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A few more Stoneflies

Posted by Sandy 
A few more Stoneflies
April 07, 2015 01:26AM
The Yellow Swelly?

A 1" inch long (closed-cell) foam bodied Golden Stonefly adult.

Closed cell foam body blank is pock-marked with magic markers and then color-sealed with a thin coat of water based fabric cement (Tear Mender etc), and then dimpled while skewered on a beading needle. Duck flank wing added while the body is still stuck horizontally on the beading needle. Slide the body off the needle.

Wrap a hopper hook with thread and soak the thread wraps with CA glue. Wait a few seconds for the CA glue to harden.

Skewer the hook into or onto the body by slipping the point of the hook under the three thread dimples closest to the front end of the body. The body is only loosely attached to the hook at this point.

Slip some hackle-like fuzz and flashy leg-like stuff between the shank of the hook and the foam body. Now add a bit of ZapAGap (thick CA glue) to the shank to fix the body in place, so it is now fixed rigidly to the hook.

You can't sink it. Fish bite it. You can trail a surprisingly heavy nymph off the bend of the Yellow Swelly's hook. There is a hook under this thing but the photo angle obscures it. I'll remake the photo eventually.

Re: A few more Stoneflies
April 07, 2015 01:26AM
Bunyan Bugger

Sort of a cartoon imitation in a way. But no less realistic than more traditional imitations. And these are impossible to sink. Even if you try you can't sink them. If you mend the line forcefully in a fast current the Bunyan Bugger will disappear for a moment or two. And then back up it pops. The most effective way to fish at salmon fly time is with one of these (or some other foam salmon fly adult) trailing a big black nymph imitation. Folklore says to concentrate on river edge clumps of willow bushes because that's where the nymphs like best to crawl out and molt. Those willow banks are also the best places to fish nymphs in the days leading up to the big hatch.

Some of the best and least crowded fly fishing of the year comes at salmon fly time on the Yellowstone and the Gallatin in Montana when those rivers are too high and muddy to fish. So everybody runs further and further up the Madison instead. Except they're all completely wrong. Muddy water at salmon fly time is absolutely spectacular fishing. You just have to ignore 85% of the bank habitat and work hard at drifting right up to the edges of the willow clumps. That's where they are. And they will take a fly. Even when the river is flooding. High muddy almost opaque flood waters at salmon fly time are the consistently best times and places to catch really big fish--not a good time that tends to get overlooked--brown water rather than clear, at salmon fly time, is the very best opportunity of the year to catch a really big fish.

Re: A few more Stoneflies
April 07, 2015 01:27AM
One last followup to the thread. I think this wraps it up. At least until Yellow Sally time.

Traditional adult salmon fly / stonefly imitations like Pat Barne's Sofa Pillow and the Bird's Stonefly that have a bushy hair wing that slopes upward away from the shank do tend to land upright, oriented on the water with the hook pointing down. As intended. Well those traditional patterns do often land on their side but never upside down. The high and bushy hair wing prevents that orientation.

More realistic flat-and-low-to-the-water imitations do suffer from upside down disease. Lots of my early Stonefly imitations ended up upside down. I've never noticed that it mattered. At stonefly time the fish seem willing to bite anything long and leggy on the water's surface. Same for grasshoppers.

But I still want my stonelfies to land upright. To do that with this pattern you have to make it so the body and wing slope upward, as below. And also to sew the rubberlegs into the foam so they slope upward too. If you do tie it that way wind resistance during the cast almost always flips the fly over so it lands upright.

It took me a while to work that out. I also notice I got careless and didn't tie the first bug in thread that way. Anyway it is possible to tie fat foam low-to-the-water Stonefly adults that land properly.

If you slide the foam body blank off a needle, complete with upswept wing, and then bend it slightly right before applying a few tiny drops of CA glue at strategic places on the top side wing, the combination of the glue the foam and the stem of the duck flank wing feather hold that slightly upward curve to the body forever. Sewing in rubberlegs so they slant not only out but up finishes the job. That fly will almost always land upright. The weight of the bottom-mounted hook (not in the center of the fly but on bottom) helps too.

Fat foam stonefly adults that never actually sink but half-submerged, half in and half out of the water with a low profile to work better. Do attract more strikes. I'm convinced of that.
Re: A few more Stoneflies
April 07, 2015 01:27AM
I thought I was done with this thread but my last wrapup post reminded me of something. I like to make flat, low-to-the-water grasshoppers and stonefly adults that don't land upside down. I make them that way as best I can. But it's not clear it really matters, especially with grasshoppers.

I floated the Yellowstone ten miles or so downstream from Livingston Montana in a wind storm a few years ago. The wind was so bad it went beyond annoying. It was flat out dangerous. If you get a high-sided drift boat sideways to a strong downstream wind (it usually blows upstream but not always) the wind has a tendency to lift up the upstream side of the boat, which digs the downstream chine deeper into the water. Sideways to a downstream wind like that, with the downstream chine digging down you'll flip right over if you smack sideways into a mid-river rock. I've done it and it isn't much fun.

And if you do get sideways to the wind it takes a lot of muscle to spin the boat half-way around, so the rear end of the boat punches straight into the gale force wind again. More muscle than some people have.

Anyway. On that late summer day I've never seen so many huge locust like hoppers. It was hopper time in late summer and the wind was blowing them out of the grassy fields and depositing them on the water in biblical numbers. The fish were going nuts, dimpling every where you looked. And I had to row, just to stay alive. We tried stopping and fishing but the wind was so bad it wasn't easy to cast. Trolling hoppers was killing the fish anyway. So we just went with the flow, drifting in the middle of the river where we were least likely to bang any hidden sleeper rocks.

And now the punchline. Every one of those hoppers landed on the water and kicked and struggled like crazy, in an upright orientation, like thousands of frantic panic-stricken miniature little latte blenders in the water. And then they gave up and died. And the minute they died they all turned upside down, dead drifting downstream with their yellow bellies pointing straight up.

The fish ate them both ways: dead upside down and dead drifting and alive and kicking and right-side up. It didn't seem to matter.
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