mountain fly fisher. The Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee and Western North Carolina are crisscrossed with numerous rivers and streams stretching thousands of miles across each state. Little River is a family owned fly shop and fly tying school that has become a destination for Smoky Mountain fly fishers looking to catch the Smokies’ wild rainbow, brown and brook trout. Little River staff can help the saltwater fishermen as well. They’re essentially the strength of the shop. The employees love to fly fish and have the experience to back up their recommendations.

Little River Outfitters started teaching fly fishing and fly tying classes in the mid ’90s. As far as fly fishing instruction goes, in those days it was few and far between. Today, Little River Outfitters has its own classroom devoted to instruction and sponsors events like Troutfest which occur every spring in Townsend. For the serious fly fishermen, or woman, Troutfest is the event of the year as anything and everything fly fishing can be seen, heard, and bought at Troutfest. By the way, fly tying classes at Little River are offered two weekends each month from May through October.

In all, over 800 miles of fishable trout streams make up the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A Tennessee or North Carolina fishing license is all you need to cast your line in any of them. The national park’s mountain streams are filled with populations of rainbow trout, brook trout and brown trout. Though brook trout are catch and release only. Just outside the park you can find excellent smallmouth bass fishing in the rivers and streams running out of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Additionally, the Tennessee River watershed provides lakes, tailwaters, freestone mountain streams and lowland rivers with some of the finest fly fishing for brook trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, stripers and panfish found anywhere. Still, Townsend, Tennessee is the perfect base camp for a fly fishing vacation. Little River Outfitters is there to help meet your fly fishing needs along the way.

Little River Outfitters Townsend TN
106 Town Square Drive
Townsend, Tennessee 37882
Open 7 Days/Week