Top 10 Flies For Yellowfish Season

What Flies To Use For Yellowfish During Spring & Summer?

There are so many flies for Yellowfish, and it can be a daunting task for any fly fisherman when setting out on an early season trip to one of the many freshwater venues that hold these beautiful species of fish. One of my favourite times of year is definitely Spring. The Trout spawning season comes to an end, and the weather warms up. When the days get longer and hotter, the water gets warmer and warmer. This makes me really excited and anxious, and I start planning trips in my head, almost on an hourly basis. You could say I am slightly obsessed with Yellowfishing.

Vaal River Yellowfish

Smallmouth Yellowfish

The Yellowfish start moving into the rapids and shallows once the water reaches about 13 degrees. When the water gets above 16 degrees the fishing is on, and when it hits 19 degrees you have the perfect water temperature to target Yellowfish.

Freshwater Fish Species

Largescale Yellowfish

The list below was made by Fish The Fly, and is just our opinion. It has been a proved list for all of us here at Fish The Fly; whether we are fishing stillwaters, streams, or rivers. There might be a few “favourite” flies missing from this list, but these 10 flies (In order of best to even better) will catch you Yellows during the early Yellowfish season.

Golden Smallmouth Yellowfish

Vaal River Gold

The Top 10 Yellowfish Flies

Copper John

The Copper John is used successfully in South Africa targeting Yellowfish, in fast flowing rivers. It is used as the control fly, and the weight the Copper John, as well as your point fly, get down quicker and stay in the strike zone for longer. Read more.

Red Humpy

The Red Humpy is revelation of a dry fly for Smallmouth, and even Largemouth, yellowfish. Very few fly fishermen seem to know the effectiveness of this fly for Yellows. It can be deadly when it is fished slightly submerged. Read more.


The Stimulator is one of the most diverse and effective dry flies you could use for Yellows. It is a large, high floating dry that has a low wing profile. Fish The Fly team member Jason has had great success in the Vaal with this pattern. Read more.


The Brassie is a well known and very popular Yellowfish fly in South Africa. This fly is often used as the control fly in a czech nymphing or short line nymphing rig setup. It mimics a caddis. Read more.

Mustard Caddis

The Mustard Caddis is arguably the most well known, and most fished Yellowfish fly in South Africa. Along with the Dream Caddis, the Mustard Caddis is the perfect imitation of a myriad of insects and insect larvae that many Yellow rivers hold. Read more.

Czech Nymph

The Czech Nymph imitates and mimics a caseless Caddis larvae and is an extremely productive fly for Yellowfish and Mudfish that are close to the bottom in the fast flowing waters of the Vaal or Orange Rivers. Read more.

Flashback Nymph

The Flashback Nymph is one of the most widely used nymph imitations all around the World for a variety of freshwater fish species. This fly is especially effective in stillwaters and rivers for Yellows, and is a good prospecting fly. Read more.

The Top 3 Best Flies For Yellowfish In South Africa

San Juan Worm

This diverse fly is the perfect point fly for Yellowfish, and can even be fished on big dams (Such as Sterkfontein), by itself with tremendous success. This fly can be tied with with chenille or flexi floss, and a bead can be added for a bit of extra weight in fast flowing rivers. The fish this fly produces, and the numbers of fish it produces, means that we have rated it the third best Yellowfish fly in the Country! Read more.

San Juan Worm

Foam Beetle

The Foam Beetle is the best terrestrial and dry fly pattern for Yellowfish, and a lot of trophy specimens are caught all throughout the Spring and Summer months on this amazing imitation. It is often used more in stillwaters than rivers, but is equally effective. There are a variety of patterns and colours that you can tie this imitation in. It is the second best Yellow fly in South Africa. Read more.

Foam Beetle Fly

Orange Hotspot Nymph


I might be going out on a limb here, but the Orange Hotspot is my favourite Yellowfish fly for this time of year. The amount of Yellows I have hooked and landed (More so hooked and lost, than landed), is scary. This is why I am rating this as the best yellowfish fly for South African waters in the early part of Yellow season. Tied with an orange tungsten bead, it can be especially deadly. Read more.

Orange Hotspot PTN Nymph

The Best Yellowfish Fly!

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