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Yallerhammer

Yellow Wing Feathers?

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13 replies to this topic

#1 breambuster

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Posted 26 December 2018 - 09:23 PM

Yellar+Hammer.jpg

 

 

I read an article recently that suggested that an old Smoky Mountain pattern, the "Yallerhammer" (local pronunciation of Yellow Hammer) is a very effective fly for Bluegills. The problem is that the original fly was tied with the wing feather of a Yellow Flicker, AKA "Yellow Hammer." The problem is that the Yellow Flicker woodpecker is now on the protected list (maybe endangered list) and so it is off limits as fly tying material. The article went on to say that the wing feather of a dove (mourning dove) the kind of dove that is legal to hunt in the Fall can be dyed as a substitute. I also saw that a Partridge feather dyed yellow will also work. The wing feather is split down the shaft so that 1 feather can be used to tie two flies. It makes a very spikey looking fly as the feather is palmered up the shaft from the bend to the eye of the hook. My problem is coming up with a source for feathers. I haven't dove hunted in years and they won't be in season until the fall. Does anyone have a suggestion for how I can come up with some wing fellows, preferably already dyed? 

 

If you would like to read the article from which the picture was taken, you will find it here: 

 

https://www.panfisho...ar-hammar-nymph

 

Thanks

 

BB


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#2 Noahguide

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Posted 26 December 2018 - 09:48 PM

Long discussion on the yellahammer in this forum earlier this year. http://www.flytyingf...+yellow +hammer

#3 mikechell

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Posted 26 December 2018 - 11:36 PM

I don't know how experimental you wish to get, BB, but I've got a package of three feathers from Dollar Tree.  They're wing feathers, but I don't know what breed of bird.  They're bright yellow ... I guessing dyed chicken feathers.

I don't see how any wing feather will be supple enough to palmer, though.


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#4 redietz

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Posted 27 December 2018 - 01:21 AM

 

I don't see how any wing feather will be supple enough to palmer, though.

That's why they're split down the middle of the shaft.

 

Ever tie a Breadcrust?


Bob


#5 mikechell

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Posted 27 December 2018 - 08:37 AM

Nope.  I don't tie patterns just to tie patterns.

I'm just looking at the wing feathers I have.  With the stems that thick, it's surprising to me that it can be wound tightly around a hook.  They also look like the barbs would be much longer than the picture above.

 

Oh, wait, I don't have tiny wing feathers from tiny birds.  I just realized the problem presented by Breambuster.  It's not the color, it's the size.  You need the small wing feathers of small birds.

 

You need to find a White Dove seller.  They're available ... but if you have one near you, you might be able to collect or buy feathers from them.


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#6 tjm

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Posted 27 December 2018 - 10:45 AM

I was going to suggest white dove. Also I think common pigeon (rock dove) would be sized right and in most places they are unprotected as invasive. Might be be a pigeon fancier near you that could provide molt feathers.

Someone said that by splitting the shaft you'd get two flies from each; I don't think that is correct, I think that you want only the leading edge (biot) for that style pattern, and probably only a  few  feathers per wing that would be the right size.

 

So very many flies catch bluegills that to me tying very technical flies or using exotic materials for them is unnecessary, I really have not tried every fly in my box for 'gills but have caught them on almost every fly I've tried. It is remarkable to me that a fly like this, made with illegal feathers, is so often sought after.

 

as scanned by these feathers are not primarily yellow in color, just the shaft is yellow and some of the fuzzy part niether of which is used in the tie; suggesting to me that there is a 'spoof" involved way back in the beginnings.

YSFL_primary_adult_blubk.jpg



#7 xvigauge

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Posted 27 December 2018 - 01:51 PM

Nope.  I don't tie patterns just to tie patterns.

I'm just looking at the wing feathers I have.  With the stems that thick, it's surprising to me that it can be wound tightly around a hook.  They also look like the barbs would be much longer than the picture above.

 

Oh, wait, I don't have tiny wing feathers from tiny birds.  I just realized the problem presented by Breambuster.  It's not the color, it's the size.  You need the small wing feathers of small birds.

 

You need to find a White Dove seller.  They're available ... but if you have one near you, you might be able to collect or buy feathers from them.

I have had great success by just trimming the edges of the wing feather to get the proper length. I also have soaked the feathers in a wet cloth and they soon become supple enough to palmer. But, I rarely have had a problem in palmering the feather anyway. I have also used yellow duck quills with good success. 

Joe



#8 Flicted

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Posted 27 December 2018 - 02:09 PM

I enjoy tying regional patterns like that.  I bet smaller duck quills when dyed yellow will be pretty close.

 

With that said, my experience has shown that there is very little that a bluegill will not eat, especially if you can match the hatch.  If there are damsels present, your favorite damsel nymphs or small, olive wooly buggers would work well.  Mayflies up north are great at times, hoppers in the summer are great, midges in the Midwest in early spring and late summer...

 

I'm not sure what the hammer is trying to represent unless it's color and shape is just highly visible in the regional water color.



#9 Philly

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Posted 28 December 2018 - 10:15 AM

I would say it represents a yellow sally.   Small yellow stone flies about a size 12.  Don't see many around here, but I've seen them quite often in small streams in Vermont.  


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#10 flytire

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Posted 28 December 2018 - 10:34 AM

from the internet

 

The original yallerhammer is tied from the leading edge of the primary flight feather of the Yellow Shafted Flicker (Yallerhammer), an endangered species of woodpecker. It is illegal to possess this feather, so the primary flight feather of a dove or quail wing, dyed golden yellow is used as a substitute when tying this pattern. To use this feather for tying the fly you must first soak the wing feather in warm water, to soften the quill. Then the softened quill is split length-wise and any pulp within the center of the quill is cleaned out by scraping. Tie the prepared quill in at the rear end of the hook shank so that the top few barbs extend beyond the hook, forming a tail. Then wrap the split quill forward to the eye of the hook, in touching turns, and tie off. The resulting "bottle Brush" is a Yallerhammer. The fly became popular in the 1930's and 1940's tied on a trailer hook (ring eye, long shank) and trailed behind a gold willow-leaf spinner blade - which probably accounted for most of its fish-catching success. In the 1960's, it was the inspiration for two new Yallerhammer patterns. These are the Yallerhammer nymph and the Yallerhammer dry fly. However, these patterns are another story for another time. The original Yallerhammer pattern is generally believed not to imitate anything in nature; it's an attractor pattern. However, the streams where it was born do have an abundance of large yellow stonefly nymphs having a general length of about 1 to 2 inches and a generally yellow body color, so it is possible that the original Yallerhammer pattern was an imitation of the large yellow stonefly nymph.


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#11 Philly

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Posted 28 December 2018 - 12:55 PM

That sounds about right.   I was turning stones over in a river in Vermont and  found a  large yellow stone fly nymph.  It was about 2 inches long.  I think I'll add a couple to my niece's and her husbands fly box I'm working on.  A lot easier to tie than one of those fancy nymphs.


"All things considered, I'd rather be in Philadelphia."

#12 tjm

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Posted 28 December 2018 - 04:32 PM

 

and trailed behind a gold willow-leaf spinner blade - which probably accounted for most of its fish-catching success

Does that sound like a RoosterTail imitation?



#13 Philly

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Posted 28 December 2018 - 09:01 PM

Rooster Tails have the spinner blade at the front of the lure.  I have a bunch of small willow leaf blades and clevises might tie a couple up in that configuration to see if it makes a difference.  I'll be making up some in-line spinner baits for my fishing buddies, none of them fly fish.  I guess I could make up a couple of Rooster Tails for them.


"All things considered, I'd rather be in Philadelphia."

#14 Edward Snowden

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Posted 29 December 2018 - 08:09 AM

Kevin Howell, a well-known sportsman and owner of Davidson River outfitters ties and uses this fly.  In fact it is the lead fly in the book on flies, Tying and Fishing Southern Appalachian Trout Flies, written by Don and Kevin Howell.  In the book they say the only two feathers that can come close to matching the Flicker feathers of the original are Mourning Dove and Bob White Quail.  You might call his shop (828) 877-4181 and I am sure you could get more information.  BTW Kevin's shop, Davidson River Outfitters, keeps this fly in stock and also the book.