Planning Your Trip to Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Fly Fishing the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Fly Fishing Tackle and Gear:
The following is a list of things some more things that we hope will help you arrive at
Great Smoky Mountains National Park with everything you need to fly fish these beautiful,
freestone mountain streams. If you are new to fly fishing, you may want to read
section of our website on Gear before proceeding with this.

Fly Rods;
Unlike what many fly rod companies, fly shops and anglers want you to
think, the fly rod is not the most critically important thing there are when it
comes to fly fishing. It doesn't take a $800.00 fly rod for you to catch trout in
the Smokies or anywhere else, for that matter. You can catch just as many
trout on a rod that cost less than $100.00. You don't need to make long
cast in the Smokies. Short cast are the normal thing for fishing the small
Now that I have said that, like anything else, they make good, better and
best fly rods. Some cast better than others, some are lighter than others
and some look better than others. You do not need a fast action rod to fish
the Smokies. I suggest a medium action or even a slow action if you like to
feel the cast. These actions will also protect the light tippets.
You you only have one fly rod, I suggest you use a 4 weight rod that is from
8 and one-half to 9 feet long. An 8 foot rod is okay, if you already have one.
I suggest also having the following fly rods if you want to cover every fly
fishing situation you may encounter. A 5 weight rod that is 8 and one-half to
9 feet long with a medium or medium-slow action.
You may want to bring a rod specifically for nymph fishing, although the 5
weight rod will probably work okay. I suggest a 6 weight, 9 foot long, medium
to medium-fast action rod. A rod that is slightly stiffer will offer an advantage
when you are nymph fishing. You want to be able to cast heavier flies and to
be able to detect strikes easily.
There can be conditions where you would want a heavier 7 weight rod for
casting heavy streamers. The 6 weight will work for most streamer fishing
and even the 5 weight for lighter streamers.
Ninety percent of the time, I only carry two rods when I am fishing in the
Smokies (and backups in case I break one). A 4 weight rod that I use for dry
fly fishing and a 5 weight rod that I use for larger dry flies, nymphs and
streamers. I rarely use a 6 or a 7 weight.

Fly Reels:
You need the appropriate size reels for the fly rods you are using, of
course. You can get by with the cheap graphite models but I suggest one
with a good drag. There are some large brown trout in the small streams of
the Smokies and you don't want to loose one because your drag didn't work
properly, or wasn't set right, by the way.

Fly Line:
The fly line should match the weight of the fly rod. You only need floating fly
lines. Shooting heads and sinking lines are not necessary for 99 percent of
the fly-fishing situations you could encounter in the Smokies. I suggest
floating, forward tapered lines. Double tapered lines are also okay. I prefer
subdued shades of color, preferably green.

Fly Leaders:
The leader is very important. Have plenty of them in the right sizes. Nylon
monofilament leaders are fine. You can go the fluorocarbon route if have
more confidence in them. I don't happen to fall into that category.  I use
nylon mono. Bring preformed, tapered leaders in 4X and 5X sizes for
certain. I would also suggest at least 2 each of 3X, 6X and 7X size leaders.
You want the 4X, 5X and 6X leaders in both a 7 and one-half foot length and
a 9 foot length. The 3X should be in a 7 and one-half foot length and the 7X
tippet in a 9 foot length

Fly Tippets:
You will need at least one spool of extra tippet material (nylon mono) in
each of the above sizes. 3X, 4X, 5X, 6X and 7X.

Copyright 2009 James Marsh
All images are thumbnails,
click for larger view
All images are thumbnails,
click for larger view
You don't need to make a 60 foot
cast and in fact, can't do that in
most places you will be fishing.
Notice the trees overhead.
Rainbow trout are more common
than the others. This is a nice one
caught on the Little Pigeon River
near Chimneys Picnic area.
A thirty foot cast to the end of a run
is about as long as you ever need
to cast. This one is being made
sidearm to avoid overhead limbs.
comes in handy for storing it
where it is easy to get to.