Where Fly Fishing is A Professional Passion

This Month’s Fly Box

THE December FLY BOX

December is small bwo and midge time….and a host of other stuff…

Jeff Wilkins photo 2019 


These Patterns will catch fish this month— 

Small Streams December (Emphasis on darker flies, smaller flies predominate)

#22-24 Tiny BWO   #16 Blue Quill (slate)  #18 Dun Caddis  #18-20 Blue Winged Olive

#6-8 Large Ginger Caddis , aka, “October Caddis” or “Autumn Sedge”

#14-16 Mottled Tan/Brown & Yellow Caddis   #18-22 Black Fly Larva  #20-24 Blackfly Adult

#20-24 Midges  Gray, Black    #20 Tungsten Zebra Midge blacks/browns

Additional Patterns:

#18-22 Copper John
Griffith’s Gnat #20-24
Midges #20-24 Grizzly, Cream
#16-20 Black or Red Bead Head Copper John /Bob
#18-24 Jeff’s Superhair Mayfly Nymph, or 8/0 Baetis Nymph
#16-20 Red Copper John/Bob   #18-20 Jeff’s Copper Rojo


click here for a FREE Printable December 2019 Small Stream Hatch Chart



Delayed  Harvest &  Hatchery Supported Waters

.North Carolina…Delayed Harvest (Black and white signs) waters received first fall  stocking October 1, 2019…. and all waters receiving the second stocking starting November 1, 2019….please refer to NC Wildlife listing for exact dates here .  Harvest opens on all DH waters on Sat June 1, 2018. Coldwater stocking by county here .  Weekly coldwater stocking update  here .  ALL DH Waters opened for catch and keep fishing  first Sat in June, 2020, and regs switched to Hatchery Supported .  Refer to NC Wildlife website here for details .  HATCHERY SUPPORTED WATERS (GREEN SIGNS) OPENING DAY IS Saturday April 6, 2019.  Hatchery Supported Waters and Delayed Harvest are not the same thing.


NOTE:  Harvest Season opened Saturday June 1, 2019  to harvesting fish, and most waters will not receive more fish til October.  Some streams in higher elevation areas continue to receive more fish over the summer but not all of them.  Refer to the NC Wildlife site listing for those waters.


-Same Flies as Above plus:

After the DH opening to harvest and all Hatchery Supported waters…. after the initial stocking use bright and gaudy stuff, then transition to smaller flies as the fish acclimate to their surroundings.

#14 Jeff’s White Maggot  #10 Y2K all colors  #12-14 Squirminators  #10-12 Mop flies
Big Attractor Dry flies  #12-16 Wulffs, Humpies, etc.      Bead Head Rubberleg Nymph patterns…pick a pattern sizes 14-18
#14-16 Bead Head Fresh Prince
#14-16 Bead Head Banana
#18-20 Jeff’s Copper Rojo   #20 Zebra Midge  #20 Golden Hare
#16-20 Copper John /Bob all Colors
#8-12 Conehead Black Krystal Bugger
#8-12 Bead Head Tri Color Bugger
#10-12 Egg Patterns all colors
#10 San Juan Worms Brn, Red, etc.
#10 Pink Weenie or Jeff’s Wacky Worm




**nearly season long Sulphurs apply to South Holston only and  can/do hatch at anytime and 16’s and 18’s are recommended, and some #20s thrown in for late summer and virtually all of the fall….but #18 is the most important……late fall /cold weather sulphur activity is the 1st 4 miles  below South Holston Dam and no further downstream than the Hickory Tree Rt 44 bridge ……

March/April is CADDIS time on the Watauga , Sept to Dec is BWO and Caddis time

May Thru November is sulphur time on the South Holston, can start in April in warm years

#16,18 Cranefly  #16,18 Jeff’s Budding Sulphur Emerger
#16,18  Sulphur CDC Emerger  Jeff’s Invaria Nymph #16,18
#16,18 Sulph Comparadun, #16-18 Jeff’s CDC  Mess Emerger
#16,18 CDC Sulphur Biot Comparadun  #16-18 Sulphur Biot Sparkledun
#20/22 Baetis Nymph  # 20/22 CDC Biot Comparadun  #20-22 Jeff’s BWO Trans Dun
#20/22 Jeff’s Budding Baetis Emerger (upper SoHo)
#16-18,20,22  Pheasant Tail Reg & Black
#16,18 Yellow Soft Hackle   #16,18 Yellow Jeff’s CDC Mess
#16,18 Black Split Case Nymph (also referred to in some circles as ‘Split Back’ or ‘Split Back PMD’)
#16-18 Little Black Stonefly (Smith R, Va, also Watauga R., TN)
#16  Grannom Caddis (Watauga R)
#18-20 Black Caddis (all R’s, but especially the Wag’)
#18-24 Adult Blackfly   #18-24 Jeff’s Blackfly Larva Olive
#18 Cranefly   #18 Olive Scud   #18 Sowbug  #18 Tan Scud
#18-24 Midges  Gray , Black  #18-24 Midge Pupae, Olive, Black
#16-18 Jeff’s Hunchback    #16-18 Hot Flash PT Nymph
#20 Henryville Special  #20 Copper John Red
#18-20 Copper John  #16-20 Pheasant Tail (no weight)
#16-20 Flashback Pheasant Tail (after a good rain)
#18-20 Jeff’s Superhair Mayfly Nymph

Click here  for a Printable TN Tailwaters Hatch Chart

Smith River – Va  

#18-22 BWO     #18-22 Quasimodo PT Nymph    #18-22 Lil’ Blk Stone  #20-22 Mercer’s Micro May Nymph Olive

-#20-24 Black or Brown Zebra Midges     #20-24  PT Nymph     #20-24 Craven’s JuJu Bee and JuJu Baetis Patterns

#20-22 Quasimodo Pheasant tail/Bead Head Pheasant tail


Largemouth Bass- ……. right now is a great time to fish topwater early (dawn) late (last 2hrs before dark) mode, deep or on the bottom or in heavy cover during heat of the day

Fish are in still in late summer mode with the heat.   Great time to early to late morning then late afternoon to dark , topwater fishing both times…. to fishing deep during hottest part of the day.  Now is the time employing a sink tip or sinking line works wonders for finding fish that are deeper . There are exceptions to this but you will find the above to be a sound strategy.


JJ Special #2,4
Clouser Minnow #2-1/0  Chartreuse/White, Black/Purple, Black n Blue
Gitzit or Tube Jig Fly #4
Foxee Clouser size 2,4   #4 -8 Jeff’s Jiggy Streamer  Poppers in the size 2 to 6 range




Crappie & Bluegill— Fish are deep (crappie) and shallow (some bluegill although larger ones in deeper water) , and the fish are still in a late summer pattern, with crappie deep …..and bluegill having just spawned …with the last group of fish doing that during the full moon of September, they are deeper on points and dropoffs nearest a spawning area…. poppers and a variety of weighted flies fished on a floating line can be used  target actively bedding fish, while the same sinking flies on a sinking line will effectively target fish deeper areas adjacent to spawning area.  We get new fish (bluegills) moving onto beds around every full moon in summer. Crappie will eat same things you use for largemouth, in a smaller size.  Fish deep for them also.   My fave is a size 6 Chartreuse and white clouser minnow…you simply can’t fish close enough to cover to catch them.  If not near cover, they’ll be suspended in open water usually relating to dropoffs, channels, etc.

Chartreuse and white clouser minnow in sizes 4 and 6

Wilson’s Bluegill Bully  #12

Olive bead head jiggy fly #10

RLD #8-12 (body colors a number of them work but I like yellow legs on all my patterns)

Conehead Bugger Black #12  JJ Special #12
Rubberleg Montana Nymph #10-12
Olive Rubberlegs #10

Prince Rubberlegs #10
#10 Black Bead Head Wooly Worm

**Rig of the Month :
Floating line and or a sink tip line,  with a 7.5 foot 3X leader on the floating line….and short 4 foot piece of 3X for a tippet…. and the fly of choice above, streamers if you are targeting crappie, poppers and rubberleg flies if targeting bluegills.


Saltwater…..drum fishing has been good in the sound and on the beaches, lots of quality fish being caught.  Also the typical summer mixed bag of specks, flounder, spanish and king mackerel also.  Word is big drum, big kings, and all kinds of albies are showing up …..albies have been around since early Sept. 

Albaclouser #2-2/0  in natural, chartreuse and clear, tan /clear, purple /clear   #2-4 Bonito Bunny in White

Clouser Black /Gold #2, 2/0  (Redfish, Trout)
Clouser Minnow  Gray/White/Gold #2, 2/0
Weber’s Rattle Shrimp Brown/Gold #1/0 (Reds)
1/2 n 1/2 Chart/White size #2/0 (great for Bonito)
Albaclouser #4, #2, #1/0 in Olive/White, Chartreuse/White
Chocklett’s Gummy Minnow #2, #4 (Albacore)
Lefty’s Deceiver #2, 2/0 in White, Chart/White, Red/White (all purpose)
Clouser Minnow #2, 2/0 in Chartreuse/White (catch all)