I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love fishing big meaty flies. It makes no difference whether you are talking top water or subsurface, there is something satisfying about tying a lunker of a fly on the end of your line instead of that size 32 midge. A stonefly nymph often fits the bill. We have a blast drifting them for the wild browns and bows of Pennsylvania, and of course the monster native brook trout of Maine.
As usual, there are endless patterns and variations out there that imitate the nymph stage of a stonefly. I have tied many of them, and always find myself coming back to the tying table to try something new. I’ve used all kinds of different materials, from the style of hook to the antennae, with varying degrees of success. I’m about to show you the pattern I have come up with that has given me the greatest success both here in Pennsylvania, as well as up in the wilderness of Maine. I was planning on keeping this pattern to myself, but have grown tired of my brother trying to steal them out of my box. Go tie your own Josh!
The biggest issues I have with tying stonefly nymphs is that they are time consuming and eat up a lot of material. Some patterns out there will bring you to tears if you snap them off on a snagged rock. This pattern isn’t the longest to tie, but it isn’t the fastest either. There isn’t anything super-secret about this pattern, and it certainly isn’t a ground breaking fly. I have just taken (possibly even stolen) aspects of some of your ties on Instagram and converted them into a stonefly pattern that has been very productive for me. I strongly believe in all of the materials that I’m about to share with you; and let me tell you, confidence is half the battle. In my opinion, these materials provide the most accurate color, size and profile of the golden stonefly nymph. As we all know, that is what you are looking for when tying any fly imitation. Take pictures of the real deal, and study how that insect acts in its natural habitat. Find the best materials to mimic all those things and you will have success.
*This dubbing is clutch. There are countless “stonefly” dubbings out there, but don’t waste your time. Dave Whitlock’s Golden Stone Nymph dub is the most accurate (in the northeast anyway).
*I like my stonefly nymphs nice and heavy to get down fast and bounce the bottom. The lead wraps also save lots of dubbing and time. I would make sure to tie a couple with much less weight for slow moving water.
*Step 12 is optional and totally unnecessary, but it makes those Instagram photos a little more exciting. I rarely do this step unless I plan on posting a pic on social media.