Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Some tying for the early stones

While winter seems to be making a comeback these days in New England, I remain convinced that spring will indeed come.  Some years it comes early and some years a little later. When March rolls around I begin to anticipate the first sign of rising trout usually to the early stone flies that hatch this time of year.  It really hasn't gotten going but they are starting to appear.  Here are a handful of flies I keep in my box this time of year.

Stonefly nymphs are active swimmers so a slow retrieve can be very effective.  I really like fishing a black version of the bead head pheasant tail.  The stoneflies in our area are usually around a size 16.  I use the mottled dark feather from an Indian hen neck for hackle since it resembles the mottled wings of these early stones.  A tungsten or brass gun metal bead version can be used for Euro or indicator nymphing.  This year I am experimenting without the bead both in black and brown (pheasant tail dyed dark brown) since the nymphs and undersides of some of the adults can be a deep mahogany brown.

Black pheasant tail soft hackle (#16)
black thread
black pheasant tail body
silver rib
black squirrel dubbing thorax
dark India hen neck

Dark brown pheasant tail soft hackle (#16)
brown thread
pheasant tail fibers dyed dark brown
copper wire rib
brown squirrel dubbing thorax
partridge hackle

For dry flies, I use a body either made of peacock herl reinforced with gold wire or brown pheasant tail reinforced with copper wire.  I usually tie these with a deer hair wing.


Peacock caddis (#16)
black thread
peacock herl body
gold wire rib
comparadun deer hair wing

Pheasant tail caddis (#16)
brown thread
dyed brown pheasant tail fibers
copper wire rib
comparadun deer hair wing

Here is a link to trout working an early stonefly hatch, notice how the fish slash at the adults/nymphs at the surface and how the adults skitter over the surface of the water.  Don't be afraid to fish your dries downstream and give them a little movement or skitter them over the surface.


10 comments:

  1. They are one of my favorite hatches.

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  2. I really like that first one......nice tie!

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    1. Thanks Kiwi - we will see how they work out

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  3. nice flies Mark. The second one down looks familiar , theres a fly called a Endrick spider that we use over here, its basically the same dressing but with a weighted underbody, something like copper wire or if you want to get down a bit lead wire.

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    1. Col - I have seen the Endrick spider and it was kind of where I was going with that one. The Endrick spiders I've seen don't have a thorax but I thought a little rough squirrel dubbing would give a little bulk to the fly when it is wet and the partridge is pulled back over the fly.

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  4. They are all good representations. I really like that first one.

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    1. Thanks Alan, the bead head version of that fly has worked very well over the last few seasons so I am curious how it will function without the bead. Removing the bead for smaller streams will likely be beneficial.

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  5. Nice ties, I have been using a caddis dry using black dubbing for this hatch and it seems to work well.

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    1. Bill - a black/dark brown caddis should certainly work well. I just like the luster and texture of peacock herl and pheasant tail.

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