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webrx 02-28-2009 09:17 AM

Question about stoneflies
I have another question, and this one is about stoneflies.

According to my Sierra Nevada Hatch Chart, stoneflies (little brown ones) hatch from Jan to March on the Truckee. I have seen BWOs on the river (Baetis?) and done well dry fly fishing when this hatch went off, but from what I can find on stoneflies is they don't spend a lot of time on the water in the adult stage, so I am wondering if for stone flies, if I were going to try and tie some up, which would be better:

The nymph or the adult?


Does anyone have a recommended (not to difficult) pattern for each of these stages?

Thanks for any help/advice.


peregrines 02-28-2009 12:57 PM

Re: Question about stoneflies

Stoneflies donít emerge in the water like most caddis and mayflies. The nymphs swim to shore, then molt into adults. Fishing nymphs is very effective, stripping into the shore line when theyíre due to ďhatchĒ.
For the little brown stones and other small winter stoneflies, Iíve never had too much luck on dries, but their bigger cousins that emerge later, like Golden Stones can be very effectively fished with stimulators, and the big nymphs have a multiyear lifecycle so the nymphs are available all year.

All stoneflies like highly oxygenated water, so a good place to look for them is in and just below riffles and itís always a good strategy when prospecting between hatches. Usually youíll find the nymphs about to hatch moving into slower glides just down stream from faster water.

For the smaller early black and brown winter stones here, I use a black caddis for the dries. Itís a good pattern to have anyway, because it imitates the darker caddis that pop later in the season.

For nymphs a Prince nymph can be effective, but I prefer a dark blackish brown dubbed nymph- tied like a Gold Ribbed Hareís Ear. I donít bother with two wingcases (as on real stoneflies) and just tie one., unless itís a beadhead, then I skip it altogether. Around here we get both early black and early brown stones, theyíre usually 14-16 and often crawling around by the 100ís in snow on the edge of the stream. I use the same patterns for both the brown and black early stones. The one you get out there may be a different species, but I bet itís a similar kind of deal to the ones we get here.


webrx 02-28-2009 09:30 PM

Re: Question about stoneflies
Cool, I can tie an GRHE, so I guess I can do a dark one, and if I get some dark Deer or Elk hair I can tie up the caddis as well.

Thanks for the info on Stoneflies, goes right along with what I have been reading, figured there was not much opportunity for SF dries unless the females are actually laying eggs and getting caught in the water.

Thanks again.


Ronnie z 02-28-2009 10:37 PM

Re: Question about stoneflies
You cant go wrong using the nymph.Their easy to tie.

HuronRiverDan 03-21-2009 05:21 PM

Re: Question about stoneflies
My vote would go to the nymphs...We use the same thing for steelhead here in the Great Lakes region. My go to for a stone imitation is a simple black bead head in size 12, 14, or 16, depending on the water conditions and the size of the nymphs that are active. My tye is very simple: gold bead, rabbit guard hairs for the tail, and black dubbing. I have a picture of it in my gallery.


FISHN50 03-21-2009 06:39 PM

Re: Question about stoneflies
2 Attachment(s)
Use Nymphs. Like Mark said, most Stones crawl out of the water to hatch. They are available to trout 95% of their life cycle as a nymph & only shortly as an adult... I usually carry a few Stone flies nymphs in various sizes , Prince Nymphs are good & I have good luck with the pattern pictured below... For dries I like deer hair Caddis in different shades, mostly dark & for those larger stoneflies I use Stimulators.....
Here's a site that has a lot of stoneflies to look at so check it out.
I tie my nymphs weighted . I use lead substitute wire wrapped around the hook shank to just before the bend & then a second wrap of lead over where the thorax will be... I overwrap the lead with thread & flatten the wire with pliers, coat with head cement & let dry. This gives a good form for the dubbed body because most of the stonefly nymphs I've seen have a flattened body.

webrx 03-21-2009 10:56 PM

Re: Question about stoneflies
Fishn50 - Thanks for the info and the links.


Steelhead Junkie 04-20-2009 06:32 PM

Re: Question about stoneflies
I have to concur with what has been said earlier. Go with the nymphs. since you can tie a G R H E N, go with that as your nymphal pattern. If you need a source for darker hares ear dubbing, check out Fly Tyers Dungeon's
"Hare's Web". It's a dubbing made out of hare's ear, with a bit of Antron, which will add a bit of a difference to the fly, which should make it more likely to take pressured fish. and the fact that its 75cents a package dosen't hurt...

MBWCC 04-20-2009 10:47 PM

Re: Question about stoneflies
Around here we get the early black stonefly which will emerge (crawls out of the water) in the morning (~9-10 AM) and return to lay eggs in the afternoon (~3-5 PM). The trout will eat either. You can find good action with either a nymph imitating the crawling emerger or a dry fly imitating the adults ovipositing as they fly across the water and dab or sometimes splat on the surface. I suspect the small brown stonefly behavior is similar but that is definitely and assumption.

Pictures below: 1. Adult obtained from a trout stomach sample, 2. Crawling emerger collected off a streamside rock.

Scale in the second photo is 1 mm per division. Again, I suspect the small brown is similar in size but that is also definitely an assumption.

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