Fly Patterns - Skwala Stonefly Adult

                     Skwala Stonefly Adult



Skwala stoneflies begin to emerge soon after the first of the year—sometimes as early as January, depending on weather conditions. Locally, they can be found on the Lower Yuba River, above and below the Highway 20 bridge, where trout and steelhead feast on them. The nymphs have an olive brown to dark brown coloration with a lighter pale yellow underside. As is the case for all stoneflies, they require clean, swift moving water, and won’t generally be found in slow moving areas or in spring creeks. Water temperatures need to reach 45 to 47 degrees to commence emergence. The nymphs will travel along the bottom and ascend onto vegetation or rocks.


Because trout concentrate their attention on the shallow, faster-moving water, don’t immediately step into the water before beginning to fish—in other words, fish the edges. Mating will proceed along the banks and the females will hover along the water surface to deposit eggs. The male adults are unable to fly, as they do not have fully formed wings.


Nymphs are generally tied in sizes #10-12, and the adults are tied in sizes #8-12.  Yellow Stimulators will work if the wings are darkened with a black Sharpie pen, but I prefer this rather simple pattern that has been effective for me. It has its origin in a fly tied by one of our long-time members and angler extraordinaire, Jim Coleman. I have modified it somewhat, but the credit goes mostly to Jim on this one.

Tying Instructions

1. Smash the hook barb unless you are using a barbless hook. Apply a thin layer of Flexament on the hook shank and cover the shank with thread.


2. Just above the back of the barb tie on a small clump cleaned (don’t stack it) moose body hair. The tail should be short, as in the case of a stimulator.

3. At the same point, dub a small but prominent ball of black dubbing to imitate the egg sac.


4. At the same point, tie in a piece of black midge-size V-rib and pull it back out of the way.


5. Dub a medium sized body of pale yellowish dubbing. I like to mix in a little olive dubbing with the yellow before starting to apply the dubbing. The body should extend to near the front of the hook, about 1/3 shank length behind the eye. When dubbing is complete, use an olive Sharpie to carefully color the top of the body, which on the natural insect is olive in color.

6. Stretch the V-rib so that it is ultra-thin, and rib the body in evenly spaced turns; tie off the rib in front of the body


7. Tie in about 8 strands of black crystal flash at the front of the body for an underwing. Cut and clean a small bunch of moose body hair (don’t stack it) and tie it in at the same point. The wing should extend rearward to the end of the tail.

8. At the base of the wing, tie in a clump of cleaned calf body or a small bunch of synthetic white material. Cut the tied-in hair down to about 3/8”in height. This will be the post for the brown hackle. See tying tips below for hints on how to tie this in.

9. Cut a single strand of flex floss and double it over. Place it over the post and down onto the shank. Tie it down in front of the shank with 3 loose turns of thread, cut the loop, and pull one strand down on each side of the hook so that the legs form an “X” shape. Now wrap tightly and apply a tiny drop of superglue to the bottom of the post. This will hold everything together.

10. Tie in a dry fly quality saddle hackle at the base of the post and apply a bit of dubbing to cover up the tie-in area. Wind the hackle up and back down the post. Tie it off behind the eye of the hook, form a nice small thread head, and whip finish.



Tying Tips

1. In order to properly create the post and parachute hackle there must be adequate room left at the front of the shank. This means that the body must be ended at least 1/3 shank length behind the eye because the underwing, the wing itself, and the post must be tied in ahead of the body.

2. To tie in the post, point the tips of the material out over the eye and tie in the butts close against the base of the wing. Once the butts are secured, lift the material up and take a few winds around its base to “gather” the material. On the fourth wind, pull up and to the rear, catching the thread in the butts. This will hold the post vertical. Place a few insurance winds in front of the post.


Fish this bad boy close in to the bank, either upstream or down. You don’t need to get into the water—just cast close in and let it drift. I will sometimes raise and shake the tip of the rod to make the fly skitter a bit—a technique use to imitate the “motorboat caddis.” Go rip a few lips, and….




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