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Pigeon Forge, Smoky Mountains

Old 05-25-2020, 03:39 PM
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Default Pigeon Forge, Smoky Mountains

Hey All, headed to the Smoky Mountains in mid June. 18 of us, my wife's family, all good people. Obviously wondering about the fishing there and what else there is there locally?? Don't really know much about fresh water fishing. Not opposed too a guide if anyone knows anyone reputable. We're not staying at a resort so really won't have anyone for local knowledge. I coming from Pa. And would like to stop somewhere on the way also and see something we haven't seen before. I have a 13 girl and 16 yr old boy, So it's tough to find something they both like. If anyone has any info I'll be driving down rt 81 if anyone knows something interesting to see/do
Old 05-25-2020, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Maranvin View Post
Hey All, headed to the Smoky Mountains in mid June. 18 of us, my wife's family, all good people. Obviously wondering about the fishing there and what else there is there locally?? Don't really know much about fresh water fishing. Not opposed too a guide if anyone knows anyone reputable. We're not staying at a resort so really won't have anyone for local knowledge. I coming from Pa. And would like to stop somewhere on the way also and see something we haven't seen before. I have a 13 girl and 16 yr old boy, So it's tough to find something they both like. If anyone has any info I'll be driving down rt 81 if anyone knows something interesting to see/do
I wish I could help with the fishing part. I do know there isn't much in that river that follows the main road through the mountain that leads to the National Park. Although, that road does have a few good hiking trails off it as well as a nice picnic area. Other than that, Dollywood is a nice park and worth the 2 day pass. Enjoy, the views are stunning.

Edit: Just looked at map. That road I was referring to is 441

Last edited by JonisMist; 05-25-2020 at 05:01 PM.
Old 05-25-2020, 05:21 PM
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Maggie Vally is at the bottom of the mountain. As you start up going to Cherokee there use to be a place to stop and fish. If its still there you will catch fish. Its more like a pond and the boy that runs it is named Mark. Its a attraction you pay but its stocked with fish. Big sign out beside the road. I know, his sister lived with me for two years. LOL Just as you start up the mountain road that brakes off to the right is Sheepback mountain road. About 100 yards on the other side of that. Years ago so I can't promass anything.
Like where your staying better than IN town. You pay to park unless your walking . lot of shops zip lines. the new glass bridge don't miss that, and old photo places. Dress up like the old days,, There everywhere but have some good deals so look online.
We ride motorcycles up there most of the time . You can do the Tail of the dragon in a car. I did the last time I went up there. GF was with me . Now thats curvy roads. Pretty back there to. If you do the dragon headed south, Look carefully just as you go out the bottom. Its almost covered up but there is a swinging walking bridge across the river. Only have enough room to park one car. Just out in the middle of no where. Have all eyes to the right or passanger side. Awesome pictures on that swinging walk way over the river.

Hope this helps.




Old 05-25-2020, 05:41 PM
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Hello, Lots to do in Pigeon Forge, the kids will probably like the river tubing, they drop you off in one spot with inner tubes and pickup you up an hour or so down river. Be sure and go to Smoky Mountain Knife Works in Sevierville, next town over, they have lots of artifacts and history, worth going even if you don't like knives. Don't know if it is still open but there used to be large flea market also in Sevierville. Several shows in both towns. Have fun great area of the mountains.
Old 05-25-2020, 06:31 PM
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Cades Cove. An absolute must. Its a long drive through an area of insane amounts of wildlife.

get there early. Bring snacks and a drink. And enjoy the drive through. Id recommend hitting the bathrooms before you start.

lots of deer, bears, etc.
Old 05-25-2020, 06:48 PM
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Not sure how close to your route but Monticello is a really great place to see, TJ was a really amazing man, one of my all time favorite historic sites. We went when we did Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Pkwy.
Old 05-25-2020, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by TheYeti View Post
Cades Cove. An absolute must. Its a long drive through an area of insane amounts of wildlife.

get there early. Bring snacks and a drink. And enjoy the drive through. Id recommend hitting the bathrooms before you start.

lots of deer, bears, etc.
Damn I forgot about that. Yeti is right. its a one lane one way drive and you have to do it slow. Bear, deer and a bunch of folks out of cars taking pictures. Its a preserve in there so the bears are ok coming out letting you do the photo thing and hes right get there early. Bears move in the mornings.
Old 05-25-2020, 07:37 PM
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Roaring Fork Motor Trail is an interesting place. Not as heavily traveled as Cades Cove.
Old 05-26-2020, 04:47 AM
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Great trout fishing inside the national park. No monsters, but they'll hit dry flies all day long. Some smallmouth and stocked rainbows right there in town.

Hike up to Mt. Le Conte via the Alum Cave trail. Best hike in the Smokys!






Old 05-26-2020, 04:59 AM
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Foothill parkway has some great views.

https://www.nps.gov/places/foothills-parkway.htm
Old 05-26-2020, 05:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Vitalsigns View Post
Not sure how close to your route but Monticello is a really great place to see, TJ was a really amazing man, one of my all time favorite historic sites. We went when we did Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Pkwy.
Monticello was great stop as well as uva

River rafting was fun also
Old 05-26-2020, 05:40 AM
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I live on the NC side of the Smokies. There are several rivers here which are excellent trout fishery. A buddy of mine owns the fly shop in Sylva and is a guide. We are about an hour and half away tops , maybe 59 minutes depending on where you are staying and traffic conditions in the park.

In the park itself, the Little River running out of Elkmont is a good wild trout stream. Eagle and Hazel Creeks on the NC side drain into Fontana Lake and the Hazel Creek is perhaps the best wild trout stream in the eastern US. Folks come to fish it from all over the world and that's not hyperbole.

The Tuck and Nantahala Rivers are very popular for fishing on the NC Side. I know I see guys fish Abrams Creek in Cade's Cove too.

Pigeon Forge is like the Myrtle Beach of the mountains. Take that comment any way you like it . Lol. Don't know if your family likes the boat as much you do because you are on a boating forum,but taking a day to NC and renting a boat on Fontana Lake is pure peacefulness. I grew up in Florida. Spent nearly 40 years there. I have been to a lot of places from the Canadian Rockies to the Abacos and all places in between and Fontana Lake is special. It's huge, quiet and surrounded by the mountains. We typically keep our boat there in the summer.

I have hiked about 500 miles of the parks 900 miles of trails and I mountain bike too. I have been all over TN side and NC side of the park. You are welcome to PM me for any questions you have, except for Dollywood because I have never been there.lol. I use to have a store in Pigeon Forge. Spent a bit of time there working.
Old 05-26-2020, 05:48 AM
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I've never been to Fontana as I always fish Watauga. The overlook at the dam is a highlight where I always take people.

Pigeon Forge might not be too bad with all that is going on these days, but I normally avoid the entire area during Summer months and other times too. It is our measure of tourist traps.
We call Myrtle Beach "Gatlinburg with sand".

I also mountain bike our area. Mostly USFS access roads where you are lucky to ever see another person.
Old 05-26-2020, 06:26 AM
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Originally Posted by bakerjw View Post
I've never been to Fontana as I always fish Watauga. The overlook at the dam is a highlight where I always take people.

Pigeon Forge might not be too bad with all that is going on these days, but I normally avoid the entire area during Summer months and other times too. It is our measure of tourist traps.
We call Myrtle Beach "Gatlinburg with sand".

I also mountain bike our area. Mostly USFS access roads where you are lucky to ever see another person.
I remember coming to the Smokies in 1972. I was just turned 5. We went to Pigeojn Forge and it was the old mill and a couple shops. Everything beyond that was corn fields and farms. I grew up outside of Orlando and we didn't have a lot of money. So my dad took us camping . We went to national parks . When we came here we hiked daily. Stayed in national park or national forest campgrounds and we would get 1 day in Gatlinburg and 1 day in Cherokee and the other 12 days we would hike.

My perspective on vacations is shaped by that . I love being outside and in the woods or on the water.
Old 05-26-2020, 06:40 AM
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I call it the Myrtle Beach of the mountains, lots of tourist traps, wife likes those things. We stayed in a cabin on top of a mountain, had to have 4 wheel drive for them to rent to you. Cades Cove is great, spend the day and prepare to hike, not a lot on the road to see. Went to the Brazilian Restaurant, it was great, little pricey. The wax museum was a joke to me, not even close on a lot of them, "Taylor Swift" was almost a foot taller than me, I'm 5'10" It was good for our Honeymoon.
Old 05-26-2020, 07:07 AM
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Within a couple of hours of Pigeon Forge is Sliding Rock, in the Pisgah National Forest. Closer to Asheville, it is a fun, unique experience.

Sliding Rock - Brevard, North Carolina

Fontana is nice and quiet. Nearby, for anyone interested in driving or riding switchbacks, check out The Tail of the Dragon.

https://tailofthedragon.com/
Old 05-26-2020, 07:15 AM
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Pigeon Forge and Gatliburg are definitely the myrtle beach of the mountains....without so much gunfire (at least not of the driveby variety). Stock up on fireworks if they are not legal in your area. Plenty of touristy stuff to do, and plenty of stuff in the surrounding areas. Don't waste your time at Bud's Gunshop unless you like looking at handled to death tacticool garbage. They do have a nice range.
Old 05-26-2020, 07:28 AM
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dixie stampede might be fun for the kiddos. the ride through the park is a nice day ride form the pigeon forge area over to cherokee.
tail of the dragon is great during the week, weekends bring out all the wannabe racers etc.
cherohola parkway is also nice ride.

pigeon forge has dolly wood, dixie stampede and the ceap touristy shops.
just before pigeon forge, on the edge of it really is a cool go cart track,
gatlinburg is where your wife will want to go and spend some money. more expensive shops there. we used to go there every year as a start of our summer bike rally. always had a good time for kids through adults.

almost forgot, I think it's called lookout tower. great day hike for the family.
cades cove was always amazing, tons of wildlife.

there was also a little village type tourist thing. can't remember the name but they had food and old time music and dancing, got the crowd involved was a great time. that was north of pigeon forge I believe.
Old 05-26-2020, 07:40 AM
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We generally spend a week in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park area each spring. Had to cancel this year due to the virus situation, but there is a lot to do in the area.

First with respect to fishing:
In the park, you will need either a NC or TN non-resident license. There is a reciprocal agreement between NC and TN, so either one is good for the entire park area. All of the trout in the park are wild/native and can be a bit challenging until you get the hang of fishing in the Smokies.

Breaking things down into areas of the park with respect to fishing and things to do:
  • Catalooche Valley - You can access this area off of I40 at the Maggie Valley exit. It's a bit of a drive up and down a gravel road for a few miles, but the road is not too bad. In the valley are several old structures from the original settlers that are interesting to go through. The valley is also home to the largest elk herd in the Smokies. You can see elk any time of the day, but about an hour or so before dark they will usually be out in the fields at the head of the valley near the Palmer house and barn. You have a significantly better chance of seeing elk here than in Bennezette in PA, as well as most likely being much closer to them. For fishing, Cataloochee Creek has a mixture of browns and rainbows in the lower section of the valley. Parson Run comes into the Cataloochee near the church. This stream has a mixture of rainbows and brookies.
  • Cherokee - The Indian reservation has a section of the Onacoluftee and Raven Fork that they stock heavily with rainbows. There is also a special "Trophy Trout" section on Raven Fork where they stock 20"+ rainbows. For the reservation area, you need a reservation license and if you want to fish the "Trophy" section, there is a separate permit that is also required. The Cherokee area itself is nothing fancy with a lot of tourist trap type shops.
  • Cherokee/Onocoluftee Area - Take 441 into the park and right inside the park boundary is the Onocoluftee visitors center. The Onocoluftee River flows right behind the visitors center. At the visitors center, there is a working farm area with a good number of old buildings and houses that you can tour. There is also a small elk herd in this area, and elk can often be seen in the fields just to the west of the visitor's center. Fishing in the Onocoluftee is a mixture of browns and rainbows. Some of the rainbows are stocked fish that have moved upstream from Cherokee.
  • New Found Gap - There is a parking/overlook area at the top of the mountain right on the NC/TN border. Well worth the stop for the views of the park, Not far from New Found Gap is the road up to Clingman's Dome, which is the highest elevation structure in the park. It's only about a 3/4 mile walk from the parking lot at Clingman's Dome to the structure, but allow about 30 minutes or so to make the climb. Coming down is easy. However, only do Clingman's Dome on a clear day, as the clouds can really sock it in and you don't have any view. If it is clear, the view is well worth the hike.
  • Bryson City - From Bryson City you can enter the park by the Smokemont campground and Deep Creek. There's a nice waterfall coming into Deep Creek and a well maintained trail along the creek. There's another small waterfall upstream about a mile or so. Fishing in Deep Creek in the lower section is mostly rainbows. However, this is a popular area for people to float on tubes, so it can be crowded. Personally, I think there are much better areas to fish.
  • Fontana Lake - Beautiful part of the TVA project. The view from the dam is spectacular. You can rent a boat from the marina to explore the lake. Hazel Creek is a prime fishery, but is only accessible by boat. The marina will provide a ferry service to the landing at Hazel Creek if you wish to check it out.
  • Cosby Area - There is a picnic area at Cosby Creek and a trail that leads you to Big Creek. The Midnight Hole on Big Creek is something to see, along with a set of waterfalls about a mile further upstream. Fish here are mostly browns and rainbows.
  • GreenBriar Area - There is a picnic area here and the Greenbriar flows right through it. It's a pretty small stream with mostly rainbows.
  • Sugarlands Area - This is right outside of Gatlinburg in the park. There is a visitor's center here. Fishing is the West Prong of the Little Pigeon, which runs behind the visitors center, as well as along 441 going up towards New Found Gap and Cherokee. There is also a riding stable here along with several nature trails to explore. Fish in the LP are mostly rainbows.
  • Gatilingburg/Pigeon Forge - This is the "tourist" area with a lot of different attractions and shops. Some are local while the majority are "chain" type places you can find in any tourist area. There are a lot of options for kids. One almost must do is the Titanic museum in Pigeon Forge. They have the largest private collection of artifacts from the ship in the world.
  • Laurel Valley Road - From the Sugarlands Visitor's Center, Laurel Valley road goes toward Cades Cove and Townsend. Along the road you will come to Laurel Falls. It's a nice waterfall reached by a short hike along a paved trail..It's probably the most popular waterfall spot in the park and parking can be an issue. Further down the road towards Townsend, you will pick up the Little River drainage. Elkmont campground is reached by an access road, which is paralleled by Little River. Above the campground is a parking area for the Little River trail, which follows right along the river. There are a few old structures and ruins you can tour, and the trail is an easy hike. This section of Little River is mostly populated by browns and rainbows.
  • Laurel Valley Road - Further down Laurel Valley road towards Townsend, you will come to "The Sinks". This is an area of Little River that was created by blasting a log jam back when logging operations were in full swing. The river swings through a large eddy and deep hole. There's a parking area here where you can stop and see the hole. :The road follows Little River all the way through Metcalf Bottoms. There is a picnic area here, along with a way to exit the park through the picnic area by crossing the river. Rainbows are plentiful through this section, but they do get a lot of pressure.
  • Townsend Area - Two branches of the Little River come together near Townsend at the "Y". This is a popular spot for locals as well as for tubing Little River. There are several places in Townsend where you can rent tubes to float the river. Townsend also has Little River Outfitters, which is probably the best fly shop in the entire Smoky Mountain region. Talk to Daniel or any one of the guys there and they can tell you what has been working in the park. They are also able to recommend a guide if you want to hire one. Rob Fightmaster of Fightmaster Fly Fishing is one I have experience with and he was very good. A google search should find his website.
  • Laurel Valley road continues past the "Y" at Townsend towards Cades Cove. Just past the "Y", the access road to the Tremont Branch and the Tremont University will be on your left. Tremont is a popular stream holding browns and rainbows. You can fish anywhere along the road, but the section along the gravel road is probably better. The gravel road goes along the river for about 5 miles and ends at a parking lot. From the parking lot, the Tremont branch breaks into a couple of streams, Lynn Camp Prong and Sam's Creek. Lynn Camp prong is one of the areas in the park where the Southern Appalachian Brook Trout can be caught. While they look almost identical to the Northern Appalachian brook trout, they are a distinct species. You have to hike up the Lynn Camp Prong trail about a mile to get above the flume and the waterfalls, which are worth seeing anyway. Above the falls is where you will find the brookies. The trail follows the stream closely, so it is quite accessible. Fishing above the footbridge is better than the lower section.
  • Cades Cover - This is another "must do" section of the park. There are a large number of homesteads and churches from when the valley was settled. The loop road is one way and about 7 miles long. It can be crowded, but you will usually see turkey, deer and bear during the drive around the loop. Part way around the loop is the access road and parking area for Abrams Falls. This is a pretty easy hike along Abrams Creek to the falls themselves. Abrams Creek has a good populations of brown trout and is known for its fishery. Access is pretty limited to just along the creek downstream of the falls, but there are some great fishing areas. The campground at Cades Cove also has a riding stable and a camp store.
Overall, with respect to fishing in the park, for the time of year you are going to be there, yellow is the dominant color for dry flies. Little Yellow Sally stoneflies are hatching almost every evening, and the trout key on them all the time. For fly patterns, a yellow stimulator, little yellow sally, smoky mountain candy or a yellow elk hair caddis are all good starting choices. One of the best ways to fish is to also drop a nymph off the dry fly so you are fishing more of the water column. Good selections for nymphs are the bead head pheasant tail, gold ribbed hare's ear, tellico, and prince nymphs. A yellow soft hackle is also a good dropper fly. For rods, any 4WT or 5WT 8-9 foot rod is a good choice.

That's pretty much the park in a nutshell. There are over 600 miles of hiking trails and 700 miles of fishable water in the park, so there's always something new to explore. Getting the park maps for the trails, fishing and waterfalls at one of the Visitor's Centers will be a great reference for you.

Good Luck and have fun. Please feel free to PM me if you have any questions.
Old 05-26-2020, 04:51 PM
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Hey guys thanks for giving me so much to go on. I'll probably be stopping at Monticello on the way looks like a good place to stop and overnight to break up the trip. Looking forward to Cade's Cove love the scenic stuff. And one of you mentioned a guide I may go that route also. Zip line and Knifeworks will probably have many people in my family going.
Sounds like some of you know the area pretty well. I may need some local knowledge so as some said I may pm someone

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