Re: what rod to get
I fish those same waters and my more local waters around Boone with those same fly sizes. I have rods ranging from a 2 weight in medium action, 3 weights in medium and fast, and a couple of medium fast 4 weights. I find myself using the 3 weights 90% of the time. Length is a matter of personal preference. If you like an 8' 6" rod, check out cabelas for a redington ct. On sale for 75 bucks plus shipping. This is a more medium action rod with a lifetime warranty with rod tube. Good luck in your search.
Here I walk slowly, deliberately, taking it one step, one trout, one sunset at a time. -Harry Middleton