Stonefly Nymph Buffet // How to and Why to Use Them Year Round

February 9, 2021

Trout are constantly hunting stonefly nymphs because they are big, protein packed, and available year-round in almost all western streams.  Stonefly nymphs spend 2-4 years as a nymph before migrating to the shoreline and hatching into an adult.

Anglers should be well outfitted with a variety of sizes and colors of stonefly nymphs throughout the fishing season because each subspecies is always present at various stages of it's lifecycle. At Red's we have a killer selection of high quality stonefly nymphs, no discount garbage here. 

Stonefly nymphs have a poorly developed gill system and must live in swift well oxygenated water, and thrive in areas with large substrate.  Boulders with swirls and white caps are a dead giveaway that stonefly nymphs are likely around!

  1. Look for sections of swift water, especially areas that have boulders.
  2. Get your fly on/near the bottom as stonefly nymphs CRAWL and don't swim.
  3. Use a minimum of 4X tippet, Fluorocarbon strongly encouraged.
  4. If you use a strike indicator, rather than Euro nymph, make sure it is buoyant.  A 3/4" Thingamabobber or Airlock works great.
  5. Try a variety of patterns to see what's hot.
  6. If there is an active hatch, look for swift sections near the shoreline to intercept nymphs migrating toward the shore.
  7. Use a fast action rod capable of casting weighted flies. 4 weight rods, 10-11' or 5/6 weight rods, 9-10' are excellent.  Don't overlook a 4 weight Euro Nymphing rod with an indicator rig on it.

Nymphing Tackle for Stonelies

A "nymphing" fly line will have a strong tip for mending, roll casting, and lifting heavy rigs out of the water.  It makes the casting easier and turns over all the "junk in the trunk" so to speak.  Fluorocarbon tippet is strong, sink fast, and as is highly abrasion resistant for dealing with snags and boulders.  

It's important to get your flies on the bottom, so don't hesitate to use some additional weight to help your fly get down deep.