View Full Version : Steve Yates - Little Yellow Sally

05-11-2010, 08:46 AM
Steve Yates makes this fly look perfect in his tutorial, and I can get pretty close, but I am struggling with the wings. Does anyone have any advice on making the wings look good on this pattern? Is there a way of trimming the CDC feathers that I should know about? I also tried yellow deer hair, which looks ok, but not up to par.

Does anyone have a more extensive tutorial on prepping, placing, & tying in the CDC feathers?

05-11-2010, 09:19 AM
Grannyknot, you do not say what it is about your flies that displeases you, so it is hard to suggest a fix. I doubt the trout would care, but you do not want to trim those feathers. If you do you will have a wing that looks blunt at the tips. I'm thinking that your problem may have to do with the selection of the feathers or the quality of the feather. You may also be having thread tension problems causing the feather on one side or the other to not mount properly. Regards, Silvercreek

05-11-2010, 09:43 AM
The 2 most noticeable problems I am having are:
1.) when I tie in the 2 feathers, they look too big for the hook (size 12)...almost like i have tied in 2 giant pieces of marabou. Maybe my CDC feathers are too big for some reason?
2.) If i do get them to look somewhat proportional to the hook size, the lengths of the barbs are all different and not uniform. Steve Yates wings looked so uniform, I could have sworn it was hair that had been put in a stacker.

Also I was wondering if people tie in one cdc feather, then tie the other one seperatly, and adjust them together. Or if they are just stacked on top of each other and tied in.

05-11-2010, 09:57 AM
You need to be using CDC feathers which have barbules which are long enough to reach from the tie end point to the hook bend. Those feathers are not stacked on top of each other, but placed side by side and tied in together, not one at a time. Also note that Steve is tying in his feathers on a thread base which prevents the feather shaft from being crimped into the dubbing and causing the feather to flare upward. If you look closedly you can see a couple of thread wraps behind the tie in point of the feather. I'm thinking the feather quality is your main issue. Regards, Silvercreek

05-11-2010, 10:38 AM
One other observation, I just noticed that you are using a size 12 hook. That's really pushing it to find CDC with barbules that are going to be long enough. Steve's suggested sizes of 14-16 are more in the range of the size of the bug and the workable length of CDC barbules.

05-11-2010, 10:52 AM
GK, You might want to post a pic and we might have a better idea of what you are meaning...

05-11-2010, 11:43 AM
More thoughts. Stroke the CDC fibers toward the tip of the feather. Place the feather against the hook and get the barbule length you need. Assuming you are right handed, pinch the barbules with your thumb and forefinger of your left hand where the feather will be tied in. With your right hand do the same thing and stroke the fibers back toward the butt of the feather. This creates a gap in the fibers,and this is where you tie the feather shaft in. This prevents the shorter fibers from being bound down toward the bend and giving you differing fiber lengths. Hope this helps. Silvercreek

05-11-2010, 01:36 PM
Let me see if I can make it a little clearer for you. Pete and Silvercreek have picked up some of the details already. First pick out 2 of the larger cdc feathers you have. Now look at the feathers, notice how the feather stems bend slightly downwards? Place the 2 feathers together (one on top of the other) with the bend side of both feathers facing downward. Now with your fingertips move the two feathers back and forth on top of each other a little bit until the tips of the two feathers are even. I don't trim the tips of the cdc feathers, I even them up by matching the tips up. Now pinch the two feathers and measure them against the hook shank. They should be just a little bit longer than the body. Turn a stonefly upside down sometime, you'll see the wings extend just past the body. Hope that helps:smile: Any trimming of the cdc feather is done at the butt end of the feather.

*Extra little tip for times when you do need to trim cdc feather. I usually use my thumbnail and forefinger to pinch pieces of the feather off rather than trimming them with scissors, it helps to avoid that blunt ended look. It gives you some uneven ends that look a little more natural.

05-11-2010, 04:20 PM
Thanks everyone....that helps, especially Flyman's post.
I'll try again tonight and if I remember, I'll post a picture.

05-14-2010, 10:49 PM

You know flyman is Steve Yates. :rolleyes:

Regarding your question-- It is all about finding the best CDC feather for the job. You want one's with fibers that are all uniform in length with the stem. I have found TroutHunter's CDC the best around. And the pinch technique is a good tip.