Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1. Blue-winged Olives (Baetis) - sparse hatches
2. Blue Quills - hatching
3. Quill Gordons - hatching
4. Hendricksons - could start any day now
5. Little Black Caddis - hatching
6. Little Brown Stoneflies - hatching
7. Midges - hatching in isolated locations
8. Streamers - matching sculpin, baitfish and small crawfish

More On Fly Rods

For any given size of fly rod, meaning the line weight it is designed to cast, there
are only a few options. One of the most obvious is the length of the fly rod. The
number of sections the rod has is yet another one option. The most important
option is the action or flex of the fly rod.

For purposes of this article, I am confining the fly rod weights to those commonly
used for trout in the Smokies. I am not getting into saltwater fishing rods or other
species of freshwater fish such as salmon, bass, etc. The weights that could be
used range from a one weight up to about a seven weight. i can't imagine anyone
wanting to use an eight weight fly rod in the Smokies. Out of all of those weights,
the four weight is probably the most practical. The most common is probably the
five weight simply because it is the most common fly rod size in the United States.
One, two and even three weight rods are rather uncommon in the Smokies
although there are some that use them, especially the three weight. The six weight
rods are not uncommon in the Smokies because some anglers use them for
streamers and nymphing. The seven weight rod could be used for heavy streamers
but there would be few of those in use. In other words, fly rods in the four, five and
six weight sizes are the most common and most used weights in the Smokies.

The lengths of these rods could vary from as short as seven feet to as long as nine
foot-six inches. Most of them would be either eight, eight and a half or nine foot in
length. The length gets down to a matter of person preference. I can't even agree
with my wife on this subject. She likes to use the short rods in the small brook trout
streams and I don't. I rather have a nine foot rod to where I can maneuver the line
around using the length to my advantage and she had rather make normal cast
using a short rod. She is a lot shorter than I. This probably makes a difference.
There is not much difference in her using a 7 foot long fly rod and me a 9 foot long
fly rod if you stop and think about it. She can get closer to the trout without
spooking them than I can in terms of their window of vision - height relationship. My
guess, and it is really just a guess, is that the average fly rod length used in the
Smokies is eight and one-half foot long. A four weight, 8.5 foot rod would be a good
choice for dries and a five weight, 9 foot rod for dries, nymphs and small streamers.
The six weights would be used mostly for nymphs and streamers. The bottom line ot
all of this length stuff is that length isn't a critical thing and is mostly a matter of
personal choice.

If the manufacturers are telling the truth, their ferrules don;t interfere in any way
with the action of the fly rod. They claim they just become an integral part of the
action. I think the ones that go to extra effort to see that they are an integral part of
the rod are close to being right for all practical purposes. Ferrules on the better
rods seem to have little effect on the action of the rod. The number of sections gets
down to a practical matter in that the more sections, the shorter the rod becomes
when stored. Some like two piece rods and keep their line strung up through the
guides all the time, ready to use. Others like four piece rods because they are short
and easy to carry and store. Again, this gets down to a matter of personal choice.

Action (Flex):
The action or flex of the fly rod is important in that it affects the way the rod cast. I
will get into this tomorrow. It too gets down to a matter of personal choice, but it is a
factor that many do not understand.  

Copyright 2009 James Marsh