Great Smoky Mountains National Park 2 min read

Guide to Fly Fishing the Middle Prong of Little Pigeon River

Ken Sperry

Posted by Ken Sperry

July 4, 2016

Also know locally as Greenbrier Creek, the Little Pigeon River (Middle Prong) is a medium sized mountain stream in Great Smoky Mountain National Park  known best for wild rainbow trout that inhabit the lower reaches of the stream and native brook trout in the upper reaches near the confluence of Ramsey Creek.

About Greenbrier Creek

The Middle Prong of the Little Pigeon River (aka Greenbrier Creek) lies in the Northwest section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Greenbrier Cove. The name “Greenbrier” is a tribute to the thorny vines of the Smilax genus that line its’ banks.

The Middle Prong of Little Pigeon River flows to meet the better known West Prong at Sevierville and continues to flow northward, along State Route 66, until its confluence with the French Broad River near the Douglas Dam. Due to the rough terrain, the Greenbrier is a rough, tumbling and fast moving stream prone to many flash floods that sometimes wash away the insects as well as the redds, making it an unpredictable trout stream.

This feature as well as the obscure sign on Highway 321 (Tennessee Highway 73) pointing to the Greenbrier Road may account for the reduced angling pressure. The sign is located 6 miles from Gatlinburg where the Greenbrier flows under the highway.

All three species of trout exist in the Greenbrier with a small population of browns in the lower reaches giving way to mixed browns and rainbows at higher elevations; and with bookies (locally known as “specks”) being more prevalent in the headwater streams.

Little Pigeon River (Middle Prong) Map and Access

map of fishing access spots on Middle Prong Little Pigeon River in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Get Directions to the Fishing Access Points shown above with the DIY Fly Fishing Map

How to Get to Greenbrier Creek

From I 40, take the exit for The Foothills Parkway, and continue to Cosby, then take a left. After going a couple of miles, turn right onto Highway 321 and proceed to within 6 miles of Gatlinburg where the Greenbrier crosses Highway 321. Then turn left onto Greenbrier Road.

From Gatlinburg, take Highway 321 East toward Cosby Tennessee for about six miles. Watch for a sign indicating Greenbrier Road to the right and turn right onto Greenbrier Road. Note: If you have crossed over Greenbrier River on Highway 321, you have gone too far.  

Greenbrier Road is paved for one mile and then proceeds another two and one half miles as a gravel road, providing access to the stream with several pull over parking areas. The Ramsay Cascades Trail will provide access for approximately another 2 miles to the confluence of Ramsay Prong.

Best Flies for Greenbrier Creek

The trout in Greenbrier Creek are not too picky when it comes to flies. Presentation is more important that then fly pattern.  Dry flies work well when there is an active hatch coming off.  Generic nymphs and small streamers will also do the trick.

Here is list of general fly pattern recommendations for Greenbrier Creek:

Dry Flies

  • Yellow Sally (#12 – 16)
  • Yellow Humpy (#10 – 18)
  • Parachute Sulphur (#14 – 18)
  • Parachute Adams (#12 – 22)
  • Light Cahill (#10 – 18)
  • Elk Hair Caddis (#8 – 16)
  • Yellows Stimulator (#8 – 14)
  • Chernobyl Ant (#8 – 12)
  • Griffith’s Gnat (#16 – 24)


  • Pheasant Tail (#12 – 20)
  • BH Hare’s Ear (#12 – 20)
  • Rainbow Warrior (#14 – 22)
  • Pat’s Rubber Legs (#4 – 12)
  • Golden Stonefly (#6 – 10)
  • Tellico Nymph (#12 – 18)
  • Zebra Midge (#16 – 22)
  • WD40 (#16-20)
  • Y2K Egg (#12 – 16)


  • BH Wooly Bugger (#2 – 6)
  • Sculpzilla (#4)

Gear Recommendations

A 9-foot 4-wt fly rod with floating line is perfect for fishing dry flies and small nymphs on Greenbrier Creek. A tapered 9-foot leader, with tippet size 3X to 5X to match the flies you are throwing, is pretty standard.

Looking for more places to fish? Visit our DIY Guide to Fly Fishing Smoky Mountains National Park for more information about trout fishing inside the the park.