Fishing Report and News

April 9, 2020

Saluda has dropped to  around 1,000 cfs but is still green and murky. Fishing has been a little better. Fish have been caught on size 22 black zebra midge with silver bead, size 16 Higas SOS and size 14 frenchie tied on jig hook. Wading is still  more difficult than water level would indicate due to poor visibility especially with respect to moss covered rocks. 

April 8, 2020

If you have questions about whether you should be fishing during the Covid19 epidemic please read the linked article as it answers many of your questions'. 

April 7, 2020

Saluda has finally dropped and remained at around 1370 cfs which is a little high for wading but still possible. The water is green and murky, so visibility is very poor, especially for seeing moss covered rocks. The rocks are also very slick, since they have been underwater for a while and the sun has not had an opportunity to dry out the slime, so be careful. Spin fishermen  have been catching some nice stripers at the Gervais Street Bridge. As far as trout go in the Saluda, czech nymping, indicator nymphing and streamer fishing have been working okay. Higas SOS and  a black articulated beastmaster have been working on occasion.

March 28, 2020

Saluda has been around 12,000 cfs for a while now, so no fishing. Now is a good time to learn fly tying or to pick it up again or continue what you have been doing.  If you are new to fly tying or have been away for a while, then please read my Dec. 6, 2018, entry about getting started in fly tying. I have fly tying kits, vises, materials, hooks, etc in stock. Listen if you can't fish, you can't work and you have time on your hands, you might as well tie some flies. There are simple flies I have taught boy scouts how to tie that catch fish. Fly tying is also a great relaxer that gets your mind off other things. With so many great videos on youtube, there is no reason not to get started. If you don't tie, you can still come by to buy flies, fly lines, leaders, tippet, strike indicators, boxes. If you have not changed your leader, bought new tippet, put on a new line,or rearranged your fly boxes, now is the time. I change my tippet out every year, who wants to lose a great fish over $4? 

March 19, 2020

Saluda River level is still lingering around 2020 cfs. Water clarity is still poor. The combination of  higher water level and  poor water clarity make wading difficult.  If you have a wading staff, now is definitely the time to use it. If you do not have a  collapsible wading staff, now is a good time to buy one; it can't hurt, and it can really help (cheaper than knee surgery). For those hardy enough to wade out from the shore, fish are being caught nymphing and  fishing streamers.  I had a little action on a black beastmaster and an olive slumpbuster with my 6/7 spey rod and  2x fluoro leader. Fish are also being caught on tan nymphs and green caddis pupae. Also keep in mind that unlike spin fishing with a friend, the  required distance between fly fishermen makes it a good socially distancing activity, even if  you do it with a friend. Please also remember  TU parking passes are no longer valid and unless you have property owner permission, you cannot access the river via the traditional access point.  

March 11, 2020

Water is still high and off color. Some brave, younger fishermen have been fishing on the saluda and picking up some fish along the shore using  black or olive streamers. Based on past records, stripers should be in the Congaree below  Amazon if the muddy water has not put them off. 

February 5, 2020

River is up again and muddy. Even when it drops to a wadeable level, it will take a while for water clarity to come back. All the mud and water on the rocks make even normally good wading spots more treacherous, so be careful if you get a chance to fish in the near future.     

January 25, 2020

Well after weeks of high water, the Saluda is finally below 1,000 cfs and is wadeable. The water is muddy, and visibility is limited so be careful wading as the limited visibility makes it more treacherous. While there is some surface activity and some LIght Cahills have been seen, streamers are the way to go. Darker colored streamers show up better in the off color water. If you streamer fish, it is a good time to use a 6-7 weight rod if you have one, also remember to use a shorter leader with a heavier tippet 1x-3x. Articulated streamers have more motion and are more easily seen by the fish. We have a large selection  of Kelly Galloup streamers in stock, expensive but effective. Small fish and a few larger rainbows  are being caught but not in great numbers. 

December 16, 2019

Finally after 3 years of waiting, I have moved into my new house on the Saluda which means Fly South has moved also. Time to check it out and get what you really want for Christmas!! Here are some suggestions of things Fly South has available and in stock (at least 1) and able to be in your hand or your spouse’s hand by Christmas if you are willing to pick it up:

Please do not get a rod for Christmas without casting it first. That is the number one mistake I see people make. Believe it or not even beginners can tell the difference between what they like and what they do not with a rod. The only true way to tell if a rod is best for you is to cast and to cast some other ones.   

We are pleased to be selling Temple Fork rods and reels. Temple Fork is one of the premier names in fly rods. The painstaking craftsmanship is revered among knowledgeable fly fishermen. Each rod and blank comes with a great warranty for repair or replacement, for the original owner regardless of cause. I really like the number of models offered at a reasonable price and their warranty service is superb! 10% off all regular priced TFO items

Visit Temple Fork at

I have to tell you, the most fun I have had fly fishing in a long time is spey fishing. It is not well known around here, but you are missing out! I have caught over 250 fish (including a catfish and garfish) on my spey rods over the last few years and it is a blast! If you are not a good traditional caster, well get lessons from Dermon, but you can also try spey casting. Spey casting lets you throw large flies a long way, fish with trees close behind you, and let out lots of line to cover lots of water, if you are a little foolhardy like I am, you can cast a 1/0 fly with a size 6 dropper. You can be fishing with a spey rod in a lot less time than you think. Order and Buy a TFO spey or switch rod from me and get 10% off and I’ll throw in a 30 minute free spey casting lesson. I have a couple of spey rods myself, so you can try before you buy, who else lets you do that with spey rods?? Spey rods will be special order and will not be in time for Christmas. 

Special group of closeout rods and reels 40% -60% off - NO WARRANTY AS IS on some but still a great deal. First come, first served  - limited to rods and reels in stock.

Thingamabobbers any color, any size .79 each (reg. .99)

See Fishpond products and C&F and Flambeau fly boxes.

Try our Croakies products.

Check out our Montana Fly Co. products

20% off Wading boots from Chota!

Don’t buy a rod or boots without trying them first!!!!

Lots of fly tying materials you can’t find anywhere else in Columbia including Hareline products 

Download the Hareline app on Apple App Store or Google Play it is great!!

Wapsi products

together with the expertise to tell you how to use them. 

If you are thinking about taking up fly tying this year and want to get started with a Christmas gift, go to my website and read about taking up fly tying. It is a good primer even if I say so myself. 

Special selection of fly tying materials only .25 each!!! 

Lots of trout flies in stock!

We also have striper flies in stock and the materials necessary to tie striper flies along with free advice on how to catch stripers on the fly. 

Come see fly patterns that really work on the Saluda, the South Holston and in N.C. (including Coffey flies, slumpbusters, squirmy wormies, and Flymen Fishskull flies which are not available at the big box stores. 

New selection of Kelly Galloup streamers in stock

Just for the Christmas 15% off any Fishpond item in stock, you never see Fishpond stuff on sale.

Why buy local? Let me tell you a story. I was at a SRTU cookout, and Keith sent a guy over to me with a problem (Keith does that a lot for some reason, but that’s ok). Well this guy bought a rod, reel and line outfit from Orvis, and the reel was the wrong hand retrieve (he did not not know that). Well it was not my problem, but I felt sorry for him. I changed the retrieve, pulled out all the fly line and backing and then reeled it all back on the reel and gave it back to him. Don’t know his name, but he was lucky someone was willing to help him with a problem an online retailer caused and at no charge. You might not be so lucky. It does not really cost much more to buy local, especially if you are getting the TU discount below and only paying 7% sales tax with me in West Columbia. I’ve been focusing on customer service and courtesy since 1996! 

One last suggestion. A lot of times your wife, children call me and ask what I think you want for Christmas or Father’s Day or your birthday. Call me at 803-466-8162 or e mail me and let me know what you really want for Christmas, so I can give your loved ones an informed recommendation and you can get what you really want!!! Don’t wait too late or ask for a gift certificate instead. One guy sheepishly brought in a gift certificate one year after the expiration date and I honored it. Why not?

Cash, personal check, Credit cards accepted. TU Members get 5% off total purchase excluding sale items if paying by cash or check.  Call 803- 466-8162 and set up a time to come by.

Check out our website 


I-26 to Hwy 378 Lexington Hospital Exit. Head away from the Hospital toward West Columbia and cross over the overpass. Take your first left at the corner of 378 (Sunset) and McSwain Dr. Go past the Waffle House, the Holiday Inn, the Oyo Motel. Go down the hill and into Rivers Edge neighborhood, past Middle Loop Road and up the hill. Look for a vacant lot on the right with a new looking cream colored house next to it and you are there! Park and walk down the right side of the house to the back - 1722 McSwain Drive. Call Johnny Butler at 466-8162 or e mail for more information.

Johnny Butler

Fly South

1722 McSwain Drive

West Columbia, S.C. 29169



Fly South Open House  Sat. Oct. 26 9:30-12:30 - 1722 McSwain Dr., West Columbia , SC 29169 

Finally in the new house on  the Saluda and want to celebrate with a long overdue Fly South open house. If you have been before, you know how much fun it is. If you have not been before, now is the time! Lots of deals, lots of flies, leaders, tippets, strike indicators, rubber nets, wading boots, rods, reels, tools, fly tying materials, free casting instruction and free advice for novice and old hand alike,   

August 30, 2019

Got a later start at around 8:30. Used TFO BVK 12'6" 6/7 spey rod with 0X Fluoro leader. Was ready (see Aug 25 post)and  had hit while I was letting my line out to cast and landed a nice 23 inch striper on black articulated beastmaster.  Caught 5 more stripers on that fly ranging from 12 to 20 inches, had a fish break me off and switched  to non-articulated black beastmaster and caught 24 incher. The activity ran a little  longer than normal and quit around 10:00 p.m.  

August 27, 2019

Very unstable weather, with drastic barometric changes. Should have known better but you fish when you can. Used TFO BVK 12'6" 6/7 spey rod with 0X Fluoro leader and 1x Rio fluroflex plus tippet, tried all kinds of flies ,  no hits, got  skunked.

August  25, 2019

Used TFO BVK 12'6" 6/7 spey rod with 0X Fluoro leader and 1x Rio fluroflex plus tippet. Started with sz 4 white iron sides with sz 6 blue and white gervais gray as a dropper (you can do that with a spey rod without worrying about sticking a stainless steel hook in the back of your head). Caught one on the  gervais gray around 7:50 p.m.. Switched to circus peanut but  no hits. Switched to black beastmaster  (the go to fly this year just like other years) around 8:10 pm and caught 4 more stripers, all schoolies except one 22 incher. The pattern  remains the same - the fish are smaller, fewer and farther in between, there are still some big fish,  but it is more rare now.  The fishing may be slow for a while, but often there is a 45-60 minute window where the activity picks up noticeably; you have to be there when that happens. The hits are often more subtle, so you have to  be ready to set the hook and set it hard if you have  a lot line out, like I often do. Broke one off on the 1x fluoro, so I have started adding  a 18 inch 0x fluoro section to my leader and then a 20-24 inch 1x fluoro tippet (13lb test). When I change to a black beastmaster around dark, I cut off the 1x tippet and tie the beastmaster to the 0x which keeps me from having to retie my leader and gives me 16 lb test for the bigger fish that often come out to  play at night!

August 7, 2019

Used TFO Deer Creek 13'0" 7/8 wt. with fluoro leader and 1x fluro tippet. Started with sz 4 white iron sides with sz 6 gray and white gervais gray as a dropper (you can do that with a spey rod without worrying about sticking a stainless steel hook in the back of your head). No hits on those 2 flies which worked earlier in the week. Around 8:15 switched to sz  4 non-articulated black beastmaster. Caught 1st  striper around 8:30 p.m. and last at 9:06 p.m. All 4 were caught on the black beastmaster and were small -18 inches and smaller. This is typical for the Saluda this time of year, the fish are smaller, fewer and farther in between. There are still some big fish, caught a 27 incher last week, but it is more rare now. The fishing may be slow for a while, but often there is a 45-60 minute window where the activity picks up noticeably; you have to be there when that happens, sometimes it does not happen at all, then you get skunked!   

A few more observations:  

Fish with whatever you wish until there is just enough light to tie on one more fly, then tie on a black fly. 

I have learned the hard way recently that you need to be ready when you make your first cast. Have the drag set and don't be fiddling around with your equipment when you are letting your line out or making the first cast. I have lost two nice fish recently  by not being ready and alert when I was letting the line out or making the first cast. You will not get a fish on every first cast, but you will get a disproportionate number of strikes on the first presentation to a "fresh fish."

I made a friend of mine (a novice fly fisherman) use my lycra stripping guard when we were fishing last week. I told him the line would glide over his finger smoother when he was stripping the line in, and he would feel  the strike much easier. He did, and he caught 3 stripers and missed 2 or 3 more. I always use a stripping guard when I am fishing  streamers for trout, bass, bream, stripers,  smallmouth or salt water fish. I have a few in stock at $4.99 for 2 guards.  

July 21, 2019

Despite the heat, the water quality has improved. Some nice trout are being taken. Striper bite is still good and can last well into the evening. The circus peanut is still the hot fly.  Mostly schoolies  with a few bigger fish  mixed in but still a lot of fun. Remember that in certain areas of the Saluda, you cannot keep trout or stripers

July 14, 2019

Fishing at what was hopefully the end of the unsafe water advisory (thanks to the Congaree Riverkeeper for all he does). Water was off color, so I thought I would try something white. Tried a white articulated circus  peanut and had good success. As I said there are now larger fish in the  Saluda and 0x Rio Fluoroflex Plus gives you a little margin for error and is still about the same visibility of lighter monofilament.  Even the schoolies are a lot of fun especially on my TFO Deer Creek 13'0" 7/8 spey rod, as the longer lever actually favors the fish and makes for a good fight especially in the current.    

July 6, 2019

Striper fishing only with TFO BVK 10'0" 8 weight rod which is a perfect rod for wading for stripers. The extra foot helps keep the line off the water on those long backcasts, and it has enough backbone to throw larger flies and  fight something other than schoolies. Started off about 6:15 p.m. but nothing at that location. Switched places and  got first fish at about 7:20 on size 4 navy and white Gervais Gray. No more activity until  7:45 and then it was slow.  Tried an old fly (the white ironsides - at least that is my name for it) I had tied a few years back on a regular ss hook; had a large fish on for about 40 seconds until he went downstream and the hook pulled out. That is why I am now tying my striper flies in smaller sizes on Kona super strong stinger hooks for extra hooking power and strength. Sz  2 and above, I am using Gamakatsu B10S stinger hooks or Kona super strong stinger hooks. Not sure how it would have turned out if the fly had been tied on the Kona hook, but it could not have hurt. I then did what I always do when I miss a fish, I sharpened the hook Caught a few more on the white ironsides. Then I dropped a gray and white size 6 Gervais  Gray  in gray and white behind the lead fly and had some nice fishing for about 45 minutes. Caught a total of 10 on white ironsides,  navy and white Gervais Gray, gray and white Gervais Gray and sz 2 black beastmaster. Only one being 24 inches and the rest being schoolies. Remember if you fish at RE, you must have a current pass properly displayed, park in the designated 4 parking spots, and abide by the hours of one before dawn and one hour after dark. The rules are being much more strictly enforced now, and violators are not eligible for future passes and are subject to trespassing charges.  Don't forget to make sure your fishing license is current!  

July 2, 2019

Tried fishing for trout with a dry first. Used a size 18 gray caddis and had a few looks and one short strike. Insect activity is sporadic with a few fish rising.  Switched rods and tried some striper fishing but got skunked. My friend caught a catfish. GO Figure. 

June 19, 2019

Well after weeks of  low water on the Saluda, the river level jumped up to 10,000 cfs due to all the rain. It is finally back down to wadeable levels and cleared out. Stripers  are in the Saluda, and it is a good thing since it is illegal to fish for them in the Congaree.  A size 4 or 6 navy and white Gervais Gray, preferably tied on a Kona super strong stinger hook for extra hooking power and strength, has been my best fly . There are some larger fish in the Saluda now so don't  just try to strip them in by hand  until you know how big it is, when in doubt put it on the reel.  

December 6, 2018

How to Get Started in Fly Tying

A lot of people ask me about how to get started in fly tying so here you go.

 First realize what fly tying will not do for you.

It will not save you money or room in your house 

It will probably will not allow you to tie flies as pretty as the ones you see in the store

It will not raise your blood pressure (most of the time) 

It will not make you spend more time with your family

It will not keep your kitchen table uncluttered

What will fly tying do for you? 

It will make you a better problem solver

It will make you better with your hands

It will improve your patience 

It will make you a better fisherman fisherperson(?)

It will help you tie flies you cannot buy

It will help you tie flies in the size, color shape, etc. you cannot otherwise find

It will help you look forward to the trips you take

It will let you forget about things while you are tying.

What do I do to get started?

Buy a fly tying kit, throw the vise away, and buy a decent vise

Get a fly tying friend to help you; you really cannot learn from a book; you can sort of learn from videos especially more advanced techniques, but the best way is in person with the instructor helping you every step of the way 

Watch videos and practice the techniques 

Set aside a dedicated area for tying. If you don’t, it is unlikely you will tie flies on a regular basis 

If you stick with it, buy more and nicer tools and buy materials for specific flies you want to tie 

Start off simple and work your way up to more difficult patterns 

Tie several of the same fly at one time, repetition is your friend

Buy a recipe book (we call it a pattern book in fly tying). Put the materials on the hook in the order listed in the pattern.  

Keep notes of what works on certain patterns

Realize there are a lot of ways to do something, so don’t be afraid to experiment. That is part of the fun. 

First learn to use a half hitch tool and then learn to whip finish as soon as possible.

Buy several bobbins, so you can keep several types and colors of thread ready

Realize even ugly flies can catch fish, so can simple flies, so can complex flies 

Learn to improvise, otherwise the bit above about your blood pressure not going up will not be true

Try to keep your fly tying area tidy. Come up with an organization system that works for you. 

Tie regularly, at least at first. After you have been tying a while you can pick it back up easier if you take a break.         

Try the Hareline app at Apple App Store or Google Play, Fill up your cart and forward it to me for easy ordering. You cannot buy it direct you must go through a Hareline Dealer

Tuesday June 12, 2018. Well, I have finally recovered enough from rotator cuff surgery to start fishing again, but not with a spey rod. The stripers are all up and down the Saluda. The best fly for me so far has been a black size 2 beastmaster tied on a Gamakatsu B10S stinger hook. Prime time has been between 8:15 and 9:15 p.m. Watch out for the thunderstorms and make sure to carry your headlamp(s) and wading staff. Remember after June 15, 2018, you cannot attempt to catch stripers in the Congaree and catch and release only in the Saluda. Send your striper pics, your trout pics, your bass pics and  any other fish pics for the photo gallery. 

Saturday June 16, 2018.  Got a late start. Water was still a little high for comfortable wading. Tried several flies and got skunked.

Sunday June 17, 2018. Water dropped a little, tried several different  flies but had best success with small black articulated beastmaster which was good enough for a few schoolies. Once again 8:15-9:15 seems to  be prime time.

Tuesday June 19, 2018. Water level was at about 940, so still a little hard wading. Did not start until about 8:15. Tried several flies and missed one on small clouser. About 8:45 switched to small black articulated beastmaster. On 2d cast landed  24 inch striper pictured above , then  12 inch schoolie. Action slowed down, so I  switched to small tan and brown beastmaster and landed 20 inch striper and  missed another. Lightning ran me out at about 9:40.   BTW I was using a 10'0" 8 weight Temple Fork BVK rod. I think the extra foot helps me keep the fly line up higher on the backcast when I am waist deep in the river and  has enough backbone to cast larger flies and pull the stripers upstream to land them . I paired the rod with an old teton tioga 8 i bought from the  estate reels I am selling

Thursday June 21, 2018. A longtime friend from Greenville who happens to be an expert fly tier, rod builder, multi species fisherman and student of fly fishing history and entomology was in town. I took him fishing. The water was low  (740 cfs) and clear and the rocks were slick. Started about 8, I persuaded him to try a small articulated  black beastmaser  tied on a Gamakatsu sz 2 B10S  hook. He immediately had several strikes and  proceeded to land  6 stripers ranging from 10 inches to 22 inches over the next 2 hours all on the same fly and had several other strikes. I was using my new TFO BVK 12'8" spey rod  and Ross  CLA 4 reel I bought from the estate reels (still 1 left for sale  - smooth as real butter) What a sweet outfit , the BVK Spey is lighter than the Deer Creek rods I have but can still throw lots of line and big flies. I was standing 14 feet in front of a tree so my friend could have the spot with backcast room for his traditional fly rod. I tried  several flies and ended up catching a 20 incher and a 22 incher on a medium sized black beastmaster. Quit about 10:35. I asked my friend why he thought  big predatory fish liked to hang in deep water below fast water shelfs. His  answer can be summarized as follows: LGS. Lazy, greedy and scared.

Lazy: do not want to swim against the current or waste energy getting food unless absolutely necessary. Greedy: They want the best spot where the fast current funnels the most food to them. Scared: Left over instincts from when they were small and deeper water provided cover from aerial predators. Tips: Even if you are not wading far, carry a wading staff; the rocks are slippery in the dark and  even with a good headlamp it is hard to see the rocks and depth of the water. Have a good headlamp (actually 2 in case 1 goes out), test them before you go and make sure it is at least 150 lumens,  a cheap headlamp is not much better than no headlamp at all. Send me your fish pics