Yakima Stoneflies

Discussion in 'Fly Tying' started by Chad Lewis, Mar 2, 2008.

  1. papafsh

    papafsh Piscatorial predilection

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    Chad, most of the fish I actually saw at the surface, last saturday, Ringer to Big Horn, were taking/sipping emergers. Though not as flashy as true drys, they should not be forgotten. An all purpose emerger presented right in the surface film to a known fish, can be just as satisfyng and fun, (to me anyway) as a dry. That fish I pictured in my report, the one being taken from the net, was taken on an emerger after I saw it rise. Just an FYI for you.

    LB
     
  2. sashjo

    sashjo Member

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    I agree going darker than most patterns. The adult Skwala on the west side is black with a little yellow on the underside of head and thorax.
     
  3. Preston

    Preston Active Member

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    As noted above, most Yakima River Skwalas are quite dark in color. Some (though not, by any means, all) will have some yellow markings on the underside of the thorax. Skwalas will not be seen hatching since the nymphs crawl ashore at night to molt into the adult form. It is actually rather rare to see adult Skwalas on the water. They mostly become available to the fish by falling from overhanging streamside grass and brush where they hang out while mating and (in the case of the females) preparing to oviposit. On a a float from Red's to Roza yesterday we saw only three on the water, which I considered an unusually large number. However, the fish apparently recognize them and actually seem to take up feeding stations in (sometimes surprisingly shallow) water where they may be expected to be encountered).

    We fished dry Skwalas all day and did fairly well in spite of the water coming up about 200cfs during the course of the day. Here's my best fish of the day (17 inches) along with an adult Skwala, a nymph (showing the yellow markings that sometimes persist into adulthood, and my Slackwater Black Skwala imitation.
     
  4. bwillroll

    bwillroll Member

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    O.K. This is a little embarrassing because I know that there are some experienced and creative tiers on this board. I'm planning a trip to the Yakima the last weekend in March and am tying up some Stoneflies. I took the advice of some on this board and created what I could with the material that I had. I'm looking for suggestions for improvement and whether or not you think my sample fly will catch anything. I went with black deer hair for tail and wing. Olive body, and yellow thorax. I didn't have any black hackle, so I had to use brown. So tell me what you think. Presenting my very first Stimulator.
     
  5. Richard Olmstead

    Richard Olmstead BigDog

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    Preston, I like that fly. It is very similar to what I use, but for the yellow foam head and your tails/antennae.

    Bwillroll, your fly looks like it will work. I might clip the underside of the hackle on the abdomen and thorax to permit it to ride a little lower in the water. I'd also go with a little less deer hair in the tail, if you are tying more of these. For proportions, I'd recommend shortening the thorax and extending the abdomen a bit. If you have some natural elk or deer, try imitating the fly Preston posted for a second pattern.
    D
     
  6. Preston

    Preston Active Member

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    Richard,
    The yellow foam is strictly a visual aid. Damned hard for me to follow such a dark fly, even such a large one (6-8), unless the light conditions are just right.
     
  7. Richard Olmstead

    Richard Olmstead BigDog

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    Good idea; I should try that on mine.
    Dick
     
  8. Matt Baerwalde

    Matt Baerwalde ...

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    Preston, that is a very nice pattern. Did you trim the bottom of the thorax hackle?
     
  9. Preston

    Preston Active Member

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    Yes. Skwalas are not very good floaters and sit very low in the water. I rely on the moose hair wing to provide most of the bouyancy. I had a pretty good day in the Yakima canyon yesterday and found a spot that had an unusually large number of westslope cutts, something that I've not normally encountered that low down in the river. I have not yet hit a good BWO hatch this spring and all of our fish came to dry Skwalas.
     
  10. Matt Baerwalde

    Matt Baerwalde ...

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    That's encouraging. I'm headed there tomorrow and already have a fair number of BWO cripples tied up. I tried to imitate your fly; this is what I came up with:
     
  11. Preston

    Preston Active Member

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    They look pretty good. I usually make a couple of soft turns of thread at the rearmost point of the wing tie-in to keep it from flaring. The stonefly's wings lie folded flat over its back so I try to keep the wing as low as possible and avoid the tented-wing appearance of a caddis.
     
  12. Matt Baerwalde

    Matt Baerwalde ...

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    Oh okay...soft turns at the rear of the wing. I wondered how you did that. Good to know. Do you tie the loops down to the hook shank?

    The two rising fish that I found yesterday responded positively to the orange thorax pattern.:thumb:

    But then at the VERY end of the day (like 7:30) I found a pod of rising fish that I COULD NOT catch in the failing light. When I couldn't tie the knot on the third pattern I was going to try on them I called it...very reluctantly.

    Good ol' Yak. Up to it's old tricks.
     
  13. Preston

    Preston Active Member

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    Just tie the wing in as is normally done then make a couple of turns at the appropriate place with minimal tension. Make a couple of tighter turns forward of that, tie in the hackle and continue from that point. I hope that makes it clear.