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View Full Version : How many (kinds of) flies do you need for the GSMNP?


Slider
11-16-2013, 12:59 AM
I have really worked to simplify my flies I fish with. Although I still tie 5 times as many kinds as I actually fish, I think I can get by with 2 (kinds for the day) and usually keep one on all day. In reality I probably only fish with 4 or so patterns all year.

1.) first choice - some type of topwater such as a Neversink/EHC or foam hopper. I pick one of these for the day and put 6-8 in an easily accessible box (clipped to outside of pack). May take the other kind but bury them down in another box down in the pack.

2.) then a nymph/streamer such as a WB or WW (sometimes a killer bug but using less and less).

Both in size 12 for trout, both in size 4 for warm water. I will change it up if fish are coming up to fly but not trying to take it, but I have got pretty confident in covering more water (not making 10 casts to every hole) as a better solution than changing flies as often.

HomeB4Dark
11-16-2013, 09:00 AM
Slider, you can't have too many flies can you? If you can, don't tell my wife!

As far as Smoky patterns, on the LRO website they try to help answer that by breaking flies down into Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall patterns as follows:

Smoky Mountain Winter Flies
20 Products
Smoky Mountain Spring Flies
44 Products
Smoky Mountain Summer Flies
39 Products
Smoky Mountain Fall Flies
22 Products

All that said, it will be a matter of personal preference on your fly choices. I listen real closely to the veterans of Smoky fly fishing and there is a reason the same type patterns keep being discussed. I think it's because they are proven to work. Just my opinion.

narcodog
11-16-2013, 11:04 AM
It has to do with the stream your fishing and the bugs in or on the water. So yes you could cut down on the flies you fish with on a particular day. That would be a learning experience and research on your part. Hatch charts, interaction with others and what you notice on the water yourself. I will say this from April onto Oct if it is yellow you have a good chance of catching fish...;)

Slider
11-16-2013, 12:48 PM
My wife already thinks I'm crazy for tying more flies and more days than I can fish - wait, that is not quite right....

Agree on the yellow, same thing around here for smallies.

I was just wondering how many fish the park regularly by not necessarily "matching the hatch" but using a small handful of representative flies that do match the size and color of the hatch but not particular insects. Seems like some certainly do and do well with it. Reading on here, sounds like yellow or orange Neversink would work 80% of the time.

I would like to work on a small group of flies maybe 4 or so in diff sizes and colors then mix it up a little based on the season. That way not stress myself about "do I have the right fly?" but work on my fish finding and fly presentation skills.

narcodog
11-16-2013, 01:30 PM
For drys
march brown
sulpher
lt cahill
yellow stone

nymphs
prince
grhe
ph
wooly bugger

wet
flymphs
dark hendrickson
stone fly dark and light

flyman
11-16-2013, 02:54 PM
All I need is a Pink San Juan worm and an egg pattern, spaghetti and meat balls:biggrin:

skunked again
11-16-2013, 04:14 PM
All you need is a can of corn

2weightfavorite
11-16-2013, 11:54 PM
I carry tons of patters. Way too many. But it seems as a nymph the ole pheasant tail never fails. For a dry either an elk hair caddis or stimulator in some color or size will work. Through in some parachute Adams in various sizes and you're set for all seasons

dwardmba
11-17-2013, 10:44 AM
Great topic.

I just went through the log of my last 25 trips. The only months not represented were December and February. Total of 14 different streams in the GSMNP and Cherokee NF. I stopped adding up the trout at 150.

I only saw five trips where I did not use a hare's ear; parachute or nymph. I do vary the hook some (1x and 2x length on drys, 2x and 3x on nymphs) and tie the nymphs with and without beads. I will blend in some black and brown. When I did wander, it was to a muddler, elk hair caddis, stimulator, neversink or a parachute Adams. For nymphs I did try an occasional pheasant tail nymph or caddis larva (tan or olive wire), and of course a greenie weenie.

Dave

Slider
11-17-2013, 04:21 PM
Thanks guys, that is what I was hoping to hear: 3-4 dries and a couple nymphs (and a san juan worm however you classify that).

I'll keep checking the board for what seems to be catching fish, but I am going to try and keep it simple and focus on fishing.

tlshealy
11-17-2013, 07:56 PM
I usually carry every fly I own, even if I'm going light, I still carry a small lumbar pack with three fly boxes in it, plus a couple in my vest, plus a small streamer box. I'm deathly afraid of NHTRF. (Not having the right fly) when I'm 3 miles from my car. Sometimes you might run into a spinner fall, or a flying ant attack, or nice fish slurping midges in a big quiet pool. You may catch 3 or 4 fish with generic patterns, but if you have something that matches what's happening on the water you may catch 10 or 12. That being said, 8 times out of 10 I will fish a yellow neversink with a BHPT or a green weenie, so you could carry 1 box with a dozen flies and be fine, but what's the fun in that? I already told my wife that I need to tie at least 50 patterns in 3 different sizes in light, medium, and dark!
Tad

flyman
11-21-2013, 11:20 PM
In most freestone streams you can get by with just a few basic flies.

1. 5 or 6 mayfly imitations=BWO, Quill Gordons, March Browns, Hendricksons, Light Cahills, and Isonychia will about cover the common hatches. Maybe if you get lucky you will see a few Green Drakes.

2. 4 or 5 attractor patterns. Humpies, White and Royal Wulffs, Stimis, parachute Adams, San Juan worms, and a few neversink caddis.

3. A few black and golden stone fly nymph imitations

4. A green and tan caddis pupa, they are one or the other 99% of the time

5. couple of wet fly patterns like a PT, BWO, and some generic light and dark colored patterns.

6. Few general nymph patterns. Pts. Hare's Ear, and Fox Squirrel will go a long way in a couple different sizes. Maybe throw in a Tellico and a copper john or two.

7 Terrestrials, maybe the most important of all and maybe the most productive fish catchers of the bunch. Ants, Beetles. inch worms. grasshoppers, and bees or wasp.

You would do well to read Byron's or Daniel's fishing reports everyday. They give good advice on not only flies to use but some basic tactics you need to be successful. Pay attention to what people are using that are catching fish. Fish with good fishermen, pick their brains when you can, and observe them when you can. It really is true that 10% of the fishermen are catching 90% of the fish.

All these will fit in one large box or a couple small ones. If I can't catch em with that assortment, I'll be back at the truck drinking beer and eating fried chicken.:biggrin:

bmadd
11-22-2013, 01:40 AM
Flyman, the reason you edited your post cracked me up!

flyman
11-22-2013, 01:46 AM
It's true! I could have been an olympic gold medal winner, or a rocket scientist, but no, I got crappy genetics.:biggrin:

buzzmcmanus
11-24-2013, 11:12 AM
A few years ago, I was joking around with my buddy El Presidente' and told him I was going to spend an entire year fishing nothing but a size 14 EHC in sparkle orange and when I felt that I needed to fish a nymph, I would drop a size 16 BHPT from it. That joke ended up turning into reality and I fished that combination through all four seasons; on wild streams, Hiwassee, Caney and the Clinch. I caught the absolute snot out of fish. Never once did I feel I was handicapping myself.

I do tie flies, so I always have a flybox full of various patterns, but those two flies are always my "go to" patterns. In late winter and early spring I will fish a size 12 parachute adams, specifically when I think I can catch a nice brown on top.

I'll also fish a size 16 zebra midge in tailwaters. I'll tie two versions, one with silver wire and bead; and one with black wire and bead. Most people don't fish such a large midge, but I feel that the fewer bites I get is more than made up with more solid hook-ups and fish brought to hand when I do get a strike.

That's it. 99.378% of the time, those are the only flies of mine that touch the water while trout fishing.

yonder
11-24-2013, 04:01 PM
Royal Wulff in the spring...
Yellow bodied wulff in the early summer....
Orange bodied wulff in the late summer into fall....
a pheasant tail or gold ribbed hairs ear nymph in the winter.....if it's snowing and howling wind.......and most importantly, if no one is watching........:biggrin::biggrin:

Stonefly
11-24-2013, 04:19 PM
For a long time I fished very little besides EHC's on 4x in the park, and caught plenty of fish. Then Doc figured out the paraleptophlebia adoptivas, and the madness began.

steve

silvercreek
11-26-2013, 10:44 AM
For a long time I fished very little besides EHC's on 4x in the park, and caught plenty of fish. The Doc figured out the paraleptophlebia adoptivas, and the madness began.

steve
That's what happens when you hang with the wrong crowd.

jeffnles1
11-26-2013, 09:49 PM
I tie a lot of flies more as a hobby than anything and love to fish the flies I tie.

However, I honestly think I could catch just as many fish with a very few flies:

Trout:
Adams - 12, 14, 16, 18
Bead Head Pheasant Tail - same sizes
Bead Head Hares Ear - same sizes

On tail waters add
Griffith Ganat - size 18 and 20


For warm water:
Black wooly bugger - size 8, 10, 12
White wooly bugger - same sizes
foam popper - small, med, large yellow with yellow tail
bead head pheasant tail - size 12 and 14
Marabou Steamer - yellow.


I honestly think with the above flies, one can catch just about any fresh water fish worth catching on a fly rod.


Now, if you look in my fly box, you're oing to find all of these and a whole bunch of other flies too.


Jeff

softhackle
11-29-2013, 09:08 PM
In most freestone streams you can get by with just a few basic flies.

1. 5 or 6 mayfly imitations=BWO, Quill Gordons, March Browns, Hendricksons, Light Cahills, and Isonychia will about cover the common hatches. Maybe if you get lucky you will see a few Green Drakes.

2. 4 or 5 attractor patterns. Humpies, White and Royal Wulffs, Stimis, parachute Adams, San Juan worms, and a few neversink caddis.

3. A few black and golden stone fly nymph imitations

4. A green and tan caddis pupa, they are one or the other 99% of the time

5. couple of wet fly patterns like a PT, BWO, and some generic light and dark colored patterns.

6. Few general nymph patterns. Pts. Hare's Ear, and Fox Squirrel will go a long way in a couple different sizes. Maybe throw in a Tellico and a copper john or two.

7 Terrestrials, maybe the most important of all and maybe the most productive fish catchers of the bunch. Ants, Beetles. inch worms. grasshoppers, and bees or wasp.

You would do well to read Byron's or Daniel's fishing reports everyday. They give good advice on not only flies to use but some basic tactics you need to be successful. Pay attention to what people are using that are catching fish. Fish with good fishermen, pick their brains when you can, and observe them when you can. It really is true that 10% of the fishermen are catching 90% of the fish.

All these will fit in one large box or a couple small ones. If I can't catch em with that assortment, I'll be back at the truck drinking beer and eating fried chicken.:biggrin:

Hard to argue with that advice. I used to bring way too many flies with me and way too many fly boxes. I wanted to be prepared for any situation until I started reading my log entries. I was catching nearly all my fish on about 6 different patterns. I still take too many flies with but, now I take the essentials on the stream with me and leave the rest in the car.
By the way I just started using San Juan worms this year.and was amazed at how well they catch trout here in the upper midwest.

flyman
11-29-2013, 09:42 PM
Some people turn up their noses at the use of San Juan worms, not me:smile: Some people think that they imitate earth worms that have been washed into the stream, that does happen, but for the most part they are imitations of aquatic worms found in the stream bottom. Most are red to an almost pink color and about half the diameter of the average earth worm. Micro or ultra chenille is very close to the average thickness. Fish love them:biggrin:

HomeB4Dark
11-30-2013, 01:06 PM
I fish up at the South Holston behind the dam every chance I get and the guys at the South Holston River Fly Shop told me to add some San Juan worms to my fly box in pink, purple, etc. I had never seen one of these critters in a river so I asked why they were effective and they said these worms get washed into the river after heavy rains. I saw a guy using them on a spinning reel setup and he had caught several rainbows on them. I've yet to catch fish on the San Juan Worm on my fly rod but just passing on what they told me there. And I haven't tried them in the Smokies but intend to do that this spring. The guys at the SOHO fly shop said they had found it helpful when tying them to burn the ends of the chenille to make it more blunt looking. Harry

flyman
11-30-2013, 02:42 PM
I never realized they were in the river either until I helped one summer with a TU with stream sampling of a local river. We used a seine and kicked up the bottom at the tail out of a large deep pool. The sample never failed to turn up numerous aquatic worms, not just one or two either. There would often be 10-20 worms in a sample. They looked like these :smile:

http://www.fcps.edu/islandcreekes/ecology/aquatic_worm.htm

Rob Johnson
12-03-2013, 01:35 AM
Size 12 or 14 parachute Adams. Size 14 or 16 parachute sulpher. EHC with orange, black, tan, olive, or peacock body. I carry a lot of fly boxes with a lot of flies, streamers, worms, nymphs, etc. I never know what I will never use but I know I have it.:smile:

chechem
12-03-2013, 07:57 AM
I never realized they were in the river either until I helped one summer with a TU with stream sampling of a local river. We used a seine and kicked up the bottom at the tail out of a large deep pool. The sample never failed to turn up numerous aquatic worms, not just one or two either. There would often be 10-20 worms in a sample. They looked like these :smile:

http://www.fcps.edu/islandcreekes/ecology/aquatic_worm.htm

Just to clarify, these are indeed aquatic worms (not 'washed in' from terrestrial soil). They are oligochaetes (same group as earthworms). They live in the sediments, occupy freshwater and marine habitats all over the world, and can be abundant in well-oxygenated streams (hundreds per square meter). Yes, great fish food.

HomeB4Dark
12-03-2013, 08:26 AM
Live and learn, thanks Flyman. I bought micro-chenille in a few of these colors and will tie up a few to see how they work in the park this coming year. Harry Crabtree

HomeB4Dark
12-03-2013, 08:31 AM
Thanks for the info Chechem. I guess I've been overlooking these flies but will get that corrected. And it gives me an excuse to tie up something different too! Harry Crabtree

Slider
12-19-2013, 10:12 PM
Still not sure but almost thinking about just trying this for top:

http://i885.photobucket.com/albums/ac51/skjld/FishingStuff/image_zps7fb06fca.jpg

And something like this for subsurface:

http://i885.photobucket.com/albums/ac51/skjld/FishingStuff/image_zpsd8bada23.jpg