Salmon Fly Hatch

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Stonefly Nymphs
Spring Hatch Report
Equalizer Kit
Salmonfly Rope
Big Dry Fly Leaders
Spey Clave Report

Stonefly Nymphs
Bead Head Black FFS Stone Nymph, Brown King Stone Nymph, Golden
Bead Head Brown FFS Stone Nymph, Golden Montana Stone
Bead Head Golden Golden Stone, Little Ugly Bug
Bitch Creek King Stone Nymph, Brown

Stoneflies are a small, but diverse family of insects that are adapted to well oxygenated streams and rivers. Stonefly nymphs have fixed gills that can only extract oxygen in moving water.  If trapped in still water they die quickly.  Most stoneflies crawl out of the water to hatch.  The normal procedure is for nymphs to   
migrate to shore to hatch.  This migration activity is attractive to trout, grayling and whitefish.  Some smaller species do hatch mid river at the waters surface much like mayflies do. Nymphs of several giant stone flies live in our rivers for up to three years before they hatch into winged adults. They are available to trout in several sizes, nearly year round. As the nymphs grow they must take ever larger territory.  The redistribution of territory usually happens enmass with many insects changing territory at the same time.  This is called a behavioral drift.  The largest behavioral drift cycles of these stone fly nymphs occur mid-September through May. These mass movements of  insects occur during the twilight of early morning and late evening.  During these periods nymphs move down stream.  Many are exposed to the currents and swept along out of control.  Trout key on these vulnerable morsels.  You should carry patterns in several different weights to cover different water depths and speeds. The flies listed below will cover all of the subsurface "giant stone fly" nymph activity.  There are patterns such as the Little Golden Stone which cover many smaller species as well.

Several weeks before the hatch, nymphs of most species of stone flies, including the giant ones such as salmon flies and golden stones will start to migrate to staging areas along the banks. No other occurrence in our rivers produces a feeding frenzy like a migration of big stone fly nymphs. Even the largest trout find it hard to refuse a big stone fly nymph fished deep along the bottom. The peak of this activity is the last two weeks before the hatch 

If you want to know more about how to be successful with stone fly nymphs, read "Guide to Aquatic Trout Foods" by Dave Whitlock.  (Click here to BUY)

starts and the first week after the hatch begins.


Bead Head Stone Nymph, Black
Salmon Flies live for three years as nymphs. Immature salmon fly nymphs are very dark brown or black color. These nymphs live in the substrate and are only available to trout during catastrophic drift caused by high water flows eroding the river bed or by behavioral drift cased by nymphs dispersing their populations. Fortunately for us both situations happen fairly often.
Item Description Size Price To Top
9061-04 Bead Head Stone Nymph, Black 4 3 for $5.85 SALE ENDED
9061-06 Bead Head Stone Nymph, Black 6 3 for $5.85 SALE ENDED
9061-08 Bead Head Stone Nymph, Black 8 3 for $5.85 SALE ENDED
9061-10 Bead Head Stone Nymph, Black 10 3 for $5.85 SALE ENDED

Bead Head Stone Nymph, Brown
As salmon fly nymphs reach maturity the orange adult insect starts to show through the dark nymphal exoskeleton. This turns the nymphs brown in color. The nymphs that migrate to the edges of the river to hatch are brown color. During this migtation the nymphs are often exposed to feeding trout, which gorge themselves. That is why during the early stages of the hatch, few trout actively feed on the surface.
Item Description Size Price To Top
9062-04 Bead Head Stone Nymph, Brown 4 3 for $5.85 SALE ENDED
9062-06 Bead Head Stone Nymph, Brown 6 3 for $5.85 SALE ENDED
9062-08 Bead Head Stone Nymph, Brown 8 3 for $5.85 SALE ENDED
9062-04 Bead Head Stone Nymph, Brown 10 3 for $5.85 SALE ENDED

Bead Head Stone Nymph, Golden
Golden stone nymphs don't go through as drastic of color changes as do salmon flies. They do however turn more golden in color and also may exhibit a slight orange color. They are also exposed to feeding trout as they migrate toward the edges of the river.
Item Description Size Price To Top
9063-06 Bead Head Stone Nymph, Golden 6 3 for $5.85 SALE ENDED
9063-08 Bead Head Stone Nymph, Golden 8 3 for $5.85 SALE ENDED
9063-10 Bead Head Stone Nymph, Golden 10 3 for $5.85 SALE ENDED
9063-12 Bead Head Stone Nymph, Golden 12 3 for $5.85 SALE ENDED

Bitch Creek
This woven chenille body stone fly nymph has been a favorite in the Rookie Mountain States since the early '60s.  It is also a popular steelhead fly on the West Coast, particularly in Oregon.  
Heavy weighted.
Item Description Size Price To Top
9067-04 Bitch Creek 4 3 for $5.25 SALE ENDED
9067-06 Bitch Creek 6 3 for $5.25 SALE ENDED

FFS Stone Fly Nymph, Dark Brown
After reading "Nymph Fishing for Larger Trout" by Charlie Brooks we decided to try some heavy weighted Stone Fly Nymphs tied in-the-round. This method makes the nymph look the same whether up side down or right side up. This fly has been a success since 1975.  Heavy weighted.
Item Description Size Price To Top
11000-02 FFS Stone Fly Nymph, Dark Brown 2 3 for $5.25 SALE ENDED
11000-04 FFS Stone Fly Nymph, Dark Brown 4 3 for $5.25 SALE ENDED
11000-06 FFS Stone Fly Nymph, Dark Brown 6 3 for $5.25 SALE ENDED
11000-08 FFS Stone Fly Nymph, Dark Brown 8 3 for $5.25 SALE ENDED
11000-10 FFS Stone Fly Nymph, Dark Brown 10 3 for $5.25 SALE ENDED

FFS Stone Fly Nymph, Golden
Like all other insects stoneflies must shed their exoskeletons in order to grow. Some species of stoneflies turn from dappled brown shades to gold color for a period after this process.  This brightly colored nymph pattern is very effective during high water periods when newly transformed nymphs are being washed from the gravel.  Heavy weighted.
Item Description Size Price To Top
11500-06 FFS Stone Fly Nymph, Golden 6 3 for $5.25 SALE ENDED
11500-08 FFS Stone Fly Nymph, Golden 8 3 for $5.25 SALE ENDED
11500-10 FFS Stone Fly Nymph, Golden 10 3 for $5.25 SALE ENDED

Golden Stone, Little
There are many species of small golden brown stonefly nymphs in most watersheds.  The Little Golden Stone Nymph is a fly that is productive in a wide range of stream types from crystal clear spring creeks to glacial fed run-off rivers.  
Lightly weighted.
Item Description Size Price To Top
11950-10 Golden Stone, Little 10 3 for $5.25 SALE ENDED
11950-12 Golden Stone, Little 12 3 for $5.25 SALE ENDED
11950-14 Golden Stone, Little 14 3 for $5.25 SALE ENDED

King Stone Nymph, Brown
Matt King designed this fly using Thin Skin for the back and wing cases. It is very realistic to both anglers and trout. Medium weighted.
Item Description Size Price To Top
01126-06 King Stone Nymph, Brown 6 3 for $5.95 SALE ENDED

King Stone Nymph, Golden
Matt King designed this fly using Thin Skin for the back and wing cases. It is very realistic to both anglers and trout. Medium weighted.
Item Description Size Price To Top
01127-08 King Stone Nymph, Golden 8 3 for $5.95 SALE ENDED

Montana Stone
This may be one of the first really popular stonefly nymph patterns.  It can be as productive now as ever.  Medium weighted.
Item Description Size Price To Top
12230-04 Montana Stone 4 3 for $5.25 SALE ENDED
12230-06 Montana Stone 6 3 for $5.25 SALE ENDED

Ugly Bug
This is a Brad Jackson pattern made from lead wire, black chenille and rubber legs.  This the most heavily weighted stonefly nymph we sell.
Item Description Size Price To Top
12380-04 Ugly Bug 4 3 for $5.25 SALE ENDED
12380-06 Ugly Bug 6 3 for $5.25 SALE ENDED

Spring Hatch Report
Text by: Mark Bachmann, Photos by: Josh Linn
Josh Linn with redside trout.

Near record snow pack, with a near record breaking heat wave followed by a cold front. This spring has brought chaotic weather and water conditions.  In spite of the unsettled weather, the spring hatches are coming off as they have for millions of their own discretion.  Stone flies and mayflies are the main fair on most rivers including the lower Deschutes, which is a great spring fishery.  The big  golden stones and salmonflies get the most attention and anglers often over-look the smaller olive stones and hatches of mahogany duns and pale morning duns.  It's

 understandable. You can fish the river any way you want to.  Fishing trout during the salmon fly hatch has got to be one of the most visually exciting piscatorial pursuits.  The flies are huge. You can see them.  The trout come to the surface with real aggression.  The take of your fly often throws water in the air.  Salmonflies are the biggest insects that our trout feed on.  It takes force from most fish to bring them down!  Salmon flies  hatch enmass.  The streamside vegetation gets covered with resting , crawling,

Hatching stonefly.

mating, giant, harmless insects.  All of the spring hatches of stoneflies crawl out of the water onto a solid surface and then shed their nymphal skin while at the same time becoming air-breathing. This huge population of insects is condensed at the waters edge in a vertical layer, from the grass to the tree tops. In some ways a day on the Deschutes River is like a journey in a time-machine in which you are transported to the "coal age" 200-million years ago.  There were stone flies then like the ones that Redside trout find so tasty now.  According to scientists, there were salmonflies long before there were trout to eat them.  It can be somewhat humbling to realize that you may be participating in the 200-millionth annual salmonfly hatch. There may have been more than 199.95-million hatches that happened before man took notice of them.  Fishing the salmonfly hatch is eye-opening when you consider

 the scope of it. Yet, you and the trout and the salmonflies are caught up in the wonder of it all, the continuum.  During the salmon fly hatch you will experience a combination of bird sounds unavailable at any other time.  This is because our avian friends also cherish the wealth of protein made available by this bounty that emerges from the river.  It is nesting and feeding time.  It is spring.  The border of the river is covered with lush vegetation. The air cycles from rain and wind, interspersed with moments of intense heat and humidity as the sun breaks through holes in the

Golden stone
Marcy Stone with a trout that ate a Norm Wood special.

 clouds.  The air itself is charged with the scent of billions of large insect bodies breathing.  The salmonfly hatch on this river has it's own distinctive odor. It is most apparent in the late morning as the sun climbs over the canyon walls, but before morning breezes.  At this time air is soft and heavy, yet invigorating.  As the sunlight reaches the canyon floor and the air temperature rises, the big stoneflies; salmonflies and golden stones begin their activity of mating and laying eggs.  Some land on the water.  Others simply fall on the water.  The trout know this cycle.  They too have been involved for millions of years.  It is breakfast time.  You see the first splashy rise of the day and begin your stalk; watching and waiting and getting yourself into the perfect position to make your first cast.  The cast is made and suddenly you are in a place where time does not exist at all.


Bullet Head Salmon Fly
Around 1990 Dick Bushnell showed us the current version of the Bullet Head Salmon Fly.  He and his buddies had been playing around with, and improving our Bullet Head Salmon fly. Dick leased the cabin, directly below the Reregulating dam on the Deschutes River; a place loaded with very large Redsides. The pool in front of the cabin probably provides the best Salmon Fly hatch fishing in the world.  That gave Dick lots of time to study how fish reacted to a variety of Salmon

Fly patterns.  Their fly sported black rubber legs and strands of orange Krystal Flash in the wing.  We copied the improvements and the fly has remained about the same ever since.  It is still very productive.

Item Description Size Price To Top
6055-04 Bullet Head Salmon Fly 4 3 for $5.85 SALE ENDED
6055-06 Bullet Head Salmon Fly 6 3 for $5.85 SALE ENDED

Bullet Head Golden Stone, Female
This is the most popular Golden Stone pattern that we have sold over the last 10 years.
Item Description Size Price To Top
6050-4 Bullet Head Golden Stone, Female 4 3 for $5.85 SALE ENDED
6050-6 Bullet Head Golden Stone, Male 6 3 for $5.85 SALE ENDED

Robotic Salmon Fly
This low floating pattern is made entirely of synthetic materials.  It may be fished dry or wet with a split shot.
Item Description Size Price To Top
6120-04 Robotic Salmon Fly 4 3 for $5.85 SALE ENDED

Yarn Body Stonefly, Orange
The Salmon Fly hatch can be more complex that one might expect.  It pays to have a variety of fly sizes, colors, weights and silhouettes.  If for no other reason than to have something different than the last guy who fished your piece of water.  Every time a trout gets hooked it becomes more selective.
Item Description Size Price To Top
6200-08 Yarn Body Stonefly, Orange 8 3 for $5.25 SALE ENDED

Improved Sofa Pillow
This old fly is still overall the most popular pattern for the Salmon Fly hatch in our area. It floats well and is very durable.  You should carry several sizes.  When fish get picky, often a size change can turn the trick.
Item Description Size Price To Top
6075-04 Improved Sofa Pillow 4 3 for $5.85 SALE ENDED
6075-06 Improved Sofa Pillow 6 3 for $5.85 SALE ENDED
6075-08 Improved Sofa Pillow 8 3 for $5.85 SALE ENDED

Norm Wood Special, Golden Stone
Norm Wood was a very popular fishing guide on the Deschutes River for 30 years. His Golden Stonefly pattern is tied with a wing & tail made from tan dyed calf tail hair.  Calf tail traps air between the hairs fibers and floats very well.  Some anglers believe that these flies will often out produce patterns tied with the more conventional elk hair wings and tails.
Item Description Size Price To Top
6081-06 Norm Wood Special, Golden Stone 6 3 for $5.85 SALE ENDED

Salmon Fly Hatch Equalizer Kit

The salmon Fly Hatch is arguably the best dry fly fishing west of the Rockies.  Here is an assortment of dry flies that will give you the edge when fishing this hatch.  It contains (2) each of the six following patterns: Bullet Head Salmon, Bullet Head Golden, Clark Stone, Improved Sofa Pillow, Robotic Salmon Fly & Norm Wood Special.  There are 12 flies total.  Price includes shipping in U.S.

Item Description Price  To Top
SALEQUAL Salmon Fly Equalizer Kit $20.95 SALE ENDED

Salmon Fly Rope and a finished fly...

Salmon Fly Rope
In 1981 Ed Henry (who at the time was a guide on the Deschutes River) showed us a unique salmon fly pattern. Up to that point all the Salmon Fly patterns we had seen had bodies of yarn or dubbing wrapped directly on the hook shank.  This one had a body that was separated from the hook; being only attached at the front of the fly. This gave the fly a very life-like appearance. However, these flies were very time consuming to tie because the extended body was constructed from poly-yarn braided on a needle.  Patty Barnes had been building some plant-hangers for our shop from orange polypropylene macramé cord. It was the same color and diameter as Ed's fly. I burnt the end of the rope with a cigarette lighter. The rope instantly fused together.  When trimmed to length we had a Salmon Fly body.  It was much faster than braiding a body on a needle.  The original flies and the copies made

from rope were bright orange, and they caught a lot of fish.  A couple of years later, we found that a fly tied with a burnt orange body caught more fish because it more closely matched the color of the real insects.

Item Description Color Price To Top
123456 Salmon Fly Rope, 3-feet Burnt Orange $1.00 SALE ENDED

Leaders For Big Dry Flies
The big dry fly game isn't usually fine or far off.
Paul Franklin plays one of many redsides he caught on this trip...
While feeding on giant stoneflies, trout often station-up tight to the grass or under over-hanging trees.
this trout ate a Norm Wood's special...
Salmonfly and Golden Stonefly patterns are often bushy and wind resistant, which demands a stout leader to put them on the target.
A bright red, back-eddy redside trout...
Trout feeding under cover of grass and tree limbs might require that you might have to do a little "logging" if you miss your target.

It always brings a smile to the face of the fly shop guy when a customer picks up a hand full of large stone fly nymphs and big fluffy dries and a package of fine 6X leaders. It's is a sure thing that guy will be in for another hand full of flies tomorrow. Trout keyed on big bugs usually aren't very leader shy. Fine leaders lack the strength to dislodge big nymphs from the bottom. They don't transmit enough energy to propel large flies very accurately either. The lack of strength and casting accuracy can result in lost flies, lost fish and much frustration. Leader length and diameter should be matched to the size of flies you will be using to maximize your performance.

Short, stout leaders are what delivers the best accuracy with large flies. Our pick for the Salmonfly Hatch is a 7 1/2' 3X leader. This size of leader retains the energy to place large air-resistant flies back under overhanging tree limbs, where larger fish hang out. These stout leaders enable you to often get your fly back, even if you miss your target and get tangled in the brush. A leader of this size is also easily converted to a nymph rig or altered to throw smaller flies by adding tippet material.

Item Description Size Price To Top
240345 Rio Tapered Trout Leader
7.5'- 3X 3 for $10.95 SALE ENDED
290150 Cortland Climax Trout Leader, each 7.5'- 3X  $3.75 SALE ENDED

Want to tie your own? Here's a big dry fly leader formula.

Leader Monofilament Diameter
            0X 1X 2X 3X 4X 5X 6X 7X
.023 .021 .019 .017 .015 .013 .011 .010 .009 .008 .007 .006 .005 .004
7.5' 3X   24" 10" 10" 10" 6" 6"   6" 18"        

Sandy River Spey Clave 2008
Saturday's air temperature peaked at an unseasonable 96-degrees. The warm weather caused the incredibly deep snow pack on Mt. Hood to flood down the Sandy River and raise it to record breaking levels, which drowned our normal presentation area gravel bar. With no option but to adapt or go extinct, we moved our on-the-water programs upstream a quarter of a mile and wound up being blessed with shade from the tall forest to protect us from the heat.

Sandy River 08/18/08 10:00am, 10,000cfs.

High water? No problem. Let's eat breakfast!

Hundreds of rods were on display.

Simon Gawesworth & student.

Spey angels?????????????

Beulah Rods gets the look-over.

Kate the feather lady and her beautiful plumage.

Just part of the line for lunch.

Blow up dolls Sandy & Clave.

Ian Gordon

George Cook

The crowd learns from Mike Kinney.

It was the best Clave ever. If you were there, we were glad for your company. If you missed it, well better luck next year. More report later. It's after quittin' time, after a long day.

The Fly Fishing Shop HOME. The Fly Fishing Shop, Welches, OR

1(800) 266-3971

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Fish long & prosper,
Mark & Patty


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