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.
FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 3/23/2017
The fishing has been great lately! This spring has been phenomenal in the Smokies. Long hatches have produced dry fly fishing lasting for hours every day. The Caney Fork has been producing some great fish on high water.
In the Great Smoky Mountains, the spring fishing has started early this year. Quill Gordon (#12-#14) and Blue Quill (#16-#18) mayflies are starting to transition into Hendricksons (#12-#14). On foul weather days, the Blue-winged Olives (#18-#22) have literally poured off of the river. The recent cooler weather actually enhanced the dry fly fishing. The bugs have been having a harder time getting off of the water, so despite the cool water temperature, fish have been rising lazily through an extended afternoon hatch. Little Black Caddis (#18-#20) have been hatching well along with some Early Brown Stoneflies (#12).
On the tailwaters, the fishing has been decent to good. The Clinch is fishing well along with the Holston. The Caney Fork continues to be my river of choice, however. Streamer trips continue to produce and we are doing some high water nymphing as well. This is as good a time as any to have a shot at large rainbow and brown trout on this tailwater!
I still have some open dates for guided trips in April and May, but the calendar is filling fast. I've been turning away trips because people wait too long to book. Don't make that mistake!