icSpecs--Welcome, and congratulations on your first mountain trout (which is what almost all old timers called specks). Just some thoughts/emendations/corrections/additions, in no particular order. While the individual with whom you talked is right about where the focal point of feeding for trout is, why not enjoy the best of both worlds? Use a dry fly and a dropper (most times of the year,you'll catch more on the dropper, and you can always cut it off if the majority of action is on the dry fly.
I've found, after having fished for trout over much of the world, that anyone who can catch fish with consistency in the Smokies (and I'm talking about 20-50 fish per day) won't have much trouble other places. I know of nowhere, at least on freestone streams, which is more demanding. Finally, don't be too sure of the geographical origin of the Tellico nymph. There's a Tellico Creek in Macon County, N. C. which is full of trout and could also be a candidate for the name of that pattern.