Fly Patterns - Bill's 12-Step Stonefly

                 Bill's 12-Step Stonefly


I’ve always espoused simplicity in fly design, and the 12-step Stonefly is no exception. Don’t be intimidated by the fact that there are 12 steps needed to complete the fly. Each step is simple and easy enough for a beginner to manage. My main purposes in featuring this new design are: (1) to emphasize the importance of thinking about the order of applying materials; and (2) to demonstrate that a realistic-looking pattern can indeed catch fish if “action” materials are used in its construction. I’ve been testing this pattern on pocket water streams for some time now, in various colors and in various sizes. I like it for golden stoneflies, as well as dark olive, brown, and black stones. For this month’s fly we’ll tie it in brownish-olive, size 8.

Tying Instructions

1. Smash the hook barb unless you are using a barbless version of the hook. Apply 10 wraps of .020 lead wire to the hook. Flatten the wire with flat-nosed pliers; cover the lead with Flexament and thread.


2. Tie the eyes on ahead of the lead and about 1 eye-length behind the eye. It’s important to leave this small space ahead of the eyes.   


3. Return the thread to the rear of the hook and tie in the tails. They should be no longer than ¼”.


4. Cut a piece of Thin skin, leaving the backing on it for now. The piece should be ¼” in width, and about 1” long. Cut one end to a shallow “v” and pull the material from the backing. You will notice that one side is shinier than the other; tie the pointed end in just above the back of the barb, shiny side down (when it’s pulled over the top, the shiny side will be on top).


5. Tie in the ribbing material at the same point, and pull it backward out of the way.


6. Dub the abdomen—which will be the rear 2/3 of the hook. Use a stiff brush, wire brush, or similar tool to brush out the sides of the body, and pull the dubbing out to the sides with your fingers. Trim the abdomen to a “v” shape (this gives it a nice taper) back to the tail (careful not to cut the tails).


7. Rib the abdomen, weaving the wire into the dubbing; this gives the dubbing the look of “gills.”


8 At the front of the dubbed abdomen, tie in a hen feather dull side up, with the tips to the rear. Later on we’ll pull this forward. See the accompanying image for details.


9. At the center of the thorax area, tie in the rubber leg material so that you have a total of 4 legs in an “x” shape.


10. Dub the thorax, working the dubbing around and between the legs.






11. Pull the hen feather forward, while at the same time sweeping the barbules rearward. Tie off the feather behind the eyes.



12. Grab the Thin Skin and pull it forward over the entire body, stretching it a bit as you do so. Tie it off behind the eyes, and then again in front of the eyes. On the remaining tab, cut a small “v” into the material, pull the material rearward, and tie it off again behind the eyes. Whip finish at that point.


Tying Tips

1. Be sure to leave at least 1/3 of the front area of the hook for the thorax. This is true for all nymphs, and is especially essential for the proper construction of this stonefly pattern.

2. When cutting out your pieces of Thin Skin, give them a slight taper so that when the material is tied in at the tail area, the narrower end is at the back. This will give the shell back a tapered look, to match the taper of the abdomen.

3. Don’t flatten the lead until it is covered with thread and Flexament. This will keep the lead from breaking apart when you use the pliers to flatten it.


Bounce this beauty through pocket water and be prepared for aggressive strikes. Set the hook at the slightest hesitation of your leader. Go rip a few lips, and….




Copyright © 2007 - Spring Creek Flycraft and Guide Service - All Rights Reserved