Missoula, Montana Fly Fishing
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Yellow Sally

Photo by Les Korcala

Yellow Sally Overview

  • Family: Stonefly
  • Size: 9-18mm (size 14-16)
  • Emergence: Late June through late August
  • Emergence Time: Afternoon

The Yellow Sally Hatch in Montana’s look like a baby version of the golden stone. Brighter in color than their larger cousins, the Yellow Sallies hatches in droves on Rock Creek, the Clark Fork River, Blackfoot River, Bitterroot River around Missoula and many other streams in Montana

Despite their small size, they are often the prevalent insect on the water. While anglers might not be looking for smaller flies amongst Salmon Flies and Green Drakes, (or believing a small fly will produce against such behemoths), the trout will key on the Yellow Sallie because they’re so prolific.

Yellow Sallies hatch the same time the Golden Stones do, in the high, roily water of post run-off fishing in Montana. A size 16 Yellow Sally isn’t always the easiest fly to see, so many guides will run a double dry of a Golden Stone and a Yellow Sally. You can see the Golden, and set when the strike is close to it.

Just like the Golden Stones, the Yellow Sallies are made up of more than one species of Stonefly. This is why they range in size from 12-16. But no matter what species is hatching, the same fly works in the correct size.

Yellow Sally Nymphs

The Yellow Sally nymph is a trout favorite because it is so abundant. As with all Stoneflies, the Yellow Sally nymphs crawl out of the edges of the river to emerge, so trout taking nymphs will stage in the shallows, against the banks, eating these nymphs. One of our shop tied flies, the G Kes, has proven to be a exceptional Yellow Sally nymph.

Odd Man Out

The Bitterroot river also boasts a Yellow Sally that is bright green. A Lime Trude is quite effective when this fly is on, and if the Lime Trude has an egg sac, that’s even better. Though even when the bright green sallies are out, the standard Yellow Sally will work. One of the features of the Yellow Sally natural is the prominent red egg sac. A good Yellow Sally imitation will have a prominent egg sac as well.

Additional Yellow Sally Resources