Orvis-Endorsed Fly-Fishing Guide in Maryville, Tennessee

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Rob Fightmaster

Orvis-Endorsed Fly-Fishing Guide

Phone icon865-607-2886 Email iconguide@fightmasterflyfishing.com Link iconfightmasterflyfishing.com
PO Box 531
Alcoa, TN 37701

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The Story

Orvis—endorsed Fightmaster Fly Fishing operates guided fly—fishing excursions in East Tennessee's Great Smoky Mountains. With so much diversity in terrain, we are able to pursue a number of different fish species. And our mild East Tennessee climate provides nearly a 12—month fishing season to do it. From hiking in for native brook trout in the Smoky Mountain high country to sight casting to wary carp on the flats of the Tennessee River, and all of the trout, bass, and stripers that lie in between, you can find your water here!

The primary destination for my guided fly—fishing trips is Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It's the place that I know better than any other, that I'm most passionate about, and that I'm most eager to share with others. With nearly 800 miles of fishable trout water within the park boundaries, there are endless options for destinations, from remote backcountry locations to roadside pools. All trout in the Smokies were born here. That is something special.

If you're looking for a wade trip with more casting freedom in larger water or just larger average trout to test the drag on your reel, the Clinch River is an excellent option. Located about 20 minutes north of Knoxville, there are typical city and interstate lodging options nearby. Or it is about an hour from Townsend and Gatlinburg if you prefer to stay near the mountains.

If wading just isn't for you or you're interested in pursuing species other than trout, I offer a number of boat fishing trips. I guide out of a 16' Hog Island Skiff. It's very stable and gives us access to a variety of water throughout the Tennessee and Clinch River systems. Most of the boat destinations are within an hour of Knoxville.

My favorite boat trip is flats fishing for carp. Never done it? It's an absolute blast! Many compare it to fly fishing on the saltwater flats for bonefish or redfish. It's entirely sight casting and these wary fish will test your skills and nerves. They'll also test the drag on your reel. A small one is 5 lbs.!


We are a year-round operation with peak trout fishing times occurring from mid-March through mid-June, and again from mid-September through late November. Peak carp fishing time is from mid-June through late September.


  • Native brook trout
  • Wild rainbow & brown trout
  • Stocked rainbow trout
  • Carp
  • Stripers
  • Largemouth bass
  • Bream


Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers 800 miles of wild trout water. We wade fish these small to mid-sized streams and accessibility varies from roadside to backcountry hiking. The streams consist of very rocky bottoms and typically moderate current speeds, and we are rarely more than thigh-deep.

We also wade the Clinch River tailwater for trout. While far flatter terrain, rocks can still be slippery in some places and slightly deeper wading will be encountered. A short hike may be required to reach some destinations.

Warmwater destinations are on lowland rivers and lakes and are accessed by boat.

Typical Weather:

Spring is typically very mild here and is one of the best seasons to fish for trout. Highs range from upper 50s (early spring) to low 80s F (late spring).

Summers can be hot here with temperatures typically in the upper 80s to low 90s. Less rainfall and warmer water temperatures can slow down fishing on lower elevation rivers, usually making small, high-country streams the best bet for trout. Summer is a great time to sight fish for carp.

Fall is another great time to fish this area for trout, with mild temperatures through most of the day and brilliant foliage in late October and early November. Early fall tends to find lower water levels while rain amounts tend to increase in November.

Winter is mild here for the most part, with typical highs in the upper 30s to mid 40s. Outside of the occasional warm spell, fishing in the mountains will be slow, but tailwaters and delayed-harvest streams can still provide good opportunities.


Rates start from: $200 - $450.
You can find all pricing information at: http://fightmasterflyfishing.com/index.php/booking-rates/

What is Provided:

While you are welcome to bring your own rod and waders, we provide any and all fishing gear needed for no additional charge. Customers needing wading gear should provide sizing information prior to the trip. We provide bottled water on all trips as well as lunch and soft drinks on full-day trips. You are responsible for your own fishing license.

Gear Recommendations:

Smoky Mountain trout: Rods ranging in length from 7 1/2'-9' for 3-5 line weights. Breathable waders and felt sole boots are recommended from October through May. Wet wading (wading boots but no waders) is comfortable from May through October.

Tailwater trout: Rods ranging in length from 9'-11' for 4-6 line weights. Breathable waders and wading boots are recommended all year.

Warm water carp and bass: 9' rods for 6-9 line weights. Shorts and river shoes are recommended for occasionally stepping in and out of the boat.

What to Bring (Additional):

While we always have a camera on hand for fish photos, you may wish to bring one for your own personal shots. Sunscreen and bug spray is also something we keep on hand but you might bring your own if you have specific preferences. For trips in the Smokies, we strongly recommend dressing in earth-tone clothing and avoiding bright colored hats and shirts. Polarized sunglasses and a rain jacket are also recommended regardless of forecast.


Q: Where do we meet?
A: It depends on where you are staying and where we’re going. We will always communicate beforehand and I’ll select a convenient meeting place based on that info.

Q: Where should we stay?
A: It depends where you want to fish. Townsend and Gatlinburg are located near destinations in the mountains but will be a little less convenient for someplace like the Clinch. If you’re uncertain, contact me ahead of time and I’m happy to make recommendations.

Q: Do we keep the fish?
A: The short answer is no. This is not a “charter” where the object is to fill the cooler. I encourage catch-and-release, but as long as you provide a way to store and transport your fish on the stream and in the vehicle, and it is legal to do so, you may.

Q: What if it rains?
A: We go fishing. Rain often makes for better fishing. Refer to Policies & Restrictions (http://fightmasterflyfishing.com/index.php/policies-restrictions/) for more details about when and why trips might be cancelled.

Q: Do people always catch fish?
A: Two words that don’t exist in fly fishing are “always” and “never.” There are a lot of factors from weather, to destination and species, to the angler’s skill level that determine that. But people usually catch fish.

Q: Will we see any bears?
A: On the carp flats? No. In the mountains? Maybe. Bears are rarely seen on guided trips but are always a possibility, particularly on backcountry trips.

Q: Do you take kids?
A: Yes, but not under the age of 10.

Q: How many people do you take at once?
A: One or two people, though never randomly paired. If you book a trip for one person, your day is your day. I won’t put a stranger with you. If you have three or more people, I can often get additional guides to accommodate larger groups.

Additional Activities:

We operate primarily in a national park surrounded by towns driven by tourism, so additional activities are vast. Let me know if there is something else in which you're interested and I'll do my best to make recommendations.

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