Fly Tying Video: The Versatile Yuk Bug

The Yuk bug is one of my go-to flies and I can fish it throughout the year. During early spring I'll dead-drift it under an indicator, with a beadhead dropper behind it. Or I may fish it alone, as a streamer, and rip it off the banks. By mid-summer I’ll fish it as a true crayfish imitation. That’s because crayfish molt and move to shallow water a few times a year.

The fish follow them into the shallows—often into water so shallow you would not expect a large fish to hold there. These fish are willing to expose themselves in the shallows because crayfish are a huge protein source. Sometimes I’ll find these fish in just inches of water, places where I am surprised to see them. When imitating crayfish, I strip this fly very fast, just as a natural fleeing crayfish would move. When fishing the Yuk Bug I favor large sizes, meaning size 2 and 4. But I tie some size 6 imitations as well.

This pattern has been around for a while; I tweaked it a bit by adding dumbbell eyes and rubber legs, and I lengthened the tail slightly. Man, is this a great bug. I have one fly box full and dedicated to this fly. Make sure you take it to the water this fall and beyond—it will pay dividends.

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Tyler Balich grew up in Anchorage, Alaska where, naturally, he learned to hunt and fish. He moved to north Idaho 23 years ago and now manages North 40 Fly Shop in Coeur d’Alene. When not wandering the mountains for elk, or wading rivers for cutthroat trout, or floating down Montana’s Clark Fork River, he spends time with his wife and children.

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