It happens often during the northwest winter steelhead season, the words die hard fisherman hate to hear, especially when time off is hard to come by. BLOWN OUT! Our weekend fishing trip had taken a quick turn for the worse as rain pounded the local rivers for more than 48 straight hours turning the rivers to a mucky mess, and putting surrounding homes on a flood watch.
After a quick glimpse at the river gauges just to double check, I sent the text message to cancel the day trip.
It was one of those days today where you dont really even want to leave the couch. The rain pounded the windows, it’s cold, and a thick fog covered the valley. Kind of depressing really.
So, what does a guy do when he is locked up inside this time of year? Tie yarnballs! You can never have to many, as you always seem to lose to many. A football playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens was on t.v, and I had a cold beer, and my steelhead gear layed in front of me.
I fish yarn balls most of the time for winter steelhead. There inexpensive to make, they last for many consecutive drifts, they come in bright attractive colors, they hold scent well, and there one of the few things i’ve found that drift well in our western rivers while side drifting out of a drift boat.
I’ve been asked many times how I tie yarnballs, and the truth is, it all starts with an egg loop knot first. Here I will demonstrate how I tie these steelhead rigs, there are many variations, but this way works the best for me.
I will be using Hi-Vis line as well so it’s easier for you to see. Start with a 2ft to 3ft leader. Take the tag end of the leader and run it through the eye of the hook just past the bend of the hook.
Keep the line tight around the hook! I like to pinch the wraps around the hook, then pull the tag end closest to the eye of the hook tight. The loose line will begin to come snug to the hook. Just be sure there is no kinks or knots as the line goes through. Clip the tag end of the line by the bend of the hook.
Here is your finished egg loop. This picture is shown with the egg loop loose ready for yarn, eggs, shrimp, worms or whatever else you would like to fish. Next comes the yarn. Cut 3 to 4 pieces of 1 inch yarn and place it centered through the egg loop. Glo bug yarn works best as it is thick and stays full in the water. Using more than one color also adds more realism.
Pull the leader tight and the yarn will become snug in the loop.
A good way to ensure that the yarn ball becomes round, is to pinch it with your thumb and index finger and cut around it. Do this from the top, then pinch from the bottom and both sides to ensure that the yarn ball is round.
Cut off and frayed ends, and you now have an effective steelhead rig.
I hope this has helped some people. It can be deadly when fished properly. If fishing eggs or sandshrimp, just simply remove the yarn and you still have an egg loop to fish with!