Saturday, January 19, 2013

Johnny's simple stone tutorial

 There is no doubt in my mind that stone fly imitations are a nymphers deadliest flies on fertile freestone streams of the northeast, and many other streams through out the world.  Several of my favorite local streams have a very large amount of stone flies, with many different species of stones.  The biggest reason why stone fly imitations are so effective is because many stone fly species take years to mature from a nymph till they are ready to hatch into the wing adults. What does that mean to the fly fisherman?  It means the trout have stones to eat year round and they are very familiar with them.
   Stone fly imitations, while they will work all year round, they become even more effective in hatch time. At this time the mature nymphs become quit active and by doing so they become more available for the trout to gobble up. The vast majority of stone flies crawl to the edge of streams or in streams debri structures to climb out of the water to hatch. What does this mean to fly fisherman? This means trout will stage along banks and structures waiting for the nymphs come to them.  Next time your on the stream, pay close attention to sand bars and work those banks.
  It is now January, and the little black stones and the tiny black stones are making there presence known.  For the little aka early black stone I use my willow stone imitation but as of late I have been nymphing with an fly pattern I know call the my simple stone.  It is designed to imitate the tiny black stones found on many streams in the area.  Many winter fly fisherman fail to notice them and many mistakenly call a flying adult a midge. After all, they are tiny.
  I am a firm believer that simple is best when it comes to effective flies for trout, and the simple stone fits that bill.  All you need is thread, midge ice braid, and very small rubber, for the legs.  So lets twist  one up already!

Hook- Daiichi 1550 #16 
Thread- Montana fly co Midge body thread black
Abdomen- Tying thread
Thorax- Tying thread
Wing case- Midge ice braid, root beer
Legs- micro rubber, senyo's shaggy dub works great, black

Start the thread back two hook eye lengths from the eye and wind back to the barb and then back to where you started.

Take the midge ice braid and pull the braid apart, dont worry, the materials are bonded together and by pulling it apart you are simply flattening the braid out.  Once you have this done,  fold the braid around the thread and bring the thread around the shank placing the braid on top of the shank. Wrap back over braid tying it in to the middle of the shank.

Wrap the thread forward and back till you even out the thorax. Dont worry if its kinda bumpy at this point.

Take a single piece of rubber and fold it around the thread and bring the thread around placing the rubber on the far side of the shank. Do the same with another piece of rubber for the near side. Then hold the back legs back and wind over them tying them back to about where the braid is tied in. Bring the thread forward  tying the front legs forward to about a hook eyes length back from the eye, then wrap in front of the legs to make them flare out.  In the photo i pulled the front leg out of the way of camera.

Now bring the braid over the top, and give a good pull as you bring it over to flatten it out. Tie it down with two turns on and one in front. Snipe the excess and wipe finish.

Now trim the legs, I like to trim the back legs to just past the abdomen, and the front legs I trim just beyond the eye of the hook.  You dont want long legs as they will just get tangled in the bend of the hook.

You now have a simple little stone fly.  Fish them slow on the bottom and be sure to cast them near banks, and be ready for some hard strikes!  But pay close attention cause some of those strikes are super light.

This 18" brown took the simple stone, no doubt this brown grew as large as he has by eating many stone flies over the coarse of his life.



  1. I love the simplicity of this fly but yet it looks great!

    I'm gonna whip a few up.

    1. Thanks G, simple and very effective. Have fun twisting a few up.

  2. Nice love this tie.I was just on youtube looking for a simple stone. Cool website love how often you post even in the dead of winter.