Early Brown Stone

Early Brown Stone

  • By: A. K. Best
brownstone.jpg

This time of year, we often have remnant snow along the streambank, which makes you wonder if it’s really worth going trout fishing on what will probably be a rather dreary spring day. But the shack-nasties have been an affliction for days and you feel you must stand in frigid water and deal with ice in your guides…or spend the afternoon in a bar. I’ve done both. And dealing with ice in your guides is easier than feeling the residual pain after a few hours in your favorite pub.

So go fishing, and there’s good reason to do so—in April and May the early brown stones usually provide the first dry-fly fishing of the season and casting a dry fly is a pure joy after so many months of throwing lead and heavy flies.
The early brown stones are small, ranging from size 16 to 20. They have a low profile on the water, which trout like; seeing your Early Brown Stone, however, can be a challenge. Liberally apply a good waterproofing agent before your first cast…and have fun!

? Place the hook in the vise and attach the thread two hook-eye spaces behind the eye and wind back to the end of the shank and forward again, establishing a thread base on the hook shank.

? Place the tip of the quill strip on top of the first thread wraps, as shown here, with the curved side up; lash it down to the end of the shank.

? Bring the thread forward to the tie-in point and carefully wind the quill strip forward in tightly nesting turns. Tie off the quill strip and clip the excess. Note: This spacing behind the hook-eye prevents the wing from slanting up and away from the body.

? Select a straight-fibered quill segment to be slightly smaller in width than the hook gap. Blast the section with your Krylon Fixatif helper, clip the segment and trim the tip to a blunt arrow shape. Measure it for length and clip off the butt. The finished wing length should be one hook gap space longer than the hook. Place the butt of the quill segment exactly on top of the front of the quill-strip body. Lean it slightly to your side of the hook and lash it down.

? Select a medium or dark brown or dun stiff dry-fly hackle, trim away hackle fibers from each side of the quill strip and tie it on immediately in front of the thread wraps over the wing quill segment. Wind forward in tightly nesting turns within one hook-eye space of the eye, tie down, clip off the excess, whip-finish and apply a tiny drop of head lacquer to the thread wraps only.