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Thread: Fly fishing guides

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2014

    Default Fly fishing guides

    I'll be visiting SMNP in late September and I'm wondering if I should hire a guide or spend money on equipment. (beginner here) I'm not even sure what guides do exactly. Do they just take you to the best spots, or is there an instruction element involved?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Knoxville, TN (Karns)


    There is a bit of both instruction and getting on the right location. As a relative newbie myself I would say hire a guide the first day of the trip and then try it on your own after that day.

    Best of luck to you and welcome to the board!
    "The finest gift you can give to any fisherman is to put a good fish back, and who knows if the fish that you caught isn't someone else's gift to you?" Lee Wulff

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008


    Definitely hire a guide...I struggled for 2 years because of refusing to hire one. They can get you to catching fish right away and take you to the best spots. I recommend David Knapp or Ian Rutter. They both know a lot and are very good at what they do.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011


    I've used Ian Rutter twice . He knows the park and he is very patient. One of the times I used him was to work primarily with my adult son who was a beginner.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Norris, TN


    I concur with BlueRaiderFan in recommending David Knapp or Ian Rutter.

    I am
    more partial to supporting David in that he is a loyal member of this forum. Also; he tries to help others and promote stewardship on the river!

    Also; stop by LRO and speak with Daniel about tips and flies to use....
    “Every human has four endowments- self awareness, conscience, independent will, & creative imagination.
    These give us the ultimate human freedom... The
    to choose, to respond, to change.”

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007


    Quote Originally Posted by LoneWolfe View Post
    I'll be visiting SMNP in late September and I'm wondering if I should hire a guide or spend money on equipment. (beginner here) I'm not even sure what guides do exactly. Do they just take you to the best spots, or is there an instruction element involved?
    Hiring a guide shortens your learning curve considerably. Since you are new, he is going to shorten the learning curve from an instructional stand point. From there, you will be able to learn how to read water, and have a better idea of places to fish, and sections to skip over. A good guide will put you on fish. The catching fish part is up to you, and how you use the skills taught to you.

    I have never hired a guide in the Smokies, but I am seriously considering doing so. Most of my experience is out west. Just by reading these reports in this forum, I feel I should do better than I do the rare times I get to fish in the Smokies.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2006

    Default Hire a guide

    If you had a couple years worth of time to blow, I would recommend going at it alone. There's nothing like the satisfaction of doing it yourself.

    But, it sounds like you may have just a day or two. I would hire a guide. I can't recommend anyone from a previous client point of view, but I have fished with David Knapp before. I learned a lot from him just shooting the breeze streamside and watching him fish. Of course, he outfished me and did so with style (large brown) but he's a good guy to just be around.
    My posts are worthless without pictures

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2012


    David Knapp all the way.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Townsend, Tennessee


    I would spend my money on a guide. Tackle does not make the fisherman. It's the archer, not the arrow. It took me forever to figure this place out 30 years ago. There was nobody back then to help. A day with a guide in the Smokies will cut the learning curve quickly. A guide will show you all the tricks that you would never have thought of on your own. I learned the hard way and wish I had someone to show me those tricks back then. You will not believe how different it is fishing here than what you expect.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Hillbilly Hollow, NC


    I agree with what everyone else is saying. Spend the money on a guide if you can afford it. A guide's job is always made a little easier if the client is honest with them about their fishing experience and skill level. A good guide is always happy to discuss with you what you want from the trip. It actually makes their job a little easier, and they don't have to guess. In the beginning stage you may be happy with just catching a few fish with what ever method the guide prefers-but on the other hand if you want to become a better nymph fisherman, or a better caster then just say so. I have taken more than a few guided trips where the trip was as much about tactics and gathering local knowledge as actually catching fish.
    "Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it."
    Salvador Dali

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