Trout Zone Anglers, LLC

What To Bring

An angler fishes a plunge pool on the Middle Prong of the Little Pigeon River

Special COVID info: Throughout COVID, we have asked people to bring their own lunches and also to follow us in their own vehicles. We have begun to at least offer the choice of a lunch on full day trips, but are still asking people to follow us in their own vehicles. Thank you for understanding!

For All Trips

All guided fly fishing trips in the Smokies include flies and drinks. Full day trips include flies, lunch, and drinks. If you don’t have your own equipment, I will also provide a rod and reel at no extra cost for your use during the trip. I also have a limited selection of wading gear that is available for your use if necessary. When bringing your own wading gear, please note NO studs in boots for all float trips. If you hope to use my wading gear, let me know your sizing information at the time of booking to make sure I have something that will fit. This includes approximate height/weight and shoe size. Trip prices do not include fishing licenses or gratuities for the guides.

You should bring any gear of your own that you prefer to fish with, a camera, hat, good polarized sunglasses, and rain gear. This last piece is particularly important. If you can handle fishing in inclement weather, the fishing usually improves with rainy or snowy conditions. We will always put safety first so don’t plan on fishing through any lightning storms. In general, trips will NOT be cancelled just because it is raining unless it has affected streams to the point of being unfishable.

If you have any special dietary restrictions or if you plan on using wading gear from me, please let me know at the time of booking. 

Smokies Specific Info

For trips in the Smokies, the recommended gear depends at least some on the streams we are fishing and the techniques that we are using. Three and four weight rods in the 8-9 foot range are ideal for dry fly and dry/dropper applications on the smaller streams while four and five weight rods in the 9-10 foot range are ideal for larger streams and can handle the nymph fishing we often find ourselves doing on those streams. The best all around rod is a medium to fast action nine foot four weight rod. We are also fans of the newer “nymphing” style rods. We find ourselves reaching more and more for a 10′ 2 or 3 weight rod for fishing most situations in the Smokies. 

For Smokies trips, we highly recommend dressing in earth tones to help you blend in with your surroundings. At minimum, don’t wear bright colors (white, yellow, orange, red, pink, etc). Tans, greens, and browns are best, but really any subdued colors are not bad. Also, please bring polarized sunglasses. Yellow lenses are best, followed by amber. However, any polarized sunglasses are better than none most of the time. 

For wading, we usually choose to wet wade in the warm months (mid to late May through mid October). That means that your feet will get wet! We recommend neoprene guard socks under the wading boots and wool hiking socks under the neoprene socks. If you don’t have wool socks, then any long socks are acceptable. Just remember the socks will get wet. Quick dry nylon pants are ideal, but shorts will work as well for wet wading. In the colder months, we recommend full chest waders. Let us know sizing info (shoe size for just wet wading and approximate height/weight and shoe size for full waders and boots) at the time of booking if you need to use our wading gear. 

Bring a Smokies Parking pass for your vehicle. More info can be found HERE. 

You will need a basic Tennessee or North Caroline fishing license for anyone 16 or older. The cheapest nonresident Tennessee license is the “3 day fishing – no trout.” While confusing, this is the correct license as the trout stamp is not required inside the National Park due to the fish being wild or native, not stocked. Fishing licenses can be purchased online ahead of time HERE. Print a copy to carry with you OR take a screenshot on your smartphone if you’ll be bringing that along. You can also buy a fishing license in sporting goods at Walmart. 

For all hike in fishing trips, we recommend a small daypack to carry water and lunch as well as a rain jacket and anything else such as cameras. 

Tailwater Specific Info

For trips on the tailwaters like the Caney Fork River or Clinch River, a 9-10 foot 4-6 weight rod will suffice. I recommend a nine foot five weight medium fast action rod although suit the rod action to your personal preferences and be prepared to fish anything from tiny dry flies to hopper copper dropper rigs. Most commonly, we fish either a dry fly with a dropper or a deep nymph rig with small indicators. If you book a streamer trip, then I recommend six or seven weight fast action rods and reels spooled with fast sinking (type VI recommended) full sink lines. If you prefer a sink tip, then bring the line with the longest sink tip possible (in the 30-40 foot range). It can be helpful to also have a 6 or 7 weight rod rigged with floating line for some different applications. We often probe all levels of the water column to find where fish are feeding, so having options on rod and line combinations will help us get into fish better.

Bring a rain jacket, polarized sunglasses, and a Tennessee all species fishing license or fishing license and trout stamp (for all trout floats). Ask me if you have any questions on the correct fishing license. I also recommend bringing your favorite PFD if you have one that is comfortable that you like. 

Warm Water Trips

For warm water trips, talk to me about specifics. On our smallmouth bass creeks we usually go with light rods and small flies whereas on the smallmouth and musky rivers, you don’t want to fish much under a seven weight rod most of the time and often much heavier. For stripers, we don’t go much lighter than a 7 weight and sometimes go as heavy as a 10 weight. For bass and panfish lakes, we like to fish a 6 or 7 weight most of the time but occasionally heavier or lighter depending on how we are fishing. 

Insurance Forms

Our insurance requires that our clients read and agree to an acknowledgement of risk and liability waiver to go on guided fly fishing trips with us. Please download the forms below, print them off, sign them, and bring them with you on your guided fly fishing trip. We will need these signed documents before we can begin our trip.