A Comprehensive Fly Type Chart?

jayr

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OP, as you have found there are multiple hatch charts for the Smokies. I am sure doing some more searching will turn up more.

There are a handful of flies both drys and nymphs that will work in the Smokies. Remember that the food sources there are fairly limited so they will eat about anything, within reason.

As for the thunderhead, yes they work. They are a very old fly here. My dad was an ardent advocate of using them and on an occasion I still use them.

Great summer flies are never sink caddis in yellow, yellow stimulator, yellow sallies, etc. There are more.


Generally speaking in the Smokies, the spring starts out with dark colored flies (dry) and as the spring unfolds into summer the color of the flies brighten with yellow being the *it* color in the summer along with terrestrials.

But there is a whole nuther aspect to Smokies fly fishing. I have said it before in some of my other posts but it is worth saying again, STEALTH, use it. I cannot stress that enough. Everything from your tippet, line and most especially YOU. Especially how you dress. I have met many other anglers, experiencesd anglers at that from other parts of the country and almost without fail they comment on how hard it is to catch fish in the Smokies. Your plan of attack, if you will, needs to be well thought out and use all the natural obstacles to your advantage. Wear earth tone colored gear, move slowly, keep false casts to a minimum and watch your shadow.

Now as for the Clinch, sulfur’s are good when a hatch is on in warm weather. Midges are a good nymph there as well. The water on the Clinch is more consistent temp wise due to it being a tailwater. No matter how hot it gets in the summer, you still better wear waders.

Some other thoughts for you regarding the Smokies pertain to your hook set. It has to be fast, lightning fast. Strip sets will not get you many fish in the Smokies. Also, a rod with a soft tip will help. Although I am sure there are those that use fast action rods there, more moderate actions tend to work better for most. You will not be making many casts in excess of 20-25 feet, you just don’t have the room there. Accuracy is much more a virtue there than distance.
 

denver1911

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wow, I haven't even heard of that fly. But I looked it up, see it's a dry fly, so I'm guessing it's more of a spring/summer fly?
An excellent point. I use dry flies in the Smokies almose exclusively .. but I don’t fish there in winter. Why? Cause I don’t catch as many fish as I do in spring/summer/early-fall. April-October is about the only time I go. Most of those months I can catch as many fish as I want on a dry fly. Yes, sometimes it’s tough and I have to switch to a humpy or something, but as another poster put it .. pickings are slim for those fish and, if you sneak up on them, put something buggy in front of them that is drifting like it’s not tied to anything .. they’ll eat it.
 

flytie09

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My suggestion is to pick up this book for all streams in TN. Includes maps, hatch charts and places to eat all across the state. Over 350 pages of intel. $30 including shipping.

View attachment 20684

Fly Fisher's Guide to Tennessee-Including Great Smoky Mountains National Park by Don Kirk: New, Paperback, £22.67 at Alibris

This famous book by Dave Whitlock - Guide to Aquatic Trout Foods so you can ID various insects $4 includes shipping.....you must be able to distinguish a midge from a caddis from a stonefly to be a successful fly fisher:

View attachment 20685

Dave Whitlock's Guide to Aquatic Trout Foods by Dave Whitlock - Paperback - from Discover Books and Biblio.com

This website has more free info on streams than I've found anywhere. I recommend it to all newbs....it's seriously worth checking out. - Your Waters - Trout, Steelhead, Saltwater Species & Salmon Fishing Destinations

And lastly......if you're stuck on what the heck an insect you read about looks like...this website - Troutnut........it's bar none the best out there. It has thousands on high resolution pictures of insects across various stages listed by both common and specific names.

Common Names of Trout Stream Insects

Don't worry about buying every fly pattern you hear about from passing anglers. Learn the various insects that exist in your area, focus on size, color and shape in that order when selecting a fly from your box and shake bushes, pick up rocks and maybe carry a seine with you.

Fishing blueline streams in GSMNP, the trout aren't super picky unless it's a super duper pressured stream. I wouldn't start out on a spot like that. I'd say you would do quite well with a handfull of searcher patterns. Hares ear nymphs, pheasant tails, prince nymph and maybe some good bushy catskill style dry flies like a light cahill, adams and maybe an elk hair caddis in various colors. Thats about it.

For tailwaters...again focus on one. Most TN tailwaters......the insects are plentiful.....but they're pretty limited from a species perspective. Scuds, midges, sulphurs in warm weather and BWOs in cold weather.....that's about it. A pheasant tail in various sizes is all you need for most all nymphs and some sulphur (yellowish white bugs) and BWO (blue winged olive) CDC comparaduns for mayflies in their adult stage.

That's about maybe 10 patterns, in size 14-18 and you're on fish in TN.
 

Ike47

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My suggestion is to pick up this book for all streams in TN. Includes maps, hatch charts and places to eat all across the state. Over 350 pages of intel. $30 including shipping.

View attachment 20684

Fly Fisher's Guide to Tennessee-Including Great Smoky Mountains National Park by Don Kirk: New, Paperback, £22.67 at Alibris

This famous book by Dave Whitlock - Guide to Aquatic Trout Foods so you can ID various insects $4 includes shipping.....you must be able to distinguish a midge from a caddis from a stonefly to be a successful fly fisher:

View attachment 20685

Dave Whitlock's Guide to Aquatic Trout Foods by Dave Whitlock - Paperback - from Discover Books and Biblio.com

This website has more free info on streams than I've found anywhere. I recommend it to all newbs....it's seriously worth checking out. - Your Waters - Trout, Steelhead, Saltwater Species & Salmon Fishing Destinations

And lastly......if you're stuck on what the heck an insect you read about looks like...this website - Troutnut........it's bar none the best out there. It has thousands on high resolution pictures of insects across various stages listed by both common and specific names.

Common Names of Trout Stream Insects

Don't worry about buying every fly pattern you hear about from passing anglers. Learn the various insects that exist in your area, focus on size, color and shape in that order when selecting a fly from your box and shake bushes, pick up rocks and maybe carry a seine with you.

Fishing blueline streams in GSMNP, the trout aren't super picky unless it's a super duper pressured stream. I wouldn't start out on a spot like that. I'd say you would do quite well with a handfull of searcher patterns. Hares ear nymphs, pheasant tails, prince nymph and maybe some good bushy catskill style dry flies like a light cahill, adams and maybe an elk hair caddis in various colors. Thats about it.

For tailwaters...again focus on one. Most TN tailwaters......the insects are plentiful.....but they're pretty limited from a species perspective. Scuds, midges, sulphurs in warm weather and BWOs in cold weather.....that's about it. A pheasant tail in various sizes is all you need for most all nymphs and some sulphur (yellowish white bugs) and BWO (blue winged olive) CDC comparaduns for mayflies in their adult stage.

That's about maybe 10 patterns, in size 14-18 and you're on fish in TN.
Thanks for so much great information! It does become overwhelming at times. I have ordered Whitlock's book, based on the same recommendation earlier in this thread. As for Dirk's book, do you think I need it, since I already have Rutter's book on East Tennessee fly fishing for trout? Don't want to spend money unnecessarily, but if it's still worth it, I'll certainly do so.
 

jayr

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Don Kirk wrote one of the first book on fishing the Smokies. He wrote it back in the 70’s and it’s still good today. It has about all of the fishable streams in the GSMNP. I am sure it is still in print.

One trick on this and other books that can save you money is buying off of Amazon and buying used. They have that option and every used book I have bought has been in better than advertised condition.
 

Ike47

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Don Kirk wrote one of the first book on fishing the Smokies. He wrote it back in the 70’s and it’s still good today. It has about all of the fishable streams in the GSMNP. I am sure it is still in print.

One trick on this and other books that can save you money is buying off of Amazon and buying used. They have that option and every used book I have bought has been in better than advertised condition.
Thanks. Yes, I agree about Amazon. I also use thriftbooks.com, which often has better condition books, and prices equal to or better than those on Amazon, and like Amazon their condition is also generally better than the condition listed on the site.
 

flytie09

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Those two books should be fine. They have hatch charts I presume? With some digging online with the links you’ve been sent... you’re good.

I’ll be honest....... I don’t even really worry about hatch charts here in SW Va..... Why? Because I’ll be honest.......we don’t have prolific and diverse insect species here in the streams in Southern Appalachia. I rarely use dry flies..... because I’ve witnessed maybe a half dozen hatches in the hundreds of hours I’ve fished in the past 15 years I’ve been here.

It’s not like PA where you have 30 different mayfliies you have to identify. And sculpins, and Caddis and terrestrials.........

I like easy and simple and things I can remember. With size and color I don’t have to worry about having a degree in Entomology. Hares ears, pheasant tails and Adams are our friends as fly anglers. They are one of the highest sold flies in the past 50 years because they flat out work.

Now tail waters......... I’ve fished the two I sent you a PM about before. The big trick is stealth. You’re dealing with trout on slack or froggy water. Long and light leaders, long casts, Midges, BWOs and Sulphurs are what I found to be critical for me. Caddis too but their emergence is very much stream dependent.

You know how you eat an elephant? One bite at a time....... good eatin’ and good luck.
 

Ike47

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Those two books should be fine. They have hatch charts I presume? With some digging online with the links you’ve been sent... you’re good.

I’ll be honest....... I don’t even really worry about hatch charts here in SW Va..... Why? Because I’ll be honest.......we don’t have prolific and diverse insect species here in the streams in Southern Appalachia. I rarely use dry flies..... because I’ve witnessed maybe a half dozen hatches in the hundreds of hours I’ve fished in the past 15 years I’ve been here.

It’s not like PA where you have 30 different mayfliies you have to identify. And sculpins, and Caddis and terrestrials.........

I like easy and simple and things I can remember. With size and color I don’t have to worry about having a degree in Entomology. Hares ears, pheasant tails and Adams are our friends as fly anglers. They are one of the highest sold flies in the past 50 years because they flat out work.

Now tail waters......... I’ve fished the two I sent you a PM about before. The big trick is stealth. You’re dealing with trout on slack or froggy water. Long and light leaders, long casts, Midges, BWOs and Sulphurs are what I found to be critical for me. Caddis too but their emergence is very much stream dependent.

You know how you eat an elephant? One bite at a time....... good eatin’ and good luck.
Thanks! I need both. :)
 

jayr

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Ah, ok... I have two GSMNP FF books already, Rutter's and Lawrence's. Do you recommend getting Kirk's in addition to them?
You can get a used copy for around $5 from what I found on Amazon, why not?
Kirk is very stream specific and frankly I have not read the other two you mention.
 

Lewis Chessman

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For purely practical purposes, when you approach your water, sit and watch it for ten minutes before you fish. Look for fish and insect activity. Shake bushes & trees by the water's edge to see what falls off. Look for spent fly shucks collecting in numbers in a back-eddy or caught in spume (foam), then look for any still hatching in the surface or egg-laying adults dapping on the surface to imitate. Look under stones in the shallows for creepy-crawlies you can mimic. Carry a means of bringing a few specimens home or photograph them immediately for later identification if you want to get precise - but that's not often necessary in practice, as said.

I was with an angler last season (Atlantic salmon fishing) who kept a close eye on bird activity - swifts over the river = a hatch coming off = barometric pressure rising. Skylarks flying high, ditto. Some salmon anglers believe a rising barometer bodes well, bringing fish 'on'. I saw no evidence of the same that day. ;)
But, his instincts were good. It can pay to be observant of one's surroundings rather than fully focused on your fly.
 

jayr

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Ike, another thought just occurred to me, have you checked out Little River Outfitters classes they offer?

They have several different kinds, nymphing, beginner and entomology with regards to bugs, etc. in the Smokies.

Several of the classes that involve fishing later they pair you up with one of the several local guides and hit the water.

Check them out.
 

flytie09

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Here's a resource to check out. It's a rather expensive paid service to help you ID insects and organize your flybox...but has some very good free information.

Mayfly Entomology Course |
 

kevind62

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I haven't taken the time to read through all of the posts, but invest in a small fine meshed scoop net and sample the water to see what's floating in it. This is a good starting point any time you hit the water.
 

jayr

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Ike, I dug out my copy of Kirk's book and re-read it. I have not really read it in excess of 30 years or so, but ran across something he wrote that I think is very important with regards to fishing in the GSMNP.

Kirk wrote about one of the earliest fly fisherman to fish the park and had regularly guided starting back in the 1920's, the name escapes me right now. The short of it was that knowing the hatches and studying them was not near as important as the presentation of the fly and basically using stealth. In short (my opinion) don't get too caught up in trying to match the hatch, the food sources are very limited in the park and the fish will eat just about anything within reason. But the ability to blend in with your surroundings and give a natural drag free drift will have you catching fish in the park.
 
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