Jellostone Nymph


Active Member
I think I finally found a good name for this fly. The Jellostone.

When I talk to my fly tying buddy Willy Self we sometimes talk about "the fly of year." Willy is, like myself, a compulsive experimentalist. Some flies work out and others don't. Some a lot better than others.

The Jellostone is they fly of a career for me. At least when defined strickly in terms of fish catching effectiveness. I've been fishing this fly since April. Been switching wet flies a lot too, in order to continually establish an ongoing comparison of sorts. And the Jellostone has been the fly of the day every day. All day long. I'm really pleased with this fly.

In the Rocky Mountains the larger dark brown Pteronarcys stonefly nymphs are vegetarian detritus eaters that require highly oxygenated water to survive. The Golden Stoneflies are carnivores. And they need far less oxygen to get by. You find them everywhere, from cold well-oxygenated bubbly riffles to silty irrigation return lower rivers. They're a bit smaller than the big dark nymphs. And they seem to work better too. This is the best stonefly nymph I've ever fished. The Jellostone.

Some bass tubes advertize themselves as "scented," which makes most fly fishermen cringe. Most are not scented. It doesn't seem to make any difference. The soft texture and semi-transparency is--I think--what makes these flies work so well. You can make them as large or as small as you want.

This one is tied on a #12 DaiRiki 280. A hopper hook, with a bit of flattened lead on the shank, rubberlegs sewn in after the fact plus a tuft of Gold Ice Dub. I use flat nylon to dimple the body blank on a #10 beading needle as a first step. Then mount it on the lead-adorned shank. Then add the Ice Dub. Sew in the legs. Add a dab or two of head cement in strategic locations and that's the fly. It is a fish-catching son of a gun.


Tying this fly on a curved-shank, down eye hopper hook makes a fly that rides with the hook pointing up, after you add the weight. It also imparts a nicely-realistic end-to-end curve to the body of the fly. If you catch a live stonefly nymph and toss it in the water it curls up and tumbles helplessly until it hits bottom. Hard-bodied dead straight nymphs wrapped around a metal hook shank are not, in that sense, realistic at all.


Active Member
Someone asked about how to tie this fly. So I wrote the following:

This isn't a tube fly. The body is snipped from a "bass tube" but that's not the same as a "tube fly." It's a regular nymph tied and fastened permanently to a hopper hook.

I go to the local fishing shop that does NOT cater to fly fishermen. They sell soft plastic "bass tubes" there, which I buy and snip up into stonefly body like pieces with scissors.

I wrap a hopper hook with lead wire and flatten it with smooth faced needle nose pliers. Soak that with ZapAGap or some other CA glue. Now I'm ready to tie a fly on it.

You also need a homemade rubberleg needle. Buy a small pack of long but thin "darning needles" at the ladies sewing store. Darning needles are thin but they also have a big eye. That's important. Put one needle in the vise pointing straight up. Use needle nose pliers to hold the eye of another needle over a cigarette lighter. Heat the eye to cherry red. Use pliers and the tube end of a bobbin to push the red hot needle eye down onto the vertical needle in the vise. That widens the eye so you can use it for sewing rubberlegs into foam or soft plastic. Rubberleg needles are a bit tricky to make but they last forever.

Skewer a soft plastic "pumpkin colored" body blank onto a horizontal #12 beading needle (also at the sewing store). Dimple it with thread. Slide it off the needle. Sew in some tails. Tie it loosely on top of the lead wraps. Sew in some more legs. Slobber some CA glue onto the lead wraps again, in order to glue the soft plastic body to the lead. Now you're ready to fish. Other adornment details were skipped in the above. You can add flashy dubbing and other such you see fit. Good fly. I use it a lot. Best stonefly nymph I know of.

For sewing in rubber legs I use a "rubber leg stitch" that's too hard to describe. Someday I'll have to make video. This is the stitch. The tan oval below is supposed to be the soft plastic body of the nymph, into which you sew some rubberlegs. Stitch through from two directions...then pull on the legs to get rid of the slack. This stitch does hold, so the legs don't come out, even without glue of any kind.

Final note: sewing stores have lots of good stuff. Just remember to make sure no one is watching (look nervously over your shoulder) as you rummage through racks of panty hose, etc....
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Final note: sewing stores have lots of good stuff. Just remember to make sure no one is watching (look nervously over your shoulder) as you rummage through racks of panty hose, etc....

Over the years, those who work in the local fabric/craft stores pay little attention to guys buying weird-ass stuff .. they're wise to fly tiers.


Active Member
Ahhh... this is pure gold.. I must have 30 lbs of plastic bass baits in every imaginable color scheme….
I salute to you pittendrigh!

"Willy is, like myself, a compulsive experimentalist."
I saw myself as the same till I was diagnosed with attention deficit…
.. whatever gets you there..

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