Yarnies - Love or Hate?


Active Member
I think I am the one who should apologize for bringing this subject up. However, I have seen these types of discussions many times before whether it be in an Internet forum or around a campfire on some river bank. I am 60 year old and have been fly fishing since I was 14. My father was a purist, so I was raised in that world. I was a fly fishing guide when strike indicators (bobbers as my dad would say) first came out and I hated them. Then, I saw the advantages to "vertical" fishing and its ability to allow folks with limited abilities to catch fish. So, I sold out. I stood firmly on San Juan worms and Glo-bugs not being "true flies" for years, before I finally compromised. When my dad would come up in fish, he would turn his nose up at my flies and the way I would fish. He would much rather "catch one his way, than a 100 my way." He of course over the years softened up, but still never fished with an indicator. The hopper/dropper, of course was exempt.

When I was a kid, there were like 8 fly patterns (give or take a few) that everyone used. Now, there are literally 1,000's and each day there is a new and improved one coming out. I guess the discussion on what is and isn't fly fishing could go on and on arguing every aspect of what the real boundaries are. The same is true with what is a fly and what isn't. Does saran wrap for a back make a scud any less a fly than it would be with Swiss straw or deer hair. Does a gold bead head ruin a pheasant tail? What's the difference between a shooting head over a weighted fly or split shot?

The real answer to this question is what was it that drew us to WFF? The answer of course is fly fishing. Each year, more and more things are happening that drastically affect the sport we love so much and one that has given me countless hours of fun. But, instead of focusing on the real threats, we have an ongoing argument over our philosophical differences. Just the other day, I posted a nice picture of a Coho on another site that I caught in BC. For every compliment I received, there was a subsequent remark about me killing the fish by taking it out of the water. Is this where the sport is going to go? To a place where we have to nitpick each other apart instead of basking in the love and enjoyment of such a great sport.

In my day, we never had such an avenue as the website and for the most part our opinions were shared over a beer on the tailgate of a pickup truck at the boat ramp. I could go on and on about this, but I feel I have made my point. The younger generation is doing a fine job of taking the torch and protecting this beloved past time. For the most part everything I read here is awesome and enjoyable. I assume full responsibility for this thread and the heartache it created. I will tread more lightly in the future.


flyfishmt, no apologies needed. These threads take on a life of their own and that's what keeps things interesting. If all we did was pat each other on the back and say wow, that's cool..... This place would be very boring. While some of these threads seem to get a bit heated, I sure hope nobody takes it personal. I've met quite a few people with whom I've had real differences of opinion with on the is board and all were cool. I'd have no problem spending a day on the water with 99% of the people here.
Why come all the way from Montana just to do the same thing you can do there? Probably the same reason trout speys are made. Why go all the way to Montana just to swing for smaller fish than you could here? Why not step out of your shell and try something new? Geez how boring.

Chris Bellows

Your Preferred WFF Poster
instead of focusing on the real threats, we have an ongoing argument over our philosophical differences.
honestly, is this why people don't get involved in protecting wild steelhead? because of nymphing vs. swinging threads on the internet? i don't buy it. we can multitask and write letters, testify, and have fun BS'ing on the internet.

but if the large % of guides who primarily nymph would start taking a stand for wild fish instead of their current complete silence on conservation issues, i'm sure those of us who don't prefer nymphing would stop posting anything to hurt anyones feelings and become all kumbayya with our beading brethren.... but we all know that the internet threads have nothing to do with the majority of washington state's "fly fishing" guides and fly fishing community's lack of interest in fighting for wild fish.

apathy aint caused by internet discussions, but by apathy.


Active Member
I just got back from elk hunting here in Montana. I camped next to 8 guys from Washington who were also elk hunting. What's wrong with visiting other states?
"One grab from a swung fish is worth about 1000 indicator downs in my book"

This is the problem. Lots of swingers can't grasp the simple concept that we're not all reading the same book.

that's pretty much my take...for the most part. It seems, in my experience, that once I'm out on the river, I don't get a sense of that type of attitude very much. The internet is a little like when you're in your car, many people will say things that they would NEVER say right to someones face.

Personally, I actually enjoy nymphing MORE than swinging but still do both generally based on the water that's in front of me. Then there's the entire argument that nymphing is easier...well, it take a lot of work to do it well because it's NOT as easy as many make it out to be (try doing with with a limited amount of weight and having to get creative in your mends to get your fly down). IMO, throwing a skagit head with a 10' sinktip is about as easy as it gets...now, throwing a dryline and still getting your fly "in the zone", that's an entirely different story as it requires much of the same specific line manipulation (and actually quite fun with my SH glass rods, and that's also the only way I'll swing).

One thing that I do need help understanding though, many folks throwing two-handed rods preach restraint, yet they're throwing two-handers so that they can bomb casts 100' out and get their weighted fly in front of more fish, throw on a 15' T-14 tip to get their fly in front of more fish. How is that any more restraint than (I"ll use myself as an example) nymphing using a weighted fly under an indicator with an effective range of less than half that (usually not much more than 30' out--typically fishing different water), throwing it on an 8.5' glass rod (or really any standard 8wt for that matter)?
just buy steelhead bait hooks, tie them on with a bait loop then cut yourglo bug yarn and sinch it in the loop... only people who insist on being recognized for reinventing the wheel need to call them yarnies..

on the other hand why come all the way out here to nymph fish?
I was fishing these in the 60's on the Skagit by Rock port, there were a lot of boats and fishermen back then, and lots of Barneby slough fish to catch, and lots of nates too. Back then it was those god damned "hot shotters" that plugged up the good runs.