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:9/1/2015 -- The Smokies continue to fish well. The fish are obviously eating well but still seem to always be hungry. Now is the time to fish the higher elevation waters and enjoy rainbow and brook trout. The water is getting low so steeper drainages with pocket water should fish best. If you must fish the larger streams, do so early and late.
The Caney Fork is fishing well this year. The streamer bite has been good on some high water days but on other days the fish seem to be stuffed full already despite plenty of forage around. This past Sunday featured great fishing on low water. I had to change flies to get the colors and sizes right on the midges, but once I did, it was game ON with lots of fish to hand. Contact me about a float trip if you want to get in on this great fishing at TroutZoneAnglers@gmail.com or call/text (931) 261-1884.
Cumberland Plateau smallmouth fishing is good when the water levels cooperate. The terrestrial fishing continues to be excellent. There is very little reason to throw anything other than topwater right now. Ever caught a Coosa bass? That is a possibility right now as well!
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