Little Yellow Stonefly by Steve Yates
Hook: TMC 2312 size 14-16
Thread: Uni 8/0 Light Cahill
Egg Sack: Wapsi Super Bright Fluorescent Red All Purpose Dubbing
Body: Wapsi Superfine Sulphur Yellow
Wing: Pair of yellow CDC feathers
Hackle: Grizzly dyed yellow saddle hackle
Little Yellow Stoneflies are probably the most dependable and prolific hatch we have in the Southern Appalachian mountains. They are one of the most complex families of stoneflies we have. There are a number of genera and many species within each. They come in a variety of colors from pale yellow to green. Although we commonly refer to most of them simply as little yellow sallies. They start hatching at the lower elevations most years about the end of April and will be present throughout most of the summer. They thrive in cold-water streams with gravel and rocky bottoms.
They are one a handful of aquatic insects that I carry specific imitations for multiple life cycle stages. I try to imitate three stages of its life cycle: nymph, newly hatched adult, and the egg-laying stage of the adult females. They are present in the water column in at least one form almost all summer, and sometimes all three will be present at the same time. Most stoneflies hatch by crawling to shore or stream-side vegetation to emerge. Some species of the little yellow sally actually emerge in the water column like mayflies.
During the egg-laying stage you will see swarms of females hovering 20-30 feet in the air above riffles in the stream. They fold their wings and dive to the water's surface dipping their egg-laden abdomens in the water five or six times in order to deposit their eggs. The females have large red prominent egg sacks at the end of their abdomens. After they have laid their eggs, if they are lucky enough to escape the feeding fish they will fall spent to the surface and collect in the slack water and back eddies. This stage is where I think this pattern excels.
The CDC and the few hackle wraps at the front of the fly are just enough to keep it floating in the surface film. Fish will often gather in the slack backwater eddies to enjoy a buffet of these and other leftover drown insects. Dominant trout often take up feeding positions such as these so that they consume the maximum amount of food with the least amount of energy.
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