View Full Version : Need some advice.....

LA MantaRay12
09-18-2010, 09:01 PM
I am looking for advice on choosing a Smoky Mountain Fly Fishing Guide....

My family and I usually spend our Thanksgiving in the Smoky Mountains. This year we are going to escape to the Smokies the week before and the week of Thanksgiving. My son and I typically make several hiking/fly fishing excursions while in the mountains but until this year had never really taken time to truly learn to fly fish and understand where in the Smokies we need to fish.

This year things are different. I have really gotten into fly fishing over the past year and my son too has become more proficient. I have done HOURS of research in forums, read books and collected maps to identify where we might have the best opportunity to catch fish.

To take it one step further i would like to book a 1 day or 1/2 day fly fishing guide trip for my son and I. Looking to wade fish, public waters, preferably in the GSMNP. This way we can utilize what we learn to fish other streams/rivers in the GSMNP.

Any suggestions????

09-18-2010, 09:15 PM
Tim Doyle and Ian Rutter are very experienced and capable guides in the Smokies. Just google Ian Rutter and you should find his web site.


09-18-2010, 10:02 PM
I second Ian Rutter; but, I would request his wife to guide for the first trip. Two completely different people and definitely two different styles if there is a chance to define them...

09-19-2010, 02:42 AM
I've never met Ian, but from what I know from his guide book info, and from what I've read from other anglers, etc. I would like to "third" him or Charity for your trip. I don't think you could go wrong getting either of them as a guide anywhere in the Smokies.


LA MantaRay12
09-19-2010, 11:24 AM

thank you for the input. I plan to make my reservation this week for Novermber, hopefully I'm not too late. The Rutter's website says its is their busiest season.

Do any of you have an opinion of Hugh Hartsell? I have posted the same request for info on the Blue Ridge Fly Fishing forum and Hugh Hartsell seems to be their recommendation.


09-19-2010, 12:44 PM
Hugh is a very good guide. He is also a walking history book on fishing the park. I think he's probably fished the park for 50+ years. Great fly tier and gentleman as well.:smile:

09-19-2010, 01:02 PM
Hugh is a very good guide. He is also a walking history book on fishing the park. I think he's probably fished the park for 50+ years. Great fly tier and gentleman as well.:smile:

flyman's recommendation of Hugh Hartsell is well deserved. I personally know Hugh, and his wife Carolyn, and I can say that I recommend both of them. He has guided my wife & I a number of times in the Park, and on the Soho. Hugh is also a great fly tier, and regularly does a tying demonstration at LRO.

Hugh's website is "smokymountainflyguide.com".


Jim Casada
09-19-2010, 06:41 PM
LA Manta Ray--I don't know Hugh Hartsell real well, but what I can tell you, after talking with him at some length at the year's Troutfest, is that he knows the Tennessee side of the Park like the back of his hand. He also has extensive knowledge of mountain ways, history (not just fishing but other history), and will be perfect for anyone who realizes (as we all should) that the fishing's only part of it.
I also have every confidence that Hugh has all the attributes and tricks of the trade you can expect from someone who has spent more than a half century fishing mountain waters.
In fact, even though I feel perfectly confident in my own abilities and experiences, having walked much the same lifetime angling path as Hugh, I would personally consider a day spent astream with him a privilege. There aren't a lot of folks I would say that about, because for the most part I consider fly fishing a one-man game.
Jim Casada

09-19-2010, 09:08 PM
Hugh Hartsell would be another excellent choice...I cannot believe I forgot to mention him.

09-19-2010, 09:57 PM
I wholeheartedly endorse Mr. Hartsell as well. I had the priviledge to spend a day going through his "Advanced Nymphing" program and found it very helpful. His demeanor was that of a Southern gentleman, and I, like Mr. Casada, found our running conversation for the day very informative on numerous topics.

LA MantaRay12
09-19-2010, 10:38 PM
You know....when I signed up on this forum I had monitored for some time to get a feel for the willingness of the members to provide guidance to others and the level of interaction members had with newbies. I was very impressed with everything i read and the intense passion members had when providing advice. This thread has been a continuation of that forum characteristic.

thank you all for the advice. It is really a great feeling to know I can call on the members of this forum and get great quality feedback.

Hope i get to meet some you on my trip to GSMNP. thank again for the advice.


Jim Casada
09-20-2010, 07:11 AM
LA Manta Ray--I should have noted one other thing in an earlier post. One of the appendices to my book lists a bunch of guides and outfitters on both sides of the Park. The nature of the guiding business is that they come and go, but most of those listed have been in business a long time and are folks I know personally. Jim Casada

09-20-2010, 09:57 PM
HUGH been wading them creeks before waders,recovered from the big C and keeps on tickin ,tougher than dirt.

09-22-2010, 01:26 PM
I have used both, Hugh is old, Ian young. I am old and can't climb around as I once could. My style is better suited for Hugh. Both will put you on the fish in no time. Both are excellent

09-23-2010, 03:56 PM
Hey guys -

Speaking of Tim Doyle, I was told at a fly fishing event down here that he has contracted some form of a lung disease from working in the rhododendrons. Is this in any way true? If so I certainly wish him and his family the best.


LA MantaRay12
09-24-2010, 03:01 PM
Thank you one and all for the recommendations.

I am sold and will be using Mr. Hartsell if he is available. My son is a History major at college and i think the fly fishing experience coupled with the potential history lesson Mr. Hartsell can provide will be most enjoyable.

thanks again.


09-24-2010, 06:24 PM
All mentioned above are excellent guides. Sean McKay (http://http://smokymountaintroutfitters.com/) and Clay Aalders (http://http://smokymountaingillies.com/index.html) are two other fantastic guides. I know them both and can say they are top notch.