Little "Brown" Stones

I noticed a prolific hatch of size 16 grey more than brown stones on my local river over the weekend. Waders and vehicle were covered. Tried to match the nymphs with size 14 hare's ear and PT without success. Did c&r a couple cutts on my go to bugger. First, is the rule of the nymph being one size larger than the dry true for all insects? Is this a hatch worth matching? I saw no surface activity. Any suggestion on flies, wet or dry?

It could be a hatch worth matching; I don't know what stream you're talking about. You're not going to see a lot of surface activity to stones because of the way they hatch. But that doesn't mean fish won't take dry imitations. The stones will be around, some of them on the water from time to time, and fish will be on the lookout for them, if the hatch is significant; witness the yellow sallies of summer or the current skwala action on the Yak (had pretty decent dry-fly fishing Sat aft). The skwala is a little bigger than the bug I think you're refering to, but the sally is a little smaller, and they're on the water when the fish have a lot more choices than they do now. Yeah, little brown stones will catch fish.

Nymphs will often work better, particularly this time of year. Hares ears and PTs are not particularly good stone imitations, even if they're the right size. You want something with the longer thorax of a stone nymph, very leggy, and very distinct split tails and antenae (usually tied with goose or turkey biots). No matter what nymph you use, get it ON THE BOTTOM.

The little brown stone, little black stone, and winter stone (probably often the same bug) have long been classic winter and early spring trout-fishing standards, particularly on small Pacific streams. It's not really a rock-em-sock-em hatch, but if you learn to make it work for you, you'll have earned some stripes.


Active Member

This is the time of year to fish stone nymphs on westside rivers for char, trout and steelhead. Particularly when the water is clear. I tie a little brown stone with a tungsten bead, verigated rubber legs, and brown/cyrstal ice brown dubbed body on a size 8 hook. I'll fish this off a floating line in faster water, feeding lanes, and also swing it slowly in tailouts. Westside fish seem to turn to fry as the fry hatch builds steam, but the stones will work through the end of the season (April 31). Skwala/brown stone dries will work in the right conditions, too.

Be the ball Danny