View Full Version : Getting Reaquainted
01-03-2010, 02:05 AM
Hello all, it has been almost 4 years since I last logged into the forums here at Little River Outfitters. Haven't done much fishing in that time either. I'm hoping to change that come this spring. I got interested in fly fishing shortly after moving here to Maryville in 2005. Took the fly fishing school at the shop, taught by Paula and Walter, and got outfitted there. Tried my hand at the smokies a few times and let the experience frustrate me to the point that I lost interest. I'm hoping to change that out look this time around. Have started doing research in stream tactics and fishing tactics in general as well as brushing up on my fly tying skills. I noticed when I started browsing the website though, that guided trips are no longer offered at the shop? Is Walter Babb or any of the other guys that were guiding in 05'-06' still guiding? Would it be possible to arrange something if an inquiry were made for their services at the shop?
01-03-2010, 10:13 AM
Caddis Fly--While LRO doesn't offer guided trips, they will put you in touch with guides (Hugh Hartsell is one solid recommendation). Starting the sport in the Smokies can be frustrating. You are dealing with wild trout in the Park along with some pretty demanding conditions in terms of wading, casting room the nature of the water, etc. Take comfort in the fact that once you reach a reasonable level of proficiency in the Smokies you have the skills to catch trout most anywhere.
Using a guide is an excellent idea, and don't hesitate to ask questions and pick his brain every time a question comes to mind. There's probably no faster way to learn than through paying careful attention to someone who really knows what they are doing. Beyond that, this forum is filled with useful information, and I'll even be so bold as to suggest that you mind find some helpful information in my recently published book,"Fly Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park: An Insider's Guide to a Pursuit of Passion." It's available through LRO or my web site, www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com).
01-03-2010, 08:46 PM
From what I've heard and read, Hugh Hartsell is one of the best on-stream teachers around. He's turned quite a few folks from casters into catchers in the Smokies. It would be a great investment if you're willing to go the guide route.
Glad to have you back in the game, from a fellow Murvillian.
01-04-2010, 10:10 PM
First welcome back.
A guide is a good idea. The first time I went to the Smokies I hired a guide and it was a good experience. One thing about me is I learn a lot by watching. I asked the guide to fish a couple runs so I could see what he was doing. I reassured him that it was OK. I had heard that the 'etiquit' with guides is the client does not pay to watch them fish. But for me, yes, I did because he could instruct me and tell me a dozen times but if he showed me once, I had it. He was gracious, fished a couple runs, caught some fish and after he did, we sat on a rock (the guide, my son and me) and discussed what I thought I saw him doing and talking about how he was reading the stream, the bubble line, the ribbons of current, what fly he was choosing and why. I probably asked a couple dozen questions and he answered every one.
I have fished solo in the park ever since and have only been skunked one time and that was last Feb and there was ice on many of the streams. I wasn't really thinking I'd catch anything.
I did the same thing the first time I went fishing at Yellowstone.
As Jim and Charlie have said, fishing in the park can be tough but once you get the hang of it, they are just fish.
I've read others here say this and I believe it to be true, presentation is far more important than matching the hatch. The main thing is a drag free drift and not having too much fly line out. Many times, I only have a foot or two of fly line past the rod tip and hold as much of the leader out of the water as possible. Most of the streams in the mountains have multiple ribbons of current and if your line is laying across more than one, your fly is going to drag and they won't give it a second look.
Can't wait to see you starting to post pictures of the fish you catch.
01-05-2010, 11:03 AM
Thank you for all the well wishes and advice guys. I really appreciate it. I've pretty much decided to hire a guide the first few times that I return to the park and pick thier brain for as much info as I can. I love fishing and have always wanted to be proficient at fly fishing. I've been rereading my Orvis Guide to FlyFishing and reading several online resources about fishing in the park. I think I may pick up a copy of Jim's book also. On a positive note, after not tying for three years I've attempted tying three patterns over the weekend. The irony is that my Gold ribbed hares ear nymphs and wolly buggers look better (more like the pictures with better proportions) than when I was "actively" tying. Go figure ... I think its due to Walter not standing over my shoulder!
01-07-2010, 04:37 PM
Another source that can be useful is to hook up with some of the members who are locals...I live in Tallahassee, Fl. but fished the Park waters in the summer with my grandfather...several years ago I hooked up with a member that seemed to fish some of my favorite areas of the Park....I actually managed to fish with him on one occasion and we shared advice and experiences. If you are heading into the Park to fish sometime don't hesitate to ask if anyone would like to join you....and always watch what others do...never got much verbal instruction from my grandfather but what I absorbed while following him up those "cricks" was invaluable....good luck and let us know how you do.
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