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Fly Tying Stoneflies

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Some 3,500 species of Stoneflies exist worldwide, with new species continually being discovered. The nymphs are aquatic and live in the benthic zone of well-oxygenated lakes and streams.

All species of Stoneflies are intolerant of water pollution, and their presence in a stream or still water is usually an indicator of good or excellent water quality.

When a stonefly hatch occurs, fishing becomes fast and furious. If you have not replaced your shock tippets or leaders in a while, this may be the day you discover you wished you had. Fish become very competitive and strikes can be sudden and hard.

Many patterns for stonefly nymphs tend to be magnificently realistic. It has been my experience that the exact look alikes do not, in fact, fish any better than impressionistic patterns such as this Mercer Blackstone pattern below.


The magnificently realistic patterns DO tend to catch more fishermen!

Many of these artifical patterns tend to weighted and stoneflies crawl out rather than pop to the surface. The weight tend to make the flies easy to snag. One could rely on a heavy wire hook and wire ribbing for added weight. Using nymph forms by Economac Specialty Products, one may tie the weight on so that it fishes hook side up, which can be advantagous.


Stone fly Dry Patterns

Stonefly dry fishing can been terrific if you happen on the right stream during a hatch. The exact pattern does not matter it just has to be big. I tend to fish light gear so extended body flies are a conscious choice. When the group ran through and exhausted all our stonefly dry we switched to large grasshoppers and muddler patterns.

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Pattern: Kaufmann StoneFly Nymph

Kaufmann StoneFly Nymph
  • Hook: 5263, sizes 2-6; (weighted - optional)
  • Thread: Black, 6/0 or 8/0
  • Tail: Black turkey biot (see text below)
  • ABDOMEN: Make a blend of angora goat in various colors to look iridescent; use black purple, claret, red, amber, brown, blue, and orange. Mix 2:1 with black Haretron
  • WINGCASES: Three sections of turkey quill. Coat with Flexament and clip to shape before tying
  • LEGS: Round black rubber
  • THORAX: Same as abdomen
  • HEAD: Same as abdomen
  • Variations:Variations -The rubber legs are optional. Vary colors to match the available insects. Most of the big salmonfly nymphs are black, with some chocolate brown ones. The slightly smaller golden stoneflies are more of a mottled tan; use size 8-12 hooks for them.

Biots are the short, stiff parts of the leading edge of the large wing feathers from goose, turkey and duck quills. They are easy to color with permanent-ink pens. These are often used for tailing stonefly nymph patterns.

Biots from Leading Edge of Feather

Please contact Laura Kennerly 336-707-7665 lkennerly for more details.  

Tailing Fly