Planning Your Trip to Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Fly Fishing the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Flies To Bring With You:
You should purchase and organize the flies you use fly fishing the streams of Great
Smoky Mountains National Park,
BEFORE you come to the Smokies. Although you can
purchase thousand of different fly patterns at many places near the Smokies, doing so
usually only leads to confusion, often receiving poor recommendations, and result in not
having the best flies you could and should have.

The trout are not fooled by your fly line, fly rod, fly reel, waders, or vest.
They are fooled by and caught on a fly. Don't let anyone kid you or fool you
with stupid theories and beliefs. The fly is important. Each and every time a
trout takes a fly, it is under the impression it is going to get a real morsel of
food to eat. Trout don't eat feathers, hair, metal, and foam. They eat
various marine species of life, crustaceans, and insects. The more your fly
looks and acts like something trout normally eat, the better your chances of
fooling it. Notice I said "acts" like. It doesn't make any difference how much
the fly looks like the real thing if it doesn't act like the real thing. That is why
the "presentation" of the fly is as important as anything, including the fly.
Here is how you go about determining what flies to use.

How to Choose the Flies to Bring:
Start by looking at a hatch chart. It will show you what the trout will be seeing
and eating during the time you are fishing. When purchasing, or tying your
flies, make allowances for deviations in the weather from what is normal.
You want know until a day or two before the time you start fishing, if there
has been major changes in the weather for the time of year you are fishing.
From a weather standpoint, you should consider that it may be closer to the
weather of a month before or a month after the time you plan on fishing.
Include that time period into your consideration of what flies to have.  For
example, suppose you are fishing during the last week of April. Mark out the
time slot ranging from the last week of March all the way to the last week of
May on the hatch chart. Now lets look at what the chart shows.

Flies for fishing the last week of April (last week Mar through the last week May

Blue-winged Olives
Eastern Green Drakes (Abrams Creek Only)
Slate Drakes
Quill Gordons
American March Browns
Light Cahill
Blue Quills
Little Black Caddis
Short-horned Sedges
Cinnamon Caddis (Abrams Creek Only)
Little Sister Caddis (Abrams Creek Only)
Green Sedges
Giant Black Stoneflies
Yellow Sallys
Winter Stoneflies
Little Green Stoneflies

That period of time shows a total of 22 items the trout may eat during that
two month period (last week of March through the last week of May). I
choose the time of year when the most insect activity is occurring. Most
other times, there would be half that number or even less. If you want to
cover every possibility, have flies for everything listed above but that is not
really necessary. Lets look at the items in detail.

Blue-wig\nged Olives are necessary because they will be hatching for sure
during the time your will be fishing.
Winter Stoneflies are shown 3 weeks before you are fishing. Although it is
possible for them to hatch, I wouldn't worry about having flies for them
because of all the other insects that will be hatching, so they are purely
Little Black Caddis should be finished hatching, but you may want to have
some flies for them just in case the weather has been unseasonably cold.
The Short-horned Sedges are a must. So are the Green Sedges. The Giant
Stoneflies are also a must. All three of these insects should be hatching at
the time you would be fishing.
The Cinnamon Caddis, Little Sister Caddis and Eastern Green Drakes
would only be important if you were fishing Abrams Creek.
The Blue Quills and Quill Gordons would most likely be gone but flies for
them would be a good backup in case the weather had been unseasonably
The Hendricksons would be a must. The Pale Evening Duns and Sulfurs
could be hatching if the weather has been unseasonably warm. American
March Browns would be a must.
The Yellow Sallys probably wouldn't be hatching but if the weather had been
unseasonably warm they may be hatching. I would want some imitations of
them because when they do hatch, they are very important. Notice my
paragraph below about a very important thing anglers often forget.
The Light Cahills are a must. Midges, minnows, crawfish and Sculpin are
always important.

Eleven items (The
Bold Black Items) are shown to be important during the
last week of April. The non-bold black items could be important if the
weather isn't normal for that time of year. The 3
Blue items are for Abrams
Creek only. That shortens the list of flies you would need depending on
whether or not your fished Abrams Creek and just how cautious you wanted
to be.

Now here comes
the very important thing most anglers forget about
when looking at a hatch chart. The chart isn't just good for what is
HATCHING. It is also good for what is ABOUT TO HATCH. So scan down the
hatch chart and notice what is scheduled to be hatching a week or two
the week you will be fishing that is not listed as a
Bold item. In this case only
the Yellow Sallys fit that category. This is very significant because the
nymphs and/or larvae of insects that are going to hatch will move to the
area they hatch in and become very active and available for the trout to eat.
Most any other time of the year you would find more than one insect that
was about to hatch. Those are the insects that you
Studying a hatch chart is how you go about determining which nymphs or
larvae are most likely being eaten by trout. Most nymphs and larvae stay
hidden or underneath rocks and are not very available for the trout to eat.
Those about to hatch, or in the process of hatching, are very available for
the trout to eat. This is the
most overlooked element of fly-fishing for
trout. You want to fish nymphs and larvae imitations of the insects that are
most plentiful and available for trout to eat, whenever you are fishing. Also
keep in mind that trout don't just feed selectively on insects that have
hatched about to fly away, they also feed selectively on the nymphs and
larvae, even more often that the duns and adults.

So far, we have just decided which insects and other things to imitate. We
not taken into consideration the various stages of life of the insects. If you
are not familiar with stage of life, or what I mean by this, go study what I call
Bugs 101. before proceeding. I would recommend your have flies available
for each stage of life but if you don't understand where and how to present
the emerging stages and spinner/egg laying stages, I had rather see you
just fish the nymphs and duns or adults. So you should at the very least
have imitations of these two stages of life.

Flies for various stages of life:
The stoneflies have only two stages to concern yourself with - the nymphs
and egg laying adults. The caddisflies that are net spinners or free living
have three stages and the midges have three stages of life - the larva, pupa
and adult. The case building caddisflies have only the larva and adult
stages to be concerned with imitating. Trout will eat some of the cased
caddis but I don't think they are worth imitating. The mayflies have four
stages of life to be concerned with. The nymph, emergers, duns and
spinners. Trout will eat them in all four of these stages. The emerger is not
really a stage but rather an intermediate stage. Trout eat them when they
are emerging because that is when it is easiest for them to do so. We have
two versions of emerger flies for most mayflies - a trailing shuck version and
an emerger version. The emergers imitate the mayfly when it first starts to
open its wing pads in the surface skim. The trailing shuck version imitates
the newly hatched dun with the nymphal shuck still attached to it. You
should become familiar with these stages of life and how to imitate them.
You should be prepared with flies for each stage.

Generic and Attractor Flies:
Many anglers will advise you to fish generic patterns. Those are flies that
represent a variety of different insects rather than a specific family or
species. They want call them generics, rather they will call them by the flies
For example, a hare's ear nymph represents a mayfly or stonefly nymph. It
doesn't look much like any particular nymph, but it does look somewhat like,
or in some ways resemble, most any nymph. Attractors give the impression
of something to eat. For example, a Royal Wulf, a popular attractor fly,
imitates nothing in particular but resembles some type of insect. As one
writer said, it imitates strawberry shortcake and ice cream.
In fast moving water, where the trout has a short time to examine the fly,
they will often take the generic and attractor flies for something to eat. The
short glimpse they get fools them sometimes. But don't be mistaken.
Generic or attractor flies will never work better than a fly that imitates a
specific insect that is most available and either hatching or about to hatch at
the time you are fishing. The trout will always select what is most available,
plentiful and easiest to eat. Determining what the trout are feeding on and
imitating that particular food - insect, crustacean or marine species - is
always the best strategy to use.

Copyright 2009 James Marsh
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Perfect Fly Golden Stonefly
Perfect Fly Little Green
Adult  Stonefly
Perfect Fly American
March Brown Nymph
Perfect Fly  Adult Yellow
Perfect Fly Adult
Cinnamon Caddis
Perfect Fly Green Caddis
Perfect Fly Little Yellow
Quill Dun
Perfect Fly White Belly
Sculpin Streamer Fly