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: 4/18/2015 -- With the recent damp weather, stream levels are elevated but fishing can still be good if you pick your stream carefully. This past week we have seen March Browns showing up and of course the Hendricksons are around. During cloudy or rainy days, Blue-winged Olives may also make an appearance. Little Yellow Stoneflies and Little Black Caddis are also around.
Warm water options are heating up and I'm offering 1/2 day trips in the Cookeville/Crossville area for anyone wanting to target bass, bluegill and shellcracker and trout all in one trip. This will only last a short time as the water will soon warm too much for the trout so get on this trip option in the next couple of weeks.