I tried multiple patterns as I moved upstream and moved a few fish, but landed none. When I finally arrived at a set of cascades I would choose not to attempt (solo), I stopped for lunch.
Now I knew what they wanted and where they were holding...game on!
Eventually the BWO pattern slowed, so I switched to a black EHC - I saw a few little black stones flying around too. The little black stones typically don't produce good dry fly fishing, so it may have been the caddis profile.
After a long car ride, a few hours of scrambling, and the sun setting out of the deep canyon I decided to call it a day. After all I still had to find a hotel room, not that difficult in the off-season of Gatlinburg. I found a room with cable TV and wi-fi for $28 (including tax) - we paid that for a tent site earlier in the year.
I eventually made it above Ramsey on MPLP, but those rhododendron thickets were a bear to weave through with a fly rod!
I continued to dredge the bottom with the small, olive woolybugger and it continued to produce.
When they started keying on the dry, I removed the dropper and it was pure dry fly action - in November! Pitching that little black caddis up tight against the rocks produced some very nice fish - both rainbows and brookies.
Also, I found it to be a little over four hours from the Ramsey Cascade trailhead to my "new" home in Florence, Kentucky. I can see more Smoky Mountain searching for native salmonids in the future, and....