A hatch that might seem almost irrelevant to anglers in Southern Ontario, Early Black Stoneflies are an important hatch to be aware of in the spring. Ever been out on a cold opening day of the season and wonder why your "secret weapon" nymph from last fall is not doing the
trick? Well, these bugs might just be the culprits…

Late April might be nearing the end of the hatch (and the first time you see them in the year) but the trout have been seeing and eating them for some time.
Like all stoneflies, they will be in the greatest abundance in, and directly downstream of moving water. Considered to be a good "Indicator species", stoneflies survive only in the best only in environments that meet their strict criteria. From an anglers perspective, this means clean and fast-moving rivers and streams with very good oxygen content. Stonefly nymphs are probably the easiest to identify too. Lift a rock out of the water in a fast stretch and look at the bottom of it.
Chances are you’ll see the flat, robust-bodied stonefly~sometimes several of them.
While they are called "black", the ones i’ve observed are more like a very dark brown. The adults~black. This, along with having more luck with brown vs. black dubbing, is why I "blacken" my brown dubbing to match the naturals. I also choose to lean on the "realistic" side when tying them. I realize they are small and fished in faster water (two reasons to consider simplifying them) but in cold water I don’t want to give the trout that extra reason to doubt the offering. When tying it as a beadhead, I use black beads for the same reason.

Tying The Early Black Stonefly Pattern

Hook:Mustad 80050BR (Curved Nymph hook) Size#14
Thread:Black 8/0
Tail:Black goose biot
Rib:Black Larva Lace "Soft Midge Body Material"
Abdomen:Dyed-brown squirrel, blended with black rabbit
Thorax:Same as abdomen
Wing Case:Turkey tail, slips pre-treated with Dave’s Flexament.
Antennae:Black goose biot

Note:The antennae add a bit of realism so I include them. I don’t consider them integral to the pattern’s success though.

Make several wraps of lead roughly where the thorax will be. Use the thread to build a taper at both ends.

Tie-on 2 goose biots (one at a time) to form the tail, it should look something like this.

Tie-in the ribbing and dub the abdomen. Wind the rib forward and tie-off. Make a few wraps with the dubbing.

Trim turkey as shown to form the wing-pads (3 in total) and tie the first one in. Make a few wraps of dubbing.

Tie in the second one in the same manner, tie in two biots as shown to create the antennae. Make a few wraps of dubbing.

Tie in the third, and last wing pad and make one or two small wraps of dubbing. Tie-off, add a bit of head cement.

Using your bodkin or dubbing brush, pick out some of the fibers on the sides of the thorax. Trim any that are on the bottom.

Early Black Stonefly

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