That Versatile Yarn

If you don't use yarn, you should! Yarn is a simple presentation that can represent anything from a single egg, to egg clusters drifting downstream from a redd. Steelhead feed heavily on eggs during the Spring run, & yarn is a deadly way to imitate them. Advantages to yarn are that it is easy to use & is available in many different colors. You can mix & match colors to diagnose what the fish want, or even scent it for added appeal in cold water. Colors can be quickly changed & best of all it tends to stick in the teeth of steelhead giving you that extra split-second to set the hook.

Did I mention that you can purchase several seasons worth of yarn for just a few dollars? Not only that but it takes up very little room in your pocket. Just add a small folding scissors to your vest & you are in business.

To get started, a selection of up-eye octopus-style or egg hooks in size 8-12 can't be beat. Select larger hooks and bigger, brighter yarn for dirty water, & smaller hooks & natural egg shades for lower, clearer conditions. Pre-cutting yarn into 1/2" to 1" sections & loading it by color into a box is a good idea. Or you can simply put it into a small snack-type baggie, squeeze the air out & seal.

Next you need to know how to tie a snell knot. Here's a great link to an Animated Snell Knot
Tying snells takes a bit of practise, but is easy once you understand how although cold fingers are another issue all-together...

Once you've selected the hook & tied the snell, simply slide the knot back, pull up on the standing end of the tippet/leader to form a loop then insert the yarn (I apologise in advance for the feeble illustrations):

Now slide the knot forward & snug against the eye. Line tension is all that is necessary to hold the yarn in place. Fold the two ends of the yarn up between your thumb & forefinger, then trim to size with your scissors.
That's it! You can also mix or blend colors by using yarn sections divided in half, or make blood dots & fertilized eggs by laying a small separated section of different colored yarn on top of the first. To change colors, simply slide the knot back, remove the old piece & insert a new one.

Fish it on a dead drift using fly gear, drift & noodle rods , or even a spinning rod; it's that versatile. Just remember that water conditions dictate the size & color of yarn, & to select hooks accordingly.
Good Fishing!


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