the major January/February bugs in the river here are midge, little black stones, tiny bwo's.
I've always had problems getting an imitation stonefly pattern much smaller than #10. there are several impressionistic patterns using softhackle and such but I've always like the biots for tails legs and antena for my stones. In the past I've tried swiss straw for the wing casing but its such a pain working with it so small.
So I tried something else, much easier, I like it and three rainbows in two hours yesterday also liked it. So, heres a step by step. I've also added some other tricks that help me with tying small.
Little Black Stonefly #12
Tail - Black goose biot
Body - Black Mink
ribbing - fine black or brown wire
Flash back - black flashaboo or small gold tensil
Thorax - Goose biot and Mink
legs/antena - black goose biot
Start with a counter wrapped lead, counter wrapped lead is easier to cover with thread and locks into place a bit easier. once you get the lead covered pretty well, flatten it with hemo's...this keeps the side profile thinner.
Make a dubbing ball behind the hook barb and lay in the biots right at the barb tip. If you simply catch the biot with the thread with a single wrap then you can adjust it where you like including length and then a wrap behind (hook bend side) of the original wrap plus two more in front for four total wraps. lay in the next biot and repeat. Now some like to side mount biots but for this fly you need to learn to put them on top of the hook.
Wrap the biot ends up to the lead
The led has a sizable edge so I like to help fill that in by pulling the biot ends back toward the hook bend and putting a couple wraps around it then trim off the biot ends about halfway between the lead and the tail biots. clean up the taper with your thread.
Add the wire rib possitioned down the top of the hook, tie in the flashaboo when wrapping back toward the tail.
Dub to the point you want the first pair of legs and pull the flashaboo strands up the back...I like to lay them a little towards me instead of right on top...as you wrap the ribbing, the flashback moves over to the top center.
Wrap the ribbing
The flattened lead helps in placing the legs. Wrap in the leg biots much the same way I described the tail biots...
Heres the new part. Were going to create the wing casing from the biot ends. Fold back the bottom biot (one you put on first) and hold it with one wrap. Then fold back the other biot and wrap a couple times to hold.
The two boits form a V...trim them just above that V.
Wrap a very small amount (two wraps) of thin dubbing and
Repeat for the next pair of legs....your still on top of the flattened lead so...
Finish off by adding the antena and shaping the head with the tread...tie off.
Thats it...small but simi realistic.
Now most little black stone fly nymps are actually tanish with dark casings, legs etc...for some I use brown wire for ribbing and gold tensil instead of black flashaboo.
main point is that when these get real small, the goose biot makes good casings.
tight lines all.