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Foam Yellow Jacket by Steve Yates

Trout, Bass, and pan fish will often target bees and wasps when they are readily available. This is the time of year that the colonies are reaching their peak numbers and require a larger and larger range to provide for the every expanding colony. Some colonies may contain thousands of yellow jackets. Only the Queen survives the winter each year. In the spring she seeks out a suitable nesting site to begin a new colony, often underground. Most bees and wasp are yellow and black banded.  This coloration may be nature’s way of warning that the bearer is equipped with and unpleasant surprise for anyone that comes in contact with them. Only the female yellow jacket stings, but they are capable of stinging over and over again unless the stinger is pulled out. The times that I have actually seen trout take yellow jackets it was a vicious strike, perhaps it’s to kill the insects before it stings the fish. This is a very good pattern from about mid July until the first good frost.

Hook: Dry Fly size 12-16
Thread: Rusty Brown 6/0
Body: Foam Yellow Jacket Cylinder
Wings: Brown Hen Hackle Tips
Hackle: Medium Brown

Photo of Step 1 

Step 1- Cover the middle 1/3 or the hook shank with thread. A thread base at the tie in point will help to keep the cylinder from spinning around on the hook.


Photo of Step 2 

Step 2 - Put a couple of drops of cement of some type on the thread wraps. Make enough thread wraps to compress the foam and to keep it from spinning. Be sure you adjust the foam after the first few wraps to make sure it stays on top of the hook. Yellow jackets have a small waist, so make enough wraps to compress the foam as much as possible.


Photo of Step 3 

Step 3- Select 2 hen hackles and strip them down to the tips. The wings should be just a bit longer than the body. I tie them in shiny side up, facing and slightly down and splayed outward towards the back of the fly.


Photo of Step 4 

Step 4- Tie in one medium brown hackle at the back of the waist area and wrap forward towards the eye. 4 or 5 wraps are usually plenty.


Photo of Step 5 Finished Fly 

Step 5- Finished Fly

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