View Full Version : Grey HackleYellow Dry

01-28-2008, 10:50 PM
Tied half a dozen of Grey Hackle Yellow Dry today. I'm hoping they will work for sulphurs on Little River this Spring. Anyone out there with any stories to tell from fishing with this pattern.

I used Hugh Hartsell's recipe, substituted the tail fibers, didn't have red dry fly hackle, took some guinea body feathers in red instead. Looked like it would be ok.

01-29-2008, 10:32 PM
Hans-do you have any pictures of that fly? I will check out Hugh's website if you don't have any pics.

01-30-2008, 10:07 AM

The Gray Hackle Yellow is an old Smoky Mtn stanby, according to L.J. DeCuir and Hartsell et al. Iti is mostly tied with yellow floss for body, grizzly hackle and a red dry fly hackle for tail. I have seen European versions of it with a ribbing of mylar or wire also (Hans Weilenmann, Holland). I know Don Denney has it on his web site hiwassee.net and then go to flybox section.

Mr. Hartsell has a nice description along with pictures under his fly tying tutorial section on the web site.

I have modified it for my purposes. I use yellow 8/0 thread and then I tie in a little bit of yellow floss along with the tail. I do use grizzly hackle as it's the meat of the recipe. I figure this fly would be good fly for sulphurs on the Little River this spring.

Good Luck.

Hugh Hartsell
01-30-2008, 10:26 AM
Hey Guys,
I have found that there are several interesting things about the Grey Hackle Yellow, as well as other older flies that have been handed down for several generations from Europe. In reading about the fly and looking at other websites I saw many contrasting comparisons about the fly. The way that you see it on my website, is the way that it was handed down to me in Cocke County at the age of 13. As you will notice, there are only the barest of materials as compared to using tinsel or wire in the recipe. This is an indication that these materials were not readily available to tiers in that area at the time they began tying it. The same holds true for many other handed down patterns from EUROPE. Even the spelling of the name has changed from the way it was done in my childhood. I noticed when I Googled it up that many sites spelled it one way and many spelled it another. One thing remains true about the fly and that is: It is beautiful and it sure catches fish. Be sure to try it when you see the Yellow Drake hatching off this year on Little River as well as when Sulfurs are active.
Good luck with your tying Hans, and Good fishing to all of you.

01-30-2008, 02:06 PM

Thanks for your kind words, I need all the well wishes I can get. The first dozen or so flies I tied, looked like something my cats can cough up. LOL.

Anyway, I'm getting better day by day. I'm concentrating on easy patterns in the beginning, and the Grey Hackle Yellow looked easy to tie, and it is. I'm also doing Partridge&Yellow, Partridge & Green, as well as Partridge&Orange. I'm going to get more in to North Country Spiders later on. I'm really excited about tying and I had a contest win in Dec. (Daniel can tell you all about it), and I was able to build a fly tying arsenal from scratch with that win. I have since added another $100 or so in materials so I have quite a good basic set up. When I come to think about it it's more than basic. If you ask my wife HE HE. Anyway, I'm coming to see you on Feb 23 If I can make it, to talk to you more.

01-30-2008, 05:52 PM
Guys, I really respect your opinion and was wondering what you all would tie if you were only tying for the park and where limited on what you could tie (by number of patterns). Here is what I'm currently tying (I'm shooting for at least a dozen of each fly, in each size):
Parachute Adams (12-20)
Yellow PA (14-18)
Olive EHC (14-18)
Stimulator (12-16)
BWO (16-20)
Lt Cahill (12-16)
BHPT (14-16)
Tellico (12-16)I've also tied some EHCs with CDCs in Yellow and Olive in 14-18, and I have about 8 SMBBSHs left from last year that I'll keep buying in the future (thank you Hugh!).

So what else would you include? How about the Grey Hackle Yellow? I want to cover all the bases, but I also want to keep the number of patterns down so that I don't need to carry a lunch pail for a fly box.

One final question: I'm not tying my EHCs or Stimulators with Gold wire any more in an effort to speed up tying. I know that they will be slightly less durable, but I was wondering if you thought that the extra flash from the wire was good or bad in the Smokys? Obviously in low light/murky water it might help to get the fly noticed, but it also might seem unnatural to already skittish fish in clear conditions. What's your opinion?

Hugh Hartsell
01-30-2008, 06:48 PM
Pete, and others,
I saw two or three flies that I would include into the list that you mentioned and the Thunderhead, Isonychia, and Little yellow Sally come to mind real fast. When I talked to Paula about doing another Flytying Class this late winter, I asked if I could schedule it as close to the beginning of the Spring hatches as I could. She graciously agreed and when we do this last class, it will be getting close to the time for the first flies to start hatching in the streams of the Park. I want to begin this tying session by starting with the first flies to hatch off and show a tied version of each popular fly that follows as the season progresses. While I am tying these flies we will be discussing the amounts to be found and the importance of each species or fly to have with you. We will also talk about which streams that a particular fly will be found on and to what extent or numbers to expect on the stream. This can give you a lot of the answers as to what you are looking for and how to best equip yourself when you are going to be on the stream. This is going to be an important class and it will cover a lot of topics. Try to get a friend to come with you to it on the 23rd. and I'm sure that you will go back home with a lot of information that you have wondered about for a long time. I think that knowing the time of each insect that will be hatching and just what flies you will need to imitate those species will help a lot in cutting down on the number of flies that you might carry. I'm hoping to see a large group at the flyshop because each one can contribute something to help gain more knowledge.

01-30-2008, 07:44 PM

As previously stated I will try to be there.

Pete: Well, flies, flies and more flies. I fell victim to the ever buying more flies syndrome. It gets to the point where you will have eight different fly boxes and your back and wallet will say. Enough is enough.

I have rediscovered the joy of only bringing a set amount of flies with me on any given day on a stream. I will however say it will be a day when I can't catch as many as the neighbor because I can't exactly match the hatch. On mountain streams this is a less of a problem. With that said. I will never leave the house without BH Prince. Never leave the house without something yellow. This goes for the park in the warmer months. If it's off season I will always have something bluish,olive.

I think your list is a good one. I will however add that Prince. In order not to increase your list, I say it's safe to drop the BWO and use the para Adams in all the different sizes. I have had good success with an Adams for both Quill Gordons, BWO's and Blue Quills. You just have to adapt the size to the hatch.

I'm trying to make it a sport to carry a limited amount of patterns for 2008. I will instead make sure I have all the sizes needed. If you select a basic color pattern and then adapt the sizes you can narrow it down to no more than six different patterns. Dave Hughes has written extensively on this topic.

I don't mean this in any kind of disrespect to anyone selling flies or who is in retail. I just think you are better off buying more of a pattern in different sizes and a bunch of different patterns and end up with 500 flies but not the right size.

01-31-2008, 05:02 AM
Hugh, thanks for doing another demonstration. I missed the first one and was pretty disappointed, so I'm glad to see you'll be back in a few weeks.

I too think that's a pretty good list. that's pretty much what I fish, although I'd rarely go below a size 16 in a para adams. maybe sub some small BWOs for those. As Hans said though, the PA is really effective as a BWO, blue quill, or even quill gordon. the thunderhead would also be effective there as well.

As for the yellow sallies, the stimulators will do well for that. a yellow EHC will do well also. I personally prefer to fish a more specific yellow sally pattern in thick hatches. Does it work any better than a stimulator? I can't tell.

those flies should be all you need to catch fish with throughout the year. I think it's also good to have a box of random stuff too. I usually carry a little box full of experimental creations, random terrestrials, midges and some other junk just to keep things interesting.

Dave hughes, as mentioned by Hans, has a base set of flies that he carries and from that small arsenal, can catch trout anywhere in the world. A good book by him is "essential trout flies". this book works around this idea.

01-31-2008, 10:06 AM
Hugh. I will definitely try to make it on the 23rd. There is an outside shot that I will have to travel outside of the country that week, but hopefully not. I think the idea behind the demo is an excellent one and if I can make it, I'll make sure I'm there early.

Hans, Thanks for the insight on the BWO and the Quill patterns. To be honest I can't seem to follow a BWO very well on the water anyway. I've tied about a dozen BWOs that I'll probably keep in the spare box in the car, just in case. I've never had much luck fishing them, so I've rarely used them anyway. Thanks for the addition of the BH Prince. What sizes do you normally carry? (10-14)?

Trevor, I agree on the sz 18 and smaller flies. I will probably not tie anywhere near as many of those. There have only been a handful of times when I wished I had something that small, when I could see trout taking tiny whitish flies off the surface and watching my 16 PA drift by them only to attack something right after it again. The experimental fly box is a good idea that I think I will copy as well. I've tied some Husky Hair Tellicos, Dog Hair Caddis, Grey Hackle Yellows and CDC Caddis that I will probably put in there just to try if I'm catching too many or too few on a given day. What is the particular yellow sally pattern that you tie (or is it a secret recipe)?

Thanks for the insight guys, its much appreciated! I need to get a copy of Dave Hugh's book. I have seen it many times, but have never remembered to pick it up and buy it...

01-31-2008, 11:50 AM

I use mostly size 14 but sometimes a 12 is the ticket. I rarely use 16 or 10, but they do have their place. Note this info is only for mtn fishing. On tailwaters I rarely use a BH Prince unless I'm on the Clinch or Hiwassee where they can be good in large sizes at times.

I came up with my own Yellow Sally recipe. I don't know if it will work we'll see. Yellow thread, some yellow dubbing in sparse layers, and Yellow Elk Hair. I tie this in a small 16 since many Yellow Sally's I've seen on Little River are small.

02-02-2008, 12:56 PM
The hare's ear parachute has consistently produced for me in park and other mtn streams. Depending on the time of year, I will start with a match for the current hatch, but end up fishing the HEP at one point or another during the day.

My two cents