When I think back on all the times I’ve fished Yellow Sally stonefly hatches over the years, I honestly can’t remember ever having a bad fishing experience. If I can find them on the water, I usually have no problem getting trout to take my imitations. Yellow Sally stoneflies hatch from coast to coast. Depending on where you live, they usually show up the month of May and in some areas will stick around until the end of August. You’ve got to love an aquatic insect that has a hatch period that lasts not weeks, but months. Even in the dead of terrestrial season, or when other aquatic bug hatches such as caddis or mayflies are in progress, trout will regularly forage on Yellow Sallies if they’re available. For that fact alone, fly anglers should always have a handful of Yellow Sally fly patterns stowed away in the fly box at all times. Trout love them and so should you.
With the gargantuan number of fly patterns out there these days, it can be a challenge at times to pick out the real rock stars amongst all the other players in the fly bins. Below are ten Yellow Sally patterns that I’ve personally fished and had great success with. Four are nymphs and six are dries. My hopes for this post is simply to help point fly anglers in the right direction whether it’s at the vise or at a local fly shop for stocking up on proven Yellow Sally stonefly patterns.
Yellow Sally Nymph Patterns
Kyle’s BH Yellow Sally is highly effective fished as a dropper off the back of a dry fly or on a nymph rig. It’s extremely durable and has an accurate profile with nice contrasting colors. The other great thing about this pattern is that I’ve found it works year round for me, so don’t feel like the only time you should break it out is during a Yellow Sally hatch. It’s sold commercially by Montana Fly Company and should be available for purchase in most fly shops around the country.
Recipe: Kyle’s BH Yellow Sally
Kyle’s BH C-N Yellow Sally
Kyle’s BH C-N Yellow Sally is a twin of the pattern above. My best guess for the creation of this pattern was that Kyle found himself one night tying yellow sally nymphs, and all he had left in his hook inventory were scud hooks. I’ll leave the ball in Kyle’s court to fill us all in on the backstory for this fly. For now, I tell all that this pattern catches trout and it has a strong following by tons of other fly fisherman around the globe. Again, it’s a very durable fly that you’ll get your money’s worth out of fishing, and the scud hook gives the nymph a nice presentation in the water. Some anglers prefer to fish nymphs on curved hook shanks over traditional straight shanked nymph hooks. How much difference it makes, I can’t tell you, because I catch trout on both styles of nymphs. Go with whatever you have more confidence in.
Silverman’s BH Epoxy-Back Red Tag Sally
Looking for a realistic Yellow Sally nymph that has a slim profile and will down to the fish quick? Silverman’s BH Epoxy-Back Red Tag Sally is a fish catching machine that few trout will pass up if Yellow Sallies are on the water. I have to say that I’m a big fan of Silverman’s fly tying. I’ve yet to fish one of his patterns that didn’t get me regular hookups. I like that it’s an easy tie and it’s a spot on imitation.
Recipe: Silverman’s BH Epoxy-Back Red Tag Sally
Little Yellow Sloan – Nymph
Dave Sloan hit a home run when he created his Little Yellow Sloan nymph. I fished it a great deal this year on my home waters, and it accounted for many fish. It’s got that nice slim finesse look, tied on a curved hook shank, and it comes alive in the water. The pickiest of trout will take this for a Yellow Sally nymph and you can tie it in different color combinations to imitate other stonefly patterns or go beadless if you’re really needing to get technical in tough fish situations.
Yellow Sally Dry Fly Patterns
The Outrigger Yellow Sally by Dave Sloan, has been one of my top producers when female Yellow Sallies are depositing eggs on the surface. It rides low on the water but the deer hair and foam back give it enough buoyancy to stay drifting on the surface even in reasonably turbulent water. This past June, on a recent trip to the South Fork, I caught fish on this pattern when nothing else would work. You definitely want to stock up on this one if you plan on fishing a Yellow Sally hatch. It’s perfect for targeting wily risers and its conservative profile won’t deter heavily pressured trout.
If anyone knows how to catch educated trout, it’s Mike Lawson. He’s fished the technical Henry’s Fork River for just about his entire life, and his Henry’s Yellow Sally dry fly has caught him fish time and time again. It’s not the flashiest Yellow Sally pattern in the bins, but it’s easy to tie, it floats high, and it will fool fish during a Yellow Sally hatch just about anywhere. Tie it with a egg sac or hit the tail of the abdomen with a sharpie and hold on. Last but not least, this fly is a great attractor pattern on any trout stream during the dry fly season.
The Paralyzer, is another killer Yellow Sally fly pattern by Dave Sloan. His inspiration in creating it came from his love for two different highly effective dry flies, the Stimulator and the Schroeder’s Parachute Hopper. As you can see, the Paralyzer is a cross between the two. I like everything about this fly, period. It floats high, you can see it well, even in high glare situations, and trout flat out gobble it up, especially when the hatch is in full swing. Change up the colors and you can imitate a wide range of adult insects found on trout water.
If you’re looking for a Klinkhammer Yellow Sally pattern, the Clown Shoe Sally tied by Jay Zimmerman is it. The abdomen will ride just below the surface, perfect for imitating a female laying eggs that might have come in a little too hot on the landing. The fluorescent pink indicator is also great for anglers that have a tough time keeping track of dry flies during the drift, and it’s translucent abdomen can give you an edge when you’re dealing with heavily pressured trout.
If you find yourself struggling with the addiction of always fishing Chubby dry flies, like so many other fly fisherman out there, Idylwilde has you covered with this Chubby Yellow Sally. This micro chubby is tied on a size 14 hook. No, it won’t catch fish in really technical situations, but if the trout are happy, happy, happy (Duck Dynasty jabber) it’s a helluva fun pattern to fish during a Yellow Sally hatch, and it’s super durable. I know Idylwilde has been in a hole lately with distribution, but no worries, I found a link to where you can buy this pattern online. Click the link at the top.
There are times when each and every one of us have found ourselves on the water when the trout were amazingly picky and extremely difficult to catch. The Slow Water Sally by Brad Befus is one Yellow Sally pattern that can turn your luck in the right direction if you give it a shot. It doesn’t float all that well and it’s hard to see on the water, but both of these negatives are easily outweighed when you drop it off the back of a larger or more buoyant dry fly. Doing so, it can drift in the surface film and it’s realistic look will take over. It’s a perfect fly for flat calm water, and it looks very much like a spent Yellow Sally in drift. Again, drop if off the back of a dry and you’ll see why I love this pattern.
That wraps up the list of ten Yellow Sally fly patterns that have proven to be invaluable on the water for me during Yellow Sally season. I know there’s a ton of other great patterns out there, but these are the ones I’ve fished and can attest to personally. Give them a shot and let me know how they work out for you.
If you have any Yellow Sally fly patterns that you love, please drop us a comment to let us know. We’d really appreciate it.
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