Fly Fishing the Little River in Alabama

The Little River, flowing through the breathtaking Little River Canyon National Preserve, offers a pristine fly fishing experience for anglers seeking the elusive redeye bass. The river’s scenic beauty, crystal-clear waters, and diverse fish population make it a must-visit destination for fly fishing enthusiasts.

Key Details:

  • Location: Cherokee and DeKalb Counties, near Fort Payne
  • Access: Bank fishing and wade fishing spots within the preserve, with several access points along the Little River Canyon Rim Parkway (AL Highway 176)
  • Target Species: Redeye bass, largemouth bass, and bluegill
  • Best Time to Visit: Spring and early summer, when water levels are optimal and fish are more active

Top Flies and Techniques:

  • Poppers: Foam or hard-bodied poppers in sizes 6-10, in colors like chartreuse, white, and yellow
  • Streamers: Woolly Buggers, Clouser Minnows, and crawfish patterns in sizes 6-10
  • Nymphs: Pheasant Tail, Hare’s Ear, and Prince Nymph in sizes 12-16
  • Technique: Cast poppers and streamers near structure, such as rocks, fallen trees, and undercut banks; fish nymphs in deeper runs and pools

Local Eateries and Breweries:

  • Vintage 1889: Located in Fort Payne, Vintage 1889 offers a diverse menu of American and Southern cuisine, including steaks, seafood, and sandwiches. Housed in a historic building, the restaurant also features a cozy bar with a selection of craft beers and cocktails.
  • Fontana’s Italian: A family-owned restaurant in Fort Payne, Fontana’s Italian serves up delicious and authentic Italian dishes, including pasta, pizza, and calzones.
  • The Strand: A local favorite in Fort Payne, The Strand offers mouthwatering burgers, sandwiches, and salads, as well as a variety of local and regional craft beers.

Local Attractions:

  • Little River Canyon National Preserve: In addition to fly fishing, the preserve offers a variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking, rock climbing, and wildlife viewing. Don’t miss the picturesque Little River Falls, which can be accessed via a short hike from the falls parking area.
  • DeSoto State Park: Located near the Little River, DeSoto State Park features beautiful waterfalls, scenic hiking trails, and a variety of recreational activities, including mountain biking and birdwatching.
  • Fort Payne Depot Museum: For a glimpse into the area’s history, visit the Fort Payne Depot Museum, which is housed in a restored 1800s train depot. The museum showcases local artifacts, historical photographs, and Native American relics.

Fly fishing the Little River in Alabama offers a serene and rewarding angling experience, with the chance to catch the rare redeye bass amid stunning natural surroundings. After a day spent casting and wading, you can explore the area’s local attractions, savor delicious cuisine, and unwind with a craft brew, making your trip to the Little River a memorable adventure

Other Resources:

Desoto State Park (AL) Fly Fishing

Outdoor Fly Fishing with Panfish Poppers (PDF)

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