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Strugglin' Stonefly Nymph

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A Stonefly pattern to imitate the nymphs struggling to make their way out of the current and towards the bank. On my local central NY Lake Ontario tributary the stonefly nymph is a very important pattern. bead head patterns work great on just about any day from November through the spring. When the hatch is on arond Late February-March you can observe dozens of them wriggling very inconspicuously right below the surface. In certain runs and flat pools you may see large browns and 'bows taking them with exciting rises. The foam wingcase, lightly wired abdomen and rabbit fur legs let you fish this pattern without an indicator and know that your fly is staying right below the surface where these individual fish are feeding. The rabbit fur legs make smooth and constant motion in the water.


Hook: Your favorite nymph hook sz 10-14

Thread: Black 70 denier

Tails: Black strung rooster hackle quills

Body: Your favorite black dubbing

Rib: Fine gold wire

Thorax: Peacock herl

Legs: Black rabbit fibers from a zonker strip

Wingcase: Black foam

Antennae: Black rooster hackle quills


I start with a thread base and tie in the tails of stripped black strung rooster hackle quill. I strip the hackle off of the ugly feathers and keep the thinner top half which usually gives you a long enough piece to split. One section for the tails and one for the antennae. Tie the tails so they are pointed out and slightly down. Tie in the fine gold wire. Dub black beaver dubbing with a slight taper towards the thorax stopping about 2/3 of the way to the eye. Wrap your rib up about 5 evenly spaced turns. Secure the rib and tie in the antennae so they are splayed out but also on top of the hook. Wrap back to the end of the dubbing and tie in 2-3 peacock eye herls wrapping them up into a bulky thorax and tie off and trim. For the wingcase use your favorite foam sheet material and cut a strip about 3 times as wide as the hook wire and almost as long as the hook. Taper it to a short point on the end you will tie in and trim a slight taper towards the head. Tie on the foam with 3 tight wraps just below the abdomen/thorax junction. Tie in a tuft of black rabbit fur yanked from a zonker strip on top and across the abdomen and bring your thread up the the top of the thorax. Fold the foam over itself towards the eye and create a tight, not too fat hump and tightly secure right behind the hook eye. Leave enough foam for a small square head that will cover the hook eye and whip finish. I double whip finish many of my flies.






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