January Fly Salon - Stonefly Nymph

One of my New Year`s Resolutions (which took almost two full days for me to violate) was that I was going to tie up my trout flies during steelhead/salmon season , and tie up my anadromous species flies during the heat of summer .
So , trying to keep the resolution intact , and gain some inspiration from your ties , I`d like to see your stonefly nymphs . Feel free to wing it with a fly of your own design , or show us your take on an established pattern .
And have some fun . I`ll post one of my own design later today if I can find the materials .
Heres one i tie for steelhead (Yellow and blue work well), but i've had success in smaller size 14 for brookies and rainbows in the peackock color.

Senyo's Wiggle Stone Fly
8's on the left, 14's on the right
Colors are
FL Shell Pink
Steelie Blue
All Hareline Ice Dub.
I've been enjoying the "Salons" in recent months, but haven't felt like my skills are up to those of the regulars, but I'll give it a go this month.

On the principle that sometimes a fly that is showier than the natural it is trying to imitate can attract the fishes attention, I tie the fly below, which has been very successful during winter/early spring on the Yakima as a Golden Stone nymph.


flashy golden stone 2.jpg


It's an old photo. I'll see if I can find one of the patterns for a new shot. Once I stopped fishing rivers I don't have a lot of use for stonefly nymphs but I must have them in a box somewhere with my gear... at least, in theory.

The wing case is fuzzy foam.


Patrick, I couldn't find my box of stonefly nymphs (I don't use them for stillwaters) so did a quickie tie of the Golden Stonefly pattern I use on The Metolius. This photo doesn't have the orange cast.

I prefer Swannundaze but have none... so I had to use round ribbing instead -- that upset me so much I didn't evenly space the rib so the fish won't eat this fly :)

I'm also out of the fuzzy foam because I have no use for it when tying stillwater patterns. So, I used turkey quill for the shell-back.

I tied the pattern in the first photo a long time ago... before I had my bug aquarium. Once I could look at the real bug up close and personal, I found that Golden Stonefly nymphs have a thorax equal to the abdomen. So that's how I tied this one. The head is also intentionally large because, well, the genuine nymph has a big head.

Hope this photo works better for you than the first one.

Oh, almost forgot. Lead wire under-wraps are located at the lowest section of the hook shank. This keeps the hook point riding up so I don't hang up so often on the bottom. Because stonefly nymphs crawl to shore instead of swimming to the surface, they are available to the trout deep in the water column so I fish this guy as close to the bottom as I can.

Okay, here's a serious question for folks who know stoneflies better than I do. I like the typical curved stonefly hooks (e.g., Tiemco 200R) and I use them to tie some adult stonefly patterns, but stonefly nymphs are not curved in nature when they are crawling along the bottom of the stream. (the Trapper Badovinac video on another thread shows some nicely)

My question: why do people tie both adult and larval stonefly patterns on curved hooks? Maybe when they are dislodged into the current they will flex their body in an effort to contact something solid to hold onto? But I think most of the time they will be in a more linear configuration.



Charlie Brooks did some underwater investigation of stonefly nymphs when he was alive and fishing primarily in YNP. What he found was that the stoneflies are really only available to the trout when the bug becomes dislodged and floats downstream. According to what he saw, the nymphs did not float in any specific orientation but pretty much were all over the place... right side up, upside down, sideways, etc.

For this reason, Charlie never tied his stonefly nymphs with a shellback but what he called "in the round"... basically a hackle collar and no wing case.

The only reason I use a curved hook is in an effort to make the pattern more likely to bounce on the bottom without hanging up. I've used both curved and straight shank hooks for stonefly nymph patterns and I neither one works better than the other so as far as the fish are concerned, I don't think it matters.

The wing-case is added for me... I haven't found it makes a difference with or without a wing-case so I add one just to make the pattern more appealing to me... I'm allowed. :)


Hey, I just remembered why we'd bend the hook shank for stonefly nymphs (before we started using English Bait hooks). We wanted the fly to tumble in the current like it was a dislodged and struggling stonefly nymph. The bent hook shank helped with that effect.

It's been such a long time that I stopped fishing rivers for trout and switched to stillwaters, I forgot why we tied the patterns as we did.