Planning Your Trip to Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Fly Fishing the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Wading Gear:
The following is a list of 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
this section of our
website on Gear first.

Wading is optional. You don't have to wade to catch trout. In fact, wading
spooks trout and you should avoid it as long as you can present your fly in
the area you need to without wading.
During hot weather, you can wade without waders (wet wade), using only
wading boots. Just wear shorts and enjoy the cool water. Again, stay out of
the water as long as you can get your fly in the right spots without getting in
the water.
So far it sounds like I am telling you that you don't need waders. That is not
my intension. There are many conditions under which waders will be needed
and helpful towards catching trout. You cannot get your fly in the right spots
from the bank in many situations.
If you are just getting started, then you may want to try fishing from the
banks the first time without wading. If you fail to catch trout, just be aware
that wading may have been the difference. It is best for you to have waders.
If you do, keep in mind that there is more to wading than just getting into the
water. You will need to learn some safety precautions and how to wade
without spooking a lot of trout.

Wading Boots:
Wading Boots are necessary whether you wade using waders or "wet wade"
without waders. They will protect your feet and help you avoid slipping and
falling. There are felt soles, new rubber soles that help prevent the spread
of didymo, and cleat soles. Do not use the cleat soles fishing the Smokies.
You can easily slip on the round, smooth rocks and boulders that make up
the freestone streams.

Wading Underwear:
I am mentioning this because if you wade, you want to consider what you
are wearing under your waders. If it is cold weather, you need to consider
having some type of insulated underwear underneath your waders. In warm
weather you may get by just wearing your normal pants under the waders.
They make underwear specifically for wading but it is not necessary by any

Wading Jacket:
They make special jackets that are cut short specifically for wading. They
usually have special pockets for fly fishing accessories and fly boxes. They
are not necessary. You can certainly get by with any good breathable jacket
that is short cut. Long jackets will get wet easier than short cut ones. If you
are fishing in wet conditions, rain or snow, you would want to use a
waterproof jacket to wade in or at least a rain jacket worn over the
non-waterproof wading jacket. Of course, if the weather is warm, you may
not need a wading jacket at all.

Wading Staff:
A wading staff is a stick that helps keep you from falling while wading. Most
anglers do not use one. It is good for people that have a difficult time of
keeping their balance. Elderly people may need to consider them. Most of
them fold up or collapse in some manner so they can be conveniently
stored away.

If you "Wet Wade", you will need some booties or sock like boots usually
made of neoprene to replace the space in your wading boots that is
normally taken up by waders making the boots comfortable.

Gravel Guards:
Gravel guards help keep small rocks out of your wading boots. Some
waders have them built in. If not, you will need separate gravel guards.

Wading Belt:
Last but not least is a wading belt. Make certain you have one and make
certain you use it. It could save your life. If you fall in, water can run down
the legs of your pants and fill them up along with your waist area. The  
added weight could be a big problem.

Copyright 2009 James Marsh
All images are thumbnails,
click for larger view
Standard dress is a hat or cap, fly
vest, and waders. Stick to the knee
deep rule. Don't wade if the water
is over knee deep.
must be worn with waders. Felt
and rubber soles help keep you
from slipping and falling.