Early Brown Stonefly

Early Brown Stonefly

The first time I happened on this hatch I tried to match it with some brown caddis patterns. It didn't work. A good number of trout came up to look at

  • By: A. K. Best
The first time I happened on this hatch I tried to match it with some brown caddis patterns. It didn't work. A good number of trout came up to look at my fly, but decided it wasn't a little brown stonefly and wouldn't eat it. It took a few years of hatch chasing to finally come up with a pattern that consistently worked. And, as you might guess, I haven't happened upon this hatch for about 10 years since. But, in one corner of my caddis fly box, there are about a dozen Early Brown Stone Flies just in case.The only part of the fly that might require some searching is the wing material, I discovered that light-dun-dyed mink-tail guard hairs make the absolute best wing material for this little wonder. If you can't find it in your local fly shop, get some pure white mink tails and dye them to a light medium dun. Recipe: Hook: Your favorite fine wire dryfly hook in sizes 18 through 14 Thread: Black 6/0 or 8/8 Tail: None Body: One dark brown stripped and dyed rooster neck hackle quill Wing: Sparse clump of stacked mink tail guard hairs Hackle: Dark medium dun dryfly hackle (neck or saddle) 1) Start the thread on the hook about two hook eye spaces behind the eye, wind toward the bend, clip off the tag and bring the thread back to the starting point. 2) Select one dark brown stripped and dyed rooster neck hackle quill, clip off the tip at a point where the remaining tip is equal in diameter to the thread underbody. 3) Place the clipped tip in line with the thread starting point and lash it to the top of the hook all the way to the beginning of the bend. 4) Wrap the quill forward in tightly nesting wraps and tie off just in front of the tip tie down. Clip off the butt and smooth with thread. 5) Clip off a clump of mink tail whose guard hairs will be long enough to extend beyond the hook bend by a distance of one hook gap space. 6) Pull out all the underfur (save it for dubbing use on some other pattern) and shorter guard hairs. Stack the remaining clump of guard hair in a small stacker. Note: The base of the guard hairs is smaller in diameter than the mid sections! The more you handle it, the more the individual hairs will migrate out of alignment. 7) Place a sparse clump on top of the quill body, saving about a hook gap of space for a hackle collar and head. 8) Tie the clump down with very firm wraps of thread to within one hook eye space behind the eye. Lift the butts, clip them off, and apply a coat of thin head lacquer. 9) Select a stiff fibered hackle, trim the butt to a length that equals the hackle collar space, and tie it to the top of the hook, saving just enough bare hook for the head. 10) Wind the hackle forward, tie off and clip the tip away. Whip finish and apply a tiny drop of head lacquer to the head.