Hatches Made Easy:

Little Brown Winter Stoneflies - Nymphs


Fishing imitations of the nymphs during and just prior to a hatch is the most
productive method to use for both the Taeniopterygidae and Nemouridae
families of Early Brown Stoneflies. As most of you know, at the time these
stoneflies are hatching there are a lot of other mayfly and caddisfly hatches
going on. During that time, most anglers will tend to fish the dry fly and I certainly
don't blame them for that. Most of them will probably use a mayfly imitation. The
only point I want to make regarding this, is that there are times and places
during the late winter and spring months that fishing an imitation of a stonefly
nymph may be your best bet. Certainly when you observe stoneflies hatching
and there are no other major mayflies or caddisflies hatches occurring, you may
find the stonefly nymph fly to be effective.
Prior to hatching, these nymphs stay hidden down between and under the rocks
and cobble on the bottom of the stream. They are not very available for the trout
to eat. By far the best time to imitate these nymphs is just prior to the time a
hatch begins.
Since there are several different species of these
stoneflies, this may be anytime from late winter to the end of spring.

Because there are so many species, there is no way to determine an exact
dates, so the best way to determine if a hatch is occurring is to observe the
stream side vegetation and rocks. If you see any adult stoneflies that are less
than five-eights of an inch long, they are probably Little Brown Stoneflies. If no
other major hatches of mayflies or caddisflies are occurring, you should fish an
imitation of the Little Brown Stonefly nymph.
You should present the nymph by casting up and across the stream and
bringing the fly back to the bank along the bottom. In many cases you should
position yourself well away from the edge of the water because trout will
sometimes intercept these nymphs in very shallow water right next to the banks.
It is not necessary to only allow the fly to dead drift. You can slowly hand retrieve
the fly on the bottom cross current if necessary to get it back to the bank.
It is best to do this early in the mornings or late in the afternoons. If you don't get
any results, most likely the hatch has already ended. These stoneflies can live
for several days. If you are lucky, you may find the hatch is underway and you
may just experience some fast action as a result of it.
If you carefully observe the banks of the stream early and late in the day, you
may find the stoneflies actually hatching. If the weather is cold, you may find the
adults crawling on the banks, in a fairly inactive state. On very cold days after a
hatch starts, you may find them in the road on the black top pavement.
In summary, if you start seeing small, little black, dark brownish red or brown
adult stoneflies in the late winter or early spring and no major mayfly or caddisfly
hatch is underway, try fishing a imitation of a stonefly nymph along the banks
early in the day or late in the afternoon.   

Coming Up Next:
Little Brown Winter Stoneflies - Adult Egg Layers

Copyright 2008 James Marsh
Flyfishingdvd's Imitating Aquatic
Insects: Stoneflies will teach you
what you need to know about
stoneflies and how to imitate
their behavior.