Last October 12 I headed down to the Vedder River in anticipation of doing some drift fishing for fresh run coho salmon using yarn flies. It had been a while since I had visited this beautiful river and I was dismayed to see the numbers of fishermen even though it was a weekday! However, large numbers of fishers also meant that there were fish in the river so I eagerly began a series of long drifts with a bobber, about 2 ounces of weight and various yarn flies of green, orange, pink and white hues. I also had my trusty heavy steelhead fly rod in my truck but on this outing I left it in its case.
About two hours after daybreak I was rewarded with a good strike and was surprised to find that a 12 pound white spring in mint condition had taken the fly. By afternoon, I had tried various places on the river that I knew from past experience would not have as many people but still offered a chance for a coho salmon. I found myself fishing next to Norm, a veteran of the Vedder who lives in nearby Chilliwack and saw him hook two fish in short order. "Springs," he said as on both occasions, his 6 pound coho leader was quickly snapped. I asked Norm what fly he was using and he showed me the yarn fly that we will examine in this article. It was tied on a size 4 short shanked hook in a deep red color with just a touch of white yarn added as an overlay to the red. Most important, the yarn was clipped very short, no longer than a thumb nail in length as it projected back from the leader hook eye loop. In the next two hours or so, using a similar yarn fly that I was able to tie up right at the stream side, I hooked and lost 3 spring salmon. I caught nary a coho that day but I was pleased as punch with the action that I did have as well as learning about a new Vedder River yarn fly.
A yarn fly has to be the easiest fly in the book to tie providing you can tie the proper leader to hook knot, usually called a bait loop knot. There is more than one variation of this knot but I will describe the one that I use. Hold the hook at the bend pinched between your thumb and index finger of your left hand. Push the end of the leader through the hook eye towards the hook bend giving yourself about 5 inches of leader to work with. Form a small loop and keep it snug against the hook bend between your thumb and index finger. You now should have about a 4 inch length of leader pointing back to the hook eye. Wind this end around the hook shank at least 5 times and then push the leader end back through the loop you are holding between your left thumb and index finger. I then carefully use my teeth to grasp the end of the leader and with my right hand, I slowly tighten the long end of the leader past the hook eye so that a neat knot forms on the hook shank. As you pull on both ends of the leader to secure the knot tightly on the hook shank, do not pull the knot all the way to the hook eye, i.e., leave a small space between the knot and the hook eye. To make the yarn fly, simply push the leader from the long end through the hook eye so that an opening springs up between the hook eye and the knot. Insert a piece of deep red yarn through this loop, then a thinner piece of white or peach yarn, tighten the loop holding the yarn, trim to 1/4 inch on both sides, and you have finished the Vedder River Red Yarn fly!
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