8/13 Tying Event: Yellow Sally

On August 13th from 6 to 8 pm (PST) we’ll be tying two variations on the Yellow Sally stonefly pattern; Henry’s Yellow Sally and a Hair Wing version.

The orange on the Hair Wing version simulates the egg sac that females often have, and the fly sits balanced in the water. The Henry’s, with its hackle forward of the wing, tends to sit a little lower in the surface film.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

  • Hook: #14 or 16 2 or 3x long dry fly hook (natural bend hooks like an Umpqua U203 make an even more natural-looking fly)
  • Thread: Yellow or Olive 6/0
  • Dubbing: Bright yellow (both patterns) and bright orange (Hair Wing variant). I’m a huge fan of Hare-tron, but any appropriately colored dubbing will do.
  • Wing: Bleached elk or deer hair
  • Hackle: Cree Grizzly or Grizzly and Brown hackle (here’s a great way to buy hackle). If you need a small quantity, email us your address and we will happily send you some.
  1. Start with a 3x dry fly hook with a natural bend (Umpqua U203 for example). These hooks have a neutral eye and a natural bend that make them perfect for simulating stoneflies . Pinch your barb. Better to break a hook now than later.
  2. Tie on your thread about an eye length behind the eye. Wrap rearward to just above the barb point.
  3. If you’re tying the HAIR WING, to make the egg sac wrap orange dubbing about 1-1 1/2 eye lengths up the shank.
  4. OPTIONAL: If you’d like to add ribbing, tie in a 6 to 8″ section of fine or brassie sized gold wire.
  5. Use the yellow dubbing to create a long but fairly thin, tapered, dubbing noodle on your thread. The taper isn’t critical, but it makes a nicer-looking fly. How far up the shank you wrap your dubbing depends on the fly you’re making.

    HAIR WING Variation:
  6. Wrap your dubbing towards the eye, stopping about 1-1 1/2 eye-lengths back from the eye.
  7. Select a grizzly, tan, yellow, or brown hackle with fibers about 1 1/2 times the width of the hook gap in length. I like to use cree, but it’s so hard to find that I usually grab one brown and one grizzly, and use them as one feather. You may find a single hackle feather is easier to use. Cut off the butt and strip bare about 1/4″ of the bottom end of the hackle (thickest part of the stem) to make tying in easier.
  8. Tie the thick stem of the hackle onto the side of the shank closest to you, with the shiny side of the feather facing the hook shank. The feather fibers will be angled slightly towards the back of the hook and out away from the shank.
  9. With an open spiral, counter wrap the hackle about 2 eye lengths towards the hook point, then wrap back to where you tied in the hackle. Wiggle your hackle side to side as you wrap to avoid trapping or crushing any of the fibers.
  10. IF you tied in wire at step 4, wrap it with open spirals up through your hackle, again taking care not to crush your hackle. Tie in the wire, and using your bobbin tip as leverage, helicopter the wire (or cut it off with fingernail clippers).
  11. With scissors, cut off all of the hackle fibers that are sticking up above the hook shank.
  12. Grab a small clump of bleached elk or deer hair and cut it free of the pelt. Holding the tips firmly in one hand, pull the smaller fuzzy hairs off the butt of the long hairs by pinching the hair with your other hand and pulling them away and off of the longer hairs.
  13. Stack the hair well, measure it so that the tips stretch too the back of the hook bend, then switch hands and prepare to tie it in.
  14. Yellow Sally wings are supposed to be sparse and translucent, so take a couple of collecting wraps before applying pressure. Not only will this help keep the hair on top of the shank, but if you find you’ve got too much hair as you tie it on it will give you a chance to easily lose some of the extra hair.
  15. Be careful as you apply pressure. You want the hair to flare, but not stick up like a post.
  16. Use your thumbnail to lift the butt ends of the hair and trim them to form a “head” close to but not covering the eye.
  17. Wrap your thread between the eye of the hook and the underside of the “head”, and finish per your usual method.

    HENRY’S Variation
  18. Wrap your dubbing towards the eye, stopping about 1/2 way between the eye of the hook and the point of the hook.
  19. IF you are using wire, counter wrap it forward in an open spiral and secure it where you stopped your dubbing.
  20. Grab a small clump of bleached elk or deer hair and cut it free of the pelt. Holding the tips firmly in one hand, pull the smaller fuzzy hairs off the butt of the long hairs by pinching the hair with your other hand and pulling them away and off of the longer hairs.
  21. Stack the hair well, measure it so that the tips stretch too the back of the hook bend, then switch hands and prepare to tie it in.
  22. Yellow Sally wings are supposed to be sparse and translucent, so take a couple of collecting wraps before applying pressure. Not only will this help keep the hair on top of the shank, but if you find you’ve got too much hair as you tie it on it will give you a chance to easily lose some of the extra hair.
  23. Be careful as you apply pressure. You want the hair to flare, but not stick up like a post.
  24. Wrap your thread to cover the butt ends for an eye length or so before wrapping back to the wing tie-in point. trim off the loose butt ends as close to the hook shank as you can.
  25. Select a grizzly, tan, yellow, or brown hackle with fibers about 1 1/2 times the width of the hook gap in length. I like to use cree, but it’s so hard to find that I usually grab one brown and one grizzly, and use them as one feather. You may find a single hackle feather is easier to use. Cut off the butt and strip bare about 1/4″ of the bottom end of the hackle (thickest part of the stem) to make tying in easier.
  26. Tie the thick stem of the hackle onto the side of the shank closest to you, with the shiny side of the feather facing the hook shank. The feather fibers will be angled slightly towards the back of the hook and out away from the shank.
  27. Leave your hackle alone for a moment and add a tapered yellow dubbing noodle to your thread and wrap forward to create a body that starts thick and narrows as it approaches the eye of the hook. If you find you flared your hair too much, you can use the dubbing noodle to tame it a little.
  28. Counterwrap the hackle one full circle/turn before advancing towards the eye in an open spiral. 4 or 5 wraps are about right.
  29. Secure the hackle with your thread, snip the end, and you are ready to finish the fly per your usual method.
  30. If you forgot before, carefully pinch the barb.