North Carolina trout stream
Photo from Dads on the Fly

Podcast Ep. 105 – Blue Lining Western North Carolina with Caleb and Joshua Simmons

In this episode we Wadeoutthere with Caleb and Joshua Simmons from Canton North Carolina.

Podcast episode appears at the end of this short article.

These brothers moved to the mountains, started fly fishing, and began exploring their home waters, together.  When their fly fishing journey started becoming more than a hobby, they teamed up again to start Dads on the Fly, a podcast where they explore faith, family, and fly fishing as busy but devoted fathers. 

We discuss:

  • Blue lining the small streams of western North Carolina
  • Fly Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Remaining present as Dads while chasing trout on the fly.


He can’t quite wade. He’s a tiny little fella. He’s ten, but he’s tiny. So one little rapid would knock him over. I have to kind of be with him, and just slow down. That’s been huge.

Joshua Simmons

Fly fishing with children.  What a tremendous opportunity to slow down our pace on the river.  

We can think more clearly if we slow down.  We make better decisions and become more deliberate problem solvers.  Time spent with our casts and mends create better presentations than those rushed.  Even tying knots becomes more efficient as we take our time.

We also enjoy ourselves more.  We notice the sun forming paintings on the cliffs or brilliant colors of stones smoothed by centuries of water flowing down from ancient mountains.  The trees, the smells, the sounds of the river moving over granite.  Everything becomes more real when we slow down.  The experience stays with us.  And if we take our children, it stays with them.

There is so much to learn and teach if we take the time.  We show them seams where trout feed or carry them across swift currents.  Flip rocks and match bugs from a fly box.  Wet their hands before holding the trout you let them reel in.  Laugh as they splash and swing the net, chasing a big brown darting on your line in the current.

Our children seem to easily see the things we are forced to slow down to appreciate.  It’s ironic that as we slow down for our kids it becomes easier to appreciate the joys that makes fly fishing special.

Talking with Caleb and Joshua was a reminder of things that matter in fly fishing – and fatherhood.  Patience.  Persistence.  Confidence.  Hard work.  Humility.  And yes, slowing down.  

Do the things that make good fathers also make for good anglers?  I don’t know.

What I do know is that fly fishing is an activity that allows me to be present with my children.  It may be one of many, but it’s a good one.  Maybe my favorite. 

Key Takeaways

  • The green inch worm works good in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Yellow or orange stimulator are good dry flies for a dry dropper in small western NC streams
  • Brook trout coloration in October is beautiful
  • 8 or 7 foot 2 weight, with slow action and weight forward line is a good rig for fishing small streams
  • The 2 weight can make fighting small fish more fun
  • Dry Dropper set up is a great indicator for fishing nymphs
  • Typically a 2-3 foot dropper works well in the small streams of NC
  • Other good flies: gray or tan elk hair caddis, neversink caddis, pheasant tail, hares ear, Walt’s worm
  • Fish are extremely spooky in the small streams of western NC
  • Small stream fish may not see a lot of flies so fly selection can be less particular

Learn More

Listen to the Dads on the Fly Podcast or find out more about Dads on the Fly   at

or follow Caleb and Joshua on their adventures as fly fishing dads on Instagram at @dadsonthefly
If you want more information on some of the topics we discussed try reading these blog posts from Wadeoutthere:

Lessons From a Five Year Old in Fly Fishing
Why We Take Our Children Fly Fishing
Let Them Rest
How to Teach a Four Year Old to Tie Flies

If you enjoy the Wadeoutthere Fly Fishing Podcast, and want to help it grow, please leave a rating and review.

I hope you enjoy this episode as much as I enjoyed talking with Caleb and Joshua. Wadeoutthere friends.


Jason Shemchuk

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