Written by: Mike Canady of Ellensburg Angler
Meet the Pat’s Stonefly (a.k.a. Pat’s Rubberlegs, Pat’s Stone, or just Pat’s). But it’s not just a Pat’s Stonefly; it’s my go-to confidence fly. It’s a key factor in any success I have when fishing, even when I am not catching fish. I usually have a this fly tied on at the beginning of the day.
Fishing has so many variables: water temperature, water color, weather, wind, hatches, and lots of others. We spend countless hours trying to put the puzzle pieces together and get a clear picture of what is going on under the water. As with any puzzle, the first couple pieces of the puzzle are always the toughest.
This is where the Pat’s Stonefly comes into play. It’s easier to start by eliminating pieces that aren’t working and narrow down the possibilities.
To do this, you need to have confidence in the fly you are fishing. By using the fly that you are most comfortable with, you will always have that feeling in the back of your head that you have caught fish on that fly before and you will definitely fish more.
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t always start with a Pat’s Stonefly but it really does work on our home water, the Yakima River, as well as on lots of other rivers throughout the country. If I head to a new river and I am not exactly sure what to fish, you will usually find a Pat’s stonefly tied on my nymphing rod. Obviously, if I see a hatch coming off or have some great intel from a local fly shop on what the hot fly is, I will always take their recommendation.
But here is something else to think about: have you ever had one of those special days when your confidence fly isjust catching fish left and right? This is going to sound crazy, but that is the day you should take off that confidence fly and switch up the pattern and try something new, to see if you can find a different fly that will work. By trying a new pattern during great fishing, you might just find a new go-to fly, plus when the fishing is great that is the time to start experimenting with new patterns to see what will really just not work.
I am guessing that if you have been fishing for any length of time you probably have a few boxes of flies that you have accumulated over the years, and I bet you that if you dig around those boxes you will find that you have quite a few flies that you just don’t use anymore. Some are probably older patterns that used to really work great, but for some reason there has been some new fancier patterns that have come out that you like better. Trust me: those new flies are great, but sometimes those old-school flies work just as well.
What is your Pat’s Stonefly?
Mike Canady is the owner of Ellensburg Angler, the 2016 Orvis-Endorsed Fly Fishing Outfitter of the Year.