Posts Tagged ‘Fly Tying: Stoneflies


Fly Tying: Lil’ Black Stone (Improved?)

I borrowed upon the suggestions of Normand Frechette at flytyingoldandnew (see his comments from my previous post, yesterday) and I noticed a definite improvement. Now this time, I did use the most ultra fine wire ribbing I had and that did change the appearance and did reduce the segmentation contrast I was trying for. However, the tail was much improved, and the ribbing wound without displacing the tail. What you might be thinking well duh, you stopped using rope for ribbing. Actually, that is the small Wapsi wire ribbing (ultra small would have been better). I resorted to a finer ribbing because the pics made the ribbing look so thick. To the eye, the ribbing actually looks fine. That darn macro actually is a help and a hindrance for ‘impressionistic’ types (read less disciplined or is it more free spirited?) like moi. Fly needs to be slightly more robust. Nope, Hans will never snap my flies for Danica.



Lil' Black Stone Size 14 (SwittersB)



Fly Tying: Tail Warp from Ribbing

I set out to tie a size 14 Little Black Stone, or to experiment with a contrasting abdomen (lighter colored wire ribbing against a black 8/0 thread body) as well as a dubbed, spiky thorax over a weighted under layer non-lead wire. I tied a couple and what I found interesting (yet again) was that I did not see that I had butchered the tail in both instances as I commenced wrapping the fine wire ribbing.

Little Black Stone, Size 14 (torqued tails) SwittersB

In the first instance, the first wrap of ribbing was brought from underneath and over the top/away. The wire ribbing divided the tail (hackle fibers) and split them asunder. In the bottom fly, I wrapped away over the top, and you can see the tail fibers were pulled off the top and to the far side of the shank. This, in particular, is a common problem. Usually, it happens as the tail is tied in. I thought I had tied it in on top, using the pinch method. Now, as I am prone to say, both patterns tumbling through the currents probably will fish just fine. But, the ever helpful macro lens reveals much in one’s tying techniques. What I take away from this is to pay much more attention to that first wrap of ribbing. Also, something that is also apparent is the thread body is not wound flat. The thread is no doubt twisted tight and does not lie flat when wrapped. The black thread abdomen was but three layers. You can see the bumps and ridges of the thread body. The wire ribbing often follows these contours and can spread or bunch following the irregular body contours. So, start slow and double check the steps. Also, unwrap and reapply if mistakes are noted. I cannot bring myself to spring for those funky magnifying goggles.

Read comment by Normand Frechette @ Very help advise


Fly Fishing: Little Yellow Sallies (More To Learn)

As I enjoyed a few early evening hours on the McKenzie River last week, I noticed a few BWO’s, PMD’s, a few Caddis coming off as well as a larger, bright yellow fly that looked like a stonefly (not a mayfly). But would a stonefly be hatching in mid stream? Hmm? Well, let me express and share my ignorance once again.

I had believed all stonefly nymphs crawl out onto the shoreline rocks and vegetation to hatch. But, a little research reveals that not all stone flies follow that path. Some, like the Little Yellow Stoneflies in fact can sometimes emerge like other insects right out of the water and take flight, as I saw those bright, larger yellow flies doing. Actually, now that I think about it, I think I have seen the same thing with Little Black Winter Stone flies as well? Also, my first impulse would be to tie on a yellow Stimulator or similar dry pattern. But, another approach is sometimes advisable as written about at Fly Fishing Smoky Mountains:

Yellow Sally (Ran Dry Fly)

“As simple as it is in terms of matching either the nymph or the adult Yellow Sally,
many anglers still fish the hatch wrong. In fact, I think most of them do. When they
start seeing the adults flying, in the bushes or on the banks, they start fishing an
adult fly pattern. This shouldn’t be done until you actually spot trout eating the
adults. That means the egg laying adults. That is the only time an adult stonefly
gets on the water.”

“They hatch out of the water and they don’t go back on the water
until the females deposit their eggs or the males happen to die and fall on the water.
That is actually rare because they mate and die in the bushes and on the banks,
not over the water like mayflies in the air. So, while you fish an adult imitation, you
should be trying to imitate the egg laying females. The females may hatch and live
out of the water for a few days before they begin to deposit their eggs. So often,
anglers are casting a dry fly imitation of the adult when the trout are not looking for
them on the surface.

Of course, this is all contingent upon my observations of maybe a half dozen of these fluttering larger, yellow flies. They were not like any mayflies that I have ever seen that fly away in a fairly uniform manner…these creatures had the same gangly fluttering mannerisms as other adult stones I have observed over the years, but never as emerging out of the water before me. It is a pleasant part of fly fishing to solve these little questions and add them to your wisdom and to share them. So, more observations are needed to see if those were indeed Yellow Sallies or some other insect I had yet to observe. Part of the learning experience that keeps fly fishing enjoyable.

Oh, as I hiked out in a pleasant state of euphoria of once again being on the water and catching a few trout and feeling the rhythms of the rod, I looked up from the trail and…….eek!

Almost Skunked (SwittersB)

A moment of contemplation. A moment in which I asked myself, how exactly do skunks spray? How fast do skunks move? Do I run? Does the skunk run? I moved to the right and the skunk stayed squared and moved equal to my tentative moves. Yes, I was calm or stupid enough to snap a pic. But, can I just say as a slight waft of that familiar sent, one usually only smells along the highway, floated my way I was soooooo happy when the skunk turned and trotted away into the stream side vegetation……it was a whew moment…not a phew moment.


Fly Tying: Montana Stonefly Variety

I have before remarked that I find the Montana Stonefly one of the goofiest stonefly imitations…not the goofiest (that goes to one of those black chenille bodied with white rubber legs creations) perhaps but, still an odd ball creation that endures. And, as I previously remarked, the largest trout I have caught on the Metolius R. was a massive Bull Trout from the slot beneath Bridge 99 (note that fish had a trout protruding from its mouth, yet took a black and orange Montana Stonefly!).

So, mixed perceptions on this fly. I am sharing the classic look and another look provided by a different hook configuration. It has endured, so something must be working. There are a lot more color creations today than years ago. Even if you don’t go for the time consuming weaving process, a more slender body on a non-traditional hook would give the pattern a fresh look. Weighting considerations may be an issue, which would add thickness along the shank.

Crocheted Stoneflies


Fly Fishing: Stonefly Syndrome on the Deschutes River

The stone flies nymphs are readily available year around. Little Blacks, Browns, Skwala’s, Golden’s and the Giant Stone’s are scurrying about. Of course, come early Summer the focus is on the dry fly action as the Salmon Fly hatch and Golden Stones flutter forth.

Recently Tony Muncy, Eric McMillan and Greg Kohn drifted the Deschutes River for some early season trout fishing. They did well with a variety of Caddis Pupa patterns, Stonefly nymphs and egg patterns. They did a kick seine study and came up with some nice examples of a Golden Stone and Giant Stone nymph.Oh guys, one camera between you is not nearly enough.

Eric McMillan on the Deschutes R. (T. Muncy)

The guys put in at Beavertail and took a few days to explore down to Mack’s Canyon.

McMillan Heading Around the Bend (T. Muncy)

In the event that you follow a fish into deeper water, Eric employs a technique for removing water from your waders.

McMillan Draining the Waders (T. Muncy)

Deschutes R. Redside (Eric McMillan)

Freedom (T. Muncy)



Fly Tying: Low Riding Stonefly Dry (Jay Nicholas)

Nice looking Salmon Fly pattern (Stonefly Dry), low riding and tempting. Pattern is by Jay Nicholas...with some sort of  Salmon addiction and a lifetime of working to preserve Oregon fisheries. My goodness, it is late April. The Deschutes R. fever is right around the next calendar page. A heavy hackle and larger hook size away from one of my all time favorites from long ago…the Tied Down Caddis. It will come into its own again someday…not as a scud, but as a Caddis pupa.


Fly Tying: Long Dubbing Fibers for Legs

HotLegs on SexyLoops

Sexy Loops Hot Legs Tutorial

This tutorial show heavy dubbing, which is first trimmed for the abdomen, then a second stage of heavy dubbing that is trimmed top and bottom and maintained to show longer, protruding fibers on sides or ‘hotlegs’

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