Leader advice for Smokies

shoeless

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First off, I apologize if this has already been covered elsewhere.
I've looked through threads but not come up with the answer I'm after.
I've started with a White River outfit about a year ago. 9' 5wt. It's caught me a few but the wife asked what I wanted for my b-day so.....

Just picked up an Orvis Superfine Carbon 8' 4wt + Battenkill II.
Came with Hydros line.

QUESTION: What would be my best option for leader? I may be overthinking it, but I am dealing with very cautious fish in the Smokies. What length would be best for my setup and not spook these guys once I manage to sneak up on em?

If I had more time, I might be able to find an answer....but Im leaving for a 4 day trip on Friday!
Thanks for any advice.

---------- Post added at 01:24 AM ---------- Previous post was at 12:47 AM ----------

Would Orvis Mirage Fluorocarbon 9' 6x be too long to allow me a productive cast?
 

jayr

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Generally speaking, a 9' leader in the Smokies is a bit long. But, that also depends on the size of the water being fished. It is definitely too long for most of the smaller streams for sure. Right now the streams are low in the Park.

My advice is to not go over 7-7 1/2' for sure. Personally I like a furled leader in the 3-4' range with about 2-2 1/2' of 5x or 6x tippet. But I fish mostly the smaller streams where I do a lot of roll casting due to how tight it is. Using the furled leaders have improved my catch rate and saved me money.

Some advice. With the low waters and higher water temps, stay out of the lower elevation streams. You will have a harder time catching fish and the ones you do will be stressed badly. Fish the mid to high elevation streams.

Wear dark clothing. No bright colors. Browns, greens, camo would be good. Fish in the Park are all wild trout and with low water and the clear water, they are very spooky right now, more than usual.

BTW, the Smokies are where I primarily fish. If you are there and a thunderstorm pops up, be very careful. Water can rise rapidly, even to the point of walls of water coming down. Just because it might not be raining where you are, it could be further upstream.
 
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horsehead

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I was at a presentation earlier his year with an "expert" on the smokey mountains. He said he fishes 40' leaders (no, that's not a typo) and hasn't gotten caught in a tree in 30 years. ::rollseyes::

If it were me, I'd use either a 7.5' leader down to about 4x or a furled leader and about 3-4' of tippet. Don't overthink it. :)
 

jayr

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I was at a presentation earlier his year with an "expert" on the smokey mountains. He said he fishes 40' leaders (no, that's not a typo) and hasn't gotten caught in a tree in 30 years. ::rollseyes::

If it were me, I'd use either a 7.5' leader down to about 4x or a furled leader and about 3-4' of tippet. Don't overthink it. :)

40 *feet* of leader?:icon_roll
 

horsehead

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Seriously... I can't think of many small stream situations where a 40' CAST is required (possible?) let alone a 40' leader... But then again, what do I know...
 

fishmandoug

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What type of fishing are you going to be doing?

My leader setup for dry fly fishing the small brook (or mountain/speckle/whatever locals call them) high elevation streams in the park is vastly different than when I am nymphing in some of the larger rivers in more "pocket water" for browns.
 

jayr

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Seriously... I can't think of many small stream situations where a 40' CAST is required (possible?) let alone a 40' leader... But then again, what do I know...

I'm with you.

40' of leader, how the hell does that even turn over the fly? 40' casts are possible in the Park, but incredibly rare.

This so called expert you heard is ..............:batty:
 

hokiehunter07

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I personally like a 6' 5X leader for tiny blue lines. If you're fishing somewhere like the Luftee, Cherokee trophy waters, Little river, bradley fork, etc I'd probably stick to 7.5' 4-5X For those tiny streams I like a 6' leader and if you have access to one I really prefer a 4' furled leader with 2-3 feet of 5x.

The furled leader is really nice because often you're casting with little to no line out the tip. The furled leader makes this much easier than a nylon leader.

I have a nice formula I'll attach shortly for a 6' nylon leader that has served me well.
 

jayr

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Hokie, you and I use about the same setup. I like the furled leaders too.

The only time I get down to a 6x tippet is later in the summer on small brookie waters. Generally, I stay with 5x flouro.
 

CutThroat Leaders

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So reading through this post, I saw furled leaders came up often. I am biased of course, but for small stream fishing nothing beats furled leader. With very short casting, you can turn the leader and tippet over with almost no line out of the top guide. On longer casting, the leader lands quietly, picks up off the water quietly and offers premium drifts and mending.

I have attached two images. One showing the different ways of attaching a leader to line and tippet to leader. The other pic is of a dry fly indicator leader. Lands gently, does not spook fish and give s the fisher an idea to where his/her small dry fly is floating.

If you have questions, please feel free to email me.
[email protected]

If you decide to pick some leaders up, remember the coupon code at checkout. nafff.



 

horsehead

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Yep. Mike's hi-vis nymph leader is my go to for small stream fishing. Even if I'm just fishing a dry, I feel like the nymph leader just turns over the bushy flies I'm usually using on small mountain streams best.
 

shoeless

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Wow....thanks for all the great advice!
Ive shot Mike an email and will try out a couple of his leaders. The Indicator Ultimate Dry and a Hi-Vis Nymph will hopefully help me out with keeping an eye on those small ones.
Now just hoping I can get them overnighted!

---------- Post added at 08:32 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:28 PM ----------

And as for what Im usually fishing: nothing better than some feisty brookies! So, yes, mostly higher elevations for me. If I do end up trying for some browns down low, Ill have my other rod ready for duty.
 

mike_r

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This may be a little late but my small stream leader formula using Berkley Big Game mono for the butt and mid sections: 8' 4X leader

24" of 30#
18" of 20#
18" of 12#
36" of your favorite 4X tippet material

again, the 30,20 and 12# sections are Berkley Big Game that can be found at any Walmart or tackle dealer. Just drop some 5 or 6X flouro tippet off the bend of your favorite hi-floating dry fly hook to do some nymphing. If you prefer to tightline nymph, try using fluorescent green version of the same mono above in the butt section of the leader for a sighter, and adjust your terminal tippet for depth. The more flyline you can keep off the water in the higher streams the better! For small dries I like a 11-13' leader, even in the small streams for sz12 and under. Best of luck to ya!
 

2rjs

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Wow....thanks for all the great advice!
Ive shot Mike an email and will try out a couple of his leaders. The Indicator Ultimate Dry and a Hi-Vis Nymph will hopefully help me out with keeping an eye on those small ones.
Now just hoping I can get them overnighted!

---------- Post added at 08:32 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:28 PM ----------

And as for what Im usually fishing: nothing better than some feisty brookies! So, yes, mostly higher elevations for me. If I do end up trying for some browns down low, Ill have my other rod ready for duty.
Sounds like you got some great advice! I usually use 7' to 10' hand tied in the Smokeys and for the streams I fish which are not far from the Smokeys. This thread has peaked my curiosity regarding the furled leaders. Let us know how you like them?
 

hokiehunter07

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Sounds like you got some great advice! I usually use 7' to 10' hand tied in the Smokeys and for the streams I fish which are not far from the Smokeys. This thread has peaked my curiosity regarding the furled leaders. Let us know how you like them?
How in the world do you guys fish long leaders on small streams. Many of my casts have less than 3' of line out. I fish with a 7'9" rod. As I'm walking I run my leader under my reel seat and hook the fly on the rod at the stripping guide. Usually when I stop to fish all I do is unhook the fly and roll cast.
 

2rjs

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Many of the streams in the Smokys are large like the Luftee, Little R, Raven etc. These are similar a lot of larger streams in my area (Whitetop, Bdam, South Fork) and for me require a longer leader. In the smallest Brookie streams i go down to about 7' but seldom shorter. Often I'm crouched down behind a boulder or log and only casting the leader.

I know some guys that fish shorter and I also know some that fish a lot longer. I guess you just have find what works for you.
 

hokiehunter07

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Many of the streams in the Smokys are large like the Luftee, Little R, Raven etc. These are similar a lot of larger streams in my area (Whitetop, Bdam, South Fork) and for me require a longer leader. In the smallest Brookie streams i go down to about 7' but seldom shorter. Often I'm crouched down behind a boulder or log and only casting the leader.

I know some guys that fish shorter and I also know some that fish a lot longer. I guess you just have find what works for you.
MY in-laws spend about 3 weeks a year in Mountain City, TN working with churches in the area. I've been meaning to make the trip and fish Whitetop. I agree on the listed streams you could get away with a longer leader but as a rule I rarely make my leader longer than my fly rod. To each his own I suppose, but do give the furled leaders a try.
 

stimulator2

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Luck me I grew up fishing the Smokies, live 10 mins from park. I have fished most of the streams both sides of the park.I have used a 9' leader, I have used a 6' leader ,a 7.5' but most of the time I use an 8' leader 5x tippet. If I 'm fishin my 6' 2wt rod I use a 6' 5x leader .Just try and see what works best for you but my 35yrs fishing the park I like the 8', and never even imagine anybody could use a 40'.:yikes:i think someone was a little windy in that info.
 

Rabid Rider

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I was at a presentation earlier his year with an "expert" on the smokey mountains. He said he fishes 40' leaders (no, that's not a typo) and hasn't gotten caught in a tree in 30 years. ::rollseyes::

If it were me, I'd use either a 7.5' leader down to about 4x or a furled leader and about 3-4' of tippet. Don't overthink it. :)
[/QUOTE
like a 4x leader and 7x tippet?
 
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