Fly Patterns - Bill's Skwala

                            Bill's Skwala



This fly is based on a pattern tied by my friend Ralph Wood, with some modifications. Skwala stoneflies are found in many northern California rivers, but seem to often go unnoticed. Not so on the Lower Yuba River, since it is a prominent hatch that normally begins in January, continuing into February and sometimes longer. It’s a great time to catch those “rocket” Yuba fish on top. I’ve seen only a few good Skwala imitations on the market. The “good” ones have two essential qualities, in my mind: First, they are tied sparsely; And second, they incorporate the right colors. It is important to imitate the color of the underside of the abdomen of the Skwala adult—a yellowish olive color—and the dark olive color of the fly’s back. Only the females fly, so it is mostly them that you’ll see struggling in the surface film out where the fish live. 


Tying Instructions  (For best viewing: (1) Maximize your Browser Window. (2) Type "Ctrl + or -" to enlarge or contract the webpage display. (3) Use the Horizontal and Vertical Scroll Bars to scroll right and up/down to display larger photos in your browser)

  1. Debarb the hook, place it in your vise, and cover the shank with thread. Be sure to leave plenty of room behind the hook eye.
  1. Move the thread to the rear of the hook, just above the back of the barb. Cut a strip of black foam 1/8” in width. Heat one end of it so it “rounds” itself. Tie the foam in with the rounded end to the rear. It should stick out about 1/8” to the rear.

  1. Tie in a properly sized black hackle at the same point.



  1. Dub the thorax, but don’t use too much material. Sparse is best on this pattern.



  1. Palmer the hackle up through the abdomen, using about 5 turns. Tie it off at the front of the abdomen.



  1. Clip the hackle on the bottom and on the top, so that the remaining fibers stick out to the sides.



  1. Cut a piece of the micro-web material that is about ¼” wide and 1” long. Round the corners of one end, and tie the material in at the front of the abdomen, with the rounded corners to the rear. The rear of the wing should be no longer than the end of the hook



  1. Cut a small bunch of dark olive deer hair and clean out the under-fur. Stack it, and measure it to the same length as the under-wing. Tie it in at the same point and add a drop of super-glue.



  1. Dub a sparse thorax, and then tie in the legs in the middle of the thorax. Add a bit more dubbing between the legs.

  1. Tie in a properly sized hackle and take 3 or 4 turns. Whip finish the fly. Trim the hackle top and bottom and apply a drop of superglue at the head.

Tying Tips

  1. Be sure to leave plenty of room behind the hook eye. From the instructions above, you can see that there are a number of steps that require work in that space between the thorax and the hook eye.
  2. If you have a wing burning tool that is shaped like a stonefly wing, use it to burn the micro-web wings. They come out perfect every time.


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