About the Hatch: Early Season Stonefly Hatch

About the Hatch: Early Season Stonefly Hatch

Before diving into technique and presentation, it’s important to have a basic understanding of the stonefly life cycle. Stones have a lifecycle consisting of four stages: Egg, nymph, pupa, and adult. Depending on where you are located, each stage can look fairly different. For example, a river in the western US may have golden stones while a river in the east has more black stones. Regardless, when the winter thaw ends and temperatures rise into the high 40s and low 50s, stonefly nymphs slowly rise from the riverbed, marking the beginning of the epic hatch for both fishermen and trout.

As winter recedes and spring draws near, trout fisherman wait anxiously for the chance to target the first hatch. Among the first insect activity is the coveted stonefly hatch; this event stands out as one of the first opportunities of the new season. For those of you who have fished an early stone hatch, you’ll know it can lead to some of the best fishing of the year. That said, it’s no walk in the park, there’s more to the stonefly hatch than meets the eye. If you want to maximize your success while fishing the hatch, check out the tips below!

-->Get Early Season Stoneflies Here <--

FLY SELECTION Stones in the nymph stage sport a flattened body, 6 legs, and distinct markings. These nymphs are high in nutrients and are the perfect snack for a hungry trout. When it comes to choosing the right fly there are a ton of different options. Effective patterns include the snowy fly stonefly, black copper john, and the black jigg pheasant tail ranging from sizes 10-14. As the temperatures continue to rise, these nymphs also rise to the surface and transform into adults, making for an amazing dry fly experience. Typically, these adults have distinct features such as large wings and a long antennae, which makes them an easy target for a trout. Try matching the hatch with the fluttering little black stonefly, elk hair caddis, and clarks stone. Ultimately, choosing the right fly comes down to observation. If you can catch a flying stone, take note of its colors and choose a pattern in your box that most closely resembles the insect.

PRESENTATION & TECHNIQUE Nymphing and dry fly fishing are the bread and butter of fishing a stone hatch. The best nymph rig for the job is your typical indicator rig. Start by placing the indicator roughly 3 feet up from the fly and adjust accordingly based on the depth. The stonefly should bounce along or near the bottom. If the fly is too light, consider going with a tungsten-weighted fly. As for dry fly fishing, simply create a 10-foot tapered leader starting with 10lb and ending with a 5lb tippet. If the fish refuse the fly, lower the tippet to 3lb. Regardless of technique, you must create a natural drift by mending the fly line. Keep in mind that a natural drift is one that flows tension-free with the flow of the river.


Back to blog