The winter and early brown stone flies are a hatch that spurs fishing activity long before the more famous Hendrickson does. Both are active when winter turns to early spring and our streams are starting to be restocked by DEEP. They are active flies and these early stones can give you a top water, large fly action much sooner in the season. In fact, I favor these flies over the Hendrickson because there is a lot less pressure on the water when they are hatching.
Here is my favorite go-to pattern for them in sizes 16 to as large as 10 or 12. Although it is a wet fly pattern, I also fish them as nymphs and dub floatant on them and skitter them on the surface as a dry. However, I have found that swinging them like traditional wets the most effective.
Tie some up and give them a try. Let me know how you do.
Hook: Traditional wet or dry fly in sizes 16 to 12
Body: Touch dubbing of black SLF
Hackle: Black hen palmered through body
Wing: Turkey – you can use duck as well.
As always, please be a steward of the stream. Pick up after yourselves and other people’s mess. Thank adjacent landowners for their generosity in allowing fisherman access to their land. Teach someone else to fish. Show them the proper ethics of fishing. Finally, join your local conservation group or Trout Unlimited chapter and become part of the solution.