Where Fly Fishing is A Professional Passion

This Month’s Fly Box


May is a time for yellow bugs…BWOs too.. great stuff is here!

Jeff Wilkins photo  


These Patterns will catch fish this month— 

Small Streams May (Bugs transitioning to a mix of dark and light, larger…..!)

#18 Dun Caddis    #16-18 Sulphur   #12-14 Hendrickson/Red Quill

#12-14 March Brown   #14  Grey Fox    #14 Light Cahill    #8-10 Green Drake   #22-24 Tiny Olive

#4-8 Giant Black Stone   #12-14 Early Brown Stone  #14-16 Yellow Stone  #12-16 Speckled Grey Brown Caddis

#16-20  Grey-Brown Dun & Green Caddis     #18-22 Black Fly Larva  #20-24 Blackfly Adult

#18-22  Midges  Gray, Black    #18-20 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 May 2020 Small Stream Hatch Chart



Delayed  Harvest &  Hatchery Supported Waters

.North Carolina…Delayed Harvest (Black and white signs) waters receive second spring stocking April 1, 2020 and that will continue for 2 weeks until all waters stocked…. and all waters receiving the second stocking starting April 1, 2020….please refer to NC Wildlife listing for exact dates hereHarvest opens on all DH waters on Sat June 6, 2020. 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 4, 2020.  Hatchery Supported Waters and Delayed Harvest are not the same thing.


NOTE:  Harvest Season opens the first Saturday in June every year  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 s  l  o  w   and  deeeeeeepppp and  m   e   t  h  o d  i  c  a  l  l  y during colder days…but begin looking shallow on warmer days.  Take your time, fish slow……cover less water and cover it more thoroughly.  When you find fish, fish the area well, this time of year you are likely to find a lot of fish in a lot less area.  Fish are in prespawn mode and will be spawning soon!

Fish are in late winter/early spring pre spawn mode.   Great time to fish late morning then late afternoon, fishing deep, but fishing shallower areas adjacent to deep ones on warmer days as some fish will go shallow on nice days.  Particularly if we get a number of days in a row in the 50s-60s….  Now is the time employing a sink tip or sinking line works wonders for finding fish that are deeper .  Sink tips, intermediates,and floating lines good for fish that are shallow.  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 still deep but moving shallow on nicer days, and they are in a later winter/early spring pattern, with crappie coming shallow first….and bluegill are deep as well as they are deeper often on points and dropoffs and sometimes suspended over deeper water but they will come shallow soon and on nicer weather days.  If not near cover, they’ll be suspended in open water usually relating to dropoffs, channels, etc.  Sink tips and sinking lines helpful this time of the season.

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 :
Sink Tip line and or a sink tip line, and short 4 foot piece of 3X for a tippet, no leader…. and the fly of choice above, streamers if you are targeting crappie and rubberleg flies if targeting bluegills.   Fishing it slow will be more productive than fishing fast.


Saltwater…..many fish will be on the move, inshore speckled trout in southern coastal waters will be spawning soon as the weather warms.  Red drum, specks, flounder, all inshore fishing will pick up as the weather warms.  Albacore are around, but bonito will move in and be on nearshore wrecks soon as the end of March gets here and we move into early April.  Inshore fishing will improve as well, southern coast first, middle (Cape Lookout) coast next, and northern coast last.  Shad are running in our coastal rivers right now, stripers will soon follow with April and May great months to target rockfish on the Tar, Pamlico, Neuse, and Roanoke Rivers.  The last one, the Roanoke, offers what many would argue is the finest river striper fishing in the East.

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)