One of the few real hatches many anglers see in late winter/early spring are the early black stoneflies. Because they can often be seen walking on the snow, these members of the of the family Capniidae are known as “snowflies” in some areas. However, timing these hatches can be an iffy proposition, so you’ll have much better luck fishing a nymph pattern, such as the one shown here. With its slim profile and wiggly antennae and legs, this fly offers plenty of fish-attracting action as it bounces in the current.
In this easy-to-follow video, Tim Flagler of Tightline Productions walks you through the steps to create a simple, effective Little Black Stonefly Nymph. It’s really a pattern than even beginning tiers can quickly master, requiring few of the trademark Flagler tricks we’ve become accustomed to. As Tim notes at the end of the video, it’s a great fly to use as a dropper below a heavy Prince Nymph or Beadhead Pheasant tail Nymph. So if you start to feel like the cabin fever is becoming unbearable and you need to get on the water, tie up a few of these little guys and see how your local trout spend their winter.
Little Black Stonefly Nymph
Hook: 3X-long nymph hook (here a Dai-Riki #285), size 14-20.
Thread: Black, 8/0 or 70 denier.
Antennae/Legs: Black Centipede Legs, mini.
Abdomen: Black Stretch Tubing, micro.
Wingcase: 6-8 natural pheasant-tail fibers.
Thorax: Dark hare’s mask.
Adhesive: Head cement.
Note: Pick out the dubbing of the thorax with some Velcro.