One of my most productive patterns for smaller streams out west such as high elevation cutthroat streams is a variation on the Copper John. I call it the Mustard John. The fly is also extremely successful on rivers like the Gunnison during Yellow Sally times. I'll always fondly remember fishing the Gunnison River immediately below the NP visitor center for 2-3 hours and catching trout after trout. Most of them were browns in the 14-18" range with one or two pushing 19" and a beautiful rainbow trout thrown in for good measure. All fish came on the Mustard John.
I'm currently preparing for a Smokies adventure this next weekend and was tying a few flies last night. It occurred to me that some of you may enjoy using this fly so without further discourse, I give you.........the Mustard John!!!
Hook: TMC 5262 #14
Bead: Brass 7/64
Thread: 8/0 Yellow and Black
Tail: Brown Biots
Body: Medium Ginger Ultra Wire
Thorax: Peacock Herl
Wingcase: Mottled Bustard Thinskin + Pearl Flashabou + epoxy
Legs: Mallard dyed wood duck
Tie it the same as you would a regular Copper John, just using the different colors mentioned above. For a good tutorial on tying the Copper John, refer to this page on Charlie's Fly Box. If you don't already tie and fish Copper Johns, I highly recommend that you add them to your arsenal immediately. Don't hesitate to experiment with colors. Other proven colors to try are red and green but don't let yourself be limited.
UPDATE: 1/31/2016 Smokies Fly Fishing Report -- Warm temperatures the past few days have warmed the streams some although snowmelt from the last big snowstorm has kept a lid on water temperatures. Fishing was slow yesterday but improved quite a lot today. There were even some nice browns caught today! Most of the time nymphs will get the job done although there were reports of some trout rising to BWOs and midges the past few days so keep an eye out for noses. The next two days will feature good fishing until the next big front ushers in colder temperatures and brings the potential for heavy rain. In the extended forecast, it looks like winter will return in force so don't expect early spring hatches during the next couple of weeks.
Caney Fork Fly Fishing Report: Flows are still high and heavy rain is forecast on Tuesday so don't expect wadeable flows anytime soon. The streamer fishing should keep things interesting though. The cold months are streamer season for this river so contact me about a float trip if you want to enjoy this fishing at TroutZoneAnglers@gmail.com or call/text (931) 261-1884.
Cumberland Plateau Fishing Report: The musky streams warmed nicely over the last couple of days and flows are dropping into the sweet spot...just in time for another round of heavy rain on Tuesday. If you can get out on tomorrow you might turn some nice fish, otherwise I would wait another week or two depending on how much rain we get on Tuesday into Tuesday night.
Help support the Trout Zone and purchase your Tennessee fishing license using this link!