Fly Fishing

With Little River just across Highway 321, Dancing Bear is an Angler’s paradise.

Ian and Charity Rutter, owners and guides at R&R Fly Fishing, use their wealth of experience to teach people how to become a better fly fisher. To schedule instruction with them, call 865-448-0467 or email [email protected]. Learn more about them at

For many people, fishing is a favorite outdoor pastime. It can be about more than simply catching fish. Wading into the water, one experiences the wonders of the natural world, the benefits of solitude “in the moment” and the thrill of the unseen in every cast of the fly rod. It brings families and friends together for good times. It makes the worries of the everyday world slip away for a bit.

These waters flow out of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park into Tuckaleechee Cove and Townsend. The river offers excellent fishing as well as tubing, canoeing and kayaking. In addition to providing some of the cleanest drinking water in the state, the Little River is one of the most ecologically diverse rivers in the area.

The Little River drainage offers excellent fishing for native brook trout in the higher elevations, rainbow and brown trout in the mid elevations, and bass or bluegill as you get further downstream. There are close to 1,000 miles of wild trout water inside the National Park alone.

If you’ve always wanted to learn the art of fly fishing, you can knock years off your learning curve by taking a class from Ian and Charity Rutter at R&R Fly Fishing. Their instruction is top-notch.

Ian has been fly fishing non-stop since the early 1990’s. He scheduled his classes around fishing while at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Ian graduated with a Bachelor of Science in 1994 and began guiding fly fishers in 1995. He is among the most sought after fly fishing guides in the Southeast. Charity is a native Oklahoman and moved to Townsend in 1998. She met Ian and took up fly fishing a short time after. She has been guiding since 2002 and maintains a busy guide calendar. In 2014 Charity was recognized by Field & Stream magazine as one of the top female fly fishing guides in the nation.

They explain everything you need to know to get started catching fish and help to develop your casting technique. Fly fishing tantalizes the imagination and urges you to learn more.

Directly across from the entrance to Dancing Bear and Apple Valley Country Stores is the Special People’s Park, a Handicapped Picnic area created by the Maryville-Alcoa Civitan Club in 1991. Access to Little River is available from a wooden ramp that ends in a concrete landing. You can easily wade into the water and cast your line or hop in your car and explore.