Hook: 6/0 jig hook
Body/Tail: Almost any synthetic fiber or bucktail will work for this fly
Main Body: Dubbing brush with Flashabou and white, pink, olive and green fibers
Head: Craft-store foam “marshmallows”, cut into shape with razor blade
Eyes: 3-D eyes glued onto ear-ring stems, then inserted & glued on with CA glue
1) Cut foam cylinder into the shape of the outline of a trumpet on the bottom half, as shown. Cut a slit deep into the foam in the very middle, almost dividing the head into 2 pieces. Use a fresh razor blade for each head.
2) Wrap thread to back of hook and tie in a 2-inch piece of 25- or 30-pound Mason Hard Mono, form loop and tie in tag end to create a Mono Loop that extends past the hook to prevent the fly from fouling while casting.
3) Advance thread to middle of hook shank and tie in medium-sized dubbing brush (Minnow Body Wrap or Pearl chenille in a large size will also work); wrap 3 to 5 wraps, stroking the fibers back with each wrap. Tie off dubbing brush and clip off tag end with wire-cutters. Build a small transition or “step” with a few wraps of thread.
4) Tie in your body fibers (I’m using SF blend in the pics)–white on the bottom, then pink,olive, bronze, and green (rainbow trout colors); create a thread “transition” or “step” with a few wraps of thread. Whip-finish and CA glue thread.
6) Lay out some large 3-D eyes upside-down; apply a large drop of CA glue in the middle,and push stem earring studs onto center of eye, creating an eye with a stem. Let dry for at least 30 minutes. Some frosting or glazing may appear on the eye (from the CA glue); this can be cleaned up with rubbing alcohol or other solvents.
9) Turn the fly upside-down in the vise and apply a layer of Glitter fabric paint (or Exo-Flexwith glitter mixed in), then apply red-glitter fabric paint for gills. Let dry AT LEAST 24 HOURS before fishing. Fabric paint is self-leveling and will dry with a nice curved layer that also holds the hook on better and makes the head more durable.
Be sure to use a loop knot when using this fly. Strip it in hard, fast jerks on a floating or intermediate line.
We are now offering half-day and full-day guided float trips for large trophy trout below the TVA dams. This is your best chance to catch a wild, trophy trout in public water below the TVA dams. These fish are large and smart, and are not “pellet-heads”, that is, they are not fresh out of the hatchery. They are smart, hard-to-catch, and fight well. They live below our TVA dams and eat mostly dying shad that are coming through the dam, and midges. They get very large, mostly due to the constant supply of dying alewives and threadfin shad that get killed each year as the water gets colder. In fact, the previous two state-record rainbows were caught in these tailwaters. Many of the rainbows here spawn in the early fall and winter, as opposed to stream-bred rainbows that spawn in the spring. Some are calling these fall-spawn, lake-run rainbows “steelhead”.
Questions You Might Ask:
What can I do to increase my chances of catching one of these trophy trout?
1) First of all, PLEASE BE CAREFUL AND SAFE! This is big whitewater, and I have already rescued one person that actually sunk his boat here right in front of me, leaving the poor man stranded on the end of a fallen tree out in the raging whitewater. Water levels may rise at any time, so always use life jackets, especially if you choose to wade far from the boat. Also, most of these dams have rebar and other rusting machinery that can sink a boat. There are also sharp rocks that can cut holes in a raft, so please be careful and safe in these areas. If you are unsure or hesitant, always go with an experienced guide first.
2) Practice casting a 10-weight. Practice, practice, practice!!
3) Use a good fly. There are dozens of species of midges here and 3 species of shad, in varying sizes. Use a fly that closely imitates these food items.
4) Try to go at the right time. Dusk and dawn are usually better fishing (as a general rule), and the amount of water these TVA dams let through the dam fluctuates, so be aware. Different water levels call for different flies, presentations, and strategies.
Are these big rainbows actually “steelhead”?
Well, yes and no. They are not raised in the ocean, but they are raised in a large body of freshwater as opposed to being raised in a river. Some of them spawn in the fall and winter, as opposed to spawning in the spring as stream-bred rainbows do. Genetically, steelhead are indistinct from their stream-bred brothers and sisters, and in every population of rainbows, a certain percentage will go downstream until they hit a large body of water, and then grow large, and come back upstream to where they were hatched and spawn. We have several strains of rainbows in this area, and all of them were stocked originally at some point, as rainbows are not native here. Some of these rainbows live in the big TVA lakes, and spawn in the early fall (usually late September). I have many photos of these fish spawning in the fall. Call them steelhead, if you want, I call them fun to catch!! All of the following fish were caught in the tailwaters below the TVA dams.
We floated the lower Holston out of Kingsport yesterday and had a great day of fishing. Water levels were high to very high (5000 to 8800 cfs), but the smallmouth didn’t seem to care. For the last couple weeks, the Holston smallmouth have been sluggish and the bite was slow. Part of this was because 1) they were spawning, and 2) we are having a cold, late, wet spring here in the mountains and water levels have been somewhat high and cold. But I think that’s about over, and the fish are on the bite again.
Yesterday we boated around 35 smallmouth on a gray, drizzly day, including one 20″ citation (see photo), and including around 10 good fish that were at least 2 pounds. I consider that a pretty good day, considering the water flows. It was hard to get a fly into the strike zone with all that water, but the fish were cooperative; I also enjoyed the rowing a little more than usual.
Anyway, here are some photos. Would you like to catch some big smallmouth this year? Book a trip with us today!
I’ve been fishing for some picky fish lately that eat floating dead shad (alewives, threadfins, etc.). So I came up with this floating pattern that lays on it’s side, and it seems to work, because I’ve tried it twice & caught a nice 7-pound rainbow on it the first try, and just about caught a heron that landed in the water to eat the fly the next time I went out.
We finally got into a few hybrids on Friday at one certain spot, so they should be at several other local spots any day now. Here’s Todd Boyer with a hybrid from Friday:
I caught this nice rainbow today on a realistic-looking floating shad pattern that I’ve been working on this past week (see below). I finally got to test it out today & it WORKED! I caught this one right by a bridge piling, and missed two other surface eats for various foolish reasons. But anyway the fly works. Here’s the rainbow:
Floating shad patterns for the picky fish below certain dams…
Wanna fish the shad hatch for big trout? Both these fish were caught in one 3-hour trip on the afternoon of April 16. Contact me for details about half-day floats for trophy trout.
TIE ONE ON A THON 2013
The Pole Dancer, an Umpqua fly by Charlie Bisharat, is a really neat fly that I’ve played around with & modified some. So far I’ve changed the head to make the fly ‘walk farther’ (it ‘walks-the-dog’ like a Zara Spook), but all my prototypes so far have been baitfish imitations for stripers, such as a Shad or a Rainbow Trout (see pics). This time I’ve changed the fly from a baitfish imitation into a rat or squirrel imitation. These flies are in size 6/0 only.
After a few of these, I decided to make a darker version for night-time fishing, and then I added some fur & some legs, and eventually the fly morphed into a large Rat or Squirrel version of the Pole Dancer. These flies are in size 6/0 only. Here are some pics:
Scott’s Rat/Squirrel Pattern, $18.00
Check out the latest issue of Southern Culture On The Fly magazine here: on p. 71 there is an article I wrote about one of my fly patterns, Scott’s Fluke Fly.