With plans to fish the Crowsnest area of Alberta this past summer, a trip to Vic Bergman’s fly shop for some stonefly nymphs (The Crowsnest Angler) seemed to be in order. I was disappointed to learn that he wasn’t there, but pleased with both the shop, and some of the great stoneflies available! Close to the register on the counter was a display of flies with a sign that read something like “guide’s pick.” One of the flies was a big, buggy-ugly stonefly nymph that looked too good to pass up! I grabbed a few, and set out to see what they could do. Well….
When a new fly (on a new river) yields a beautiful fish, it tends to earn a special place in the hearts of fly fishers…at least it does with me. With the real estate in my fly boxes being what it is though, it would need to earn its keep. Having now given the fly a good workout in my home water too, I’m pleased to say that its a keeper! The stonefly pattern below is almost an exact replica, the rubber legs pictured are a little smaller than those on the original….but the wacky color is spot on!
Tying The Stonefly Nymph~Western Pattern
Hook:Tiemco TMC2302 Size#6
Thread:Dark Brown 6/0
Tail:Tan goose biot
Back/Wingcase:Thin Skin “Mottled Oak” color
Rib:Medium Gold wire
Abdomen:Hare’s Ear Plus Dubbin (Natural Hare’s Ear #1)
Legs: (biots, pointing back):Tan goose biot
Thorax:Hare’s Ear Plus Dubbin (Natural Hare’s Ear #1)
Rubber Legs:Sili Legs
Antennae:Tan goose biots
Make 3-4 wraps of lead, slide forward to the eye of the hook. Slip the bead onto the hook. Make about 8-10 wraps of lead BEHIND the eye and slide it up tight against the bead. Make several tight wraps of thread behind the lead to secure it.
Wind the thread back well onto the bend, make a small ball of thread at this point. Tie in two goose biots on either side of the ball of thread so that they flare away from the hook.
Cut a tapered pc. of the thin skin as shown. Note:there is a shiny side, and dull side to this material.
You want the dull side to face out on the finished fly, so tie it in to that it faces down. Tie in the wire ribbing material now.
Dub the abdomen a little over 1/2 the shank length as shown. With your right hand (right-handed instructions) pull the thin skin forward as shown, keeping it under some tension.
With your left hand, begin winding the gold wire ribbing forward in open wraps as shown. When you reach the lead wire, tie it off and trim the tag end.
Tie in the goose biot hind “legs” as shown~pointing back, flaring out. (one on each side) Pull the thin skin back and make several tight wraps of thread over the folded section.
Dub the thorax heavily to create an almost “ball” shape. Be careful not to dub too tightly~keep it shaggy/spiky looking.
Cut 2 pcs. of rubber leg material (Sili Legs used here) and tie onto opposite sides of the thorax as shown (Do not use too much thread tension though) Start with over-sized pieces, trim to length after.
The goose biot antennae~Align the tips of 2 goose biots and open them to a “scissor” shape as shown. Tie them onto the lead wraps in front of the bead, behind the eye of the hook. Add a drop of head cement to the thread wraps, trim the tag end of the biots.
Pull the Thin Skin forward under tension and tie off over the same thread wraps from the previous step. (where the biot antennae were tied in) This can be made easier by cutting a taper in the thin skin near the tie-off point.
Pull the tag end of the thin skin back and trim it off. Carefully lift the biot antennae and make several wraps of thread underneath them.
This will help to keep the biots clear of the eye of the hook. Tie off, add head cement to the thread to secure the final wraps.
Tying The Western Stonefly Nymph Pattern
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