Plecoptra –The Stoneflies

By Walter Siegmund (talk) - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
By Walter Siegmund (talk) – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Guest Blogger: Clay Cunningham, Cody WY, Former National Park Superintendent

I am primarily a nymph fisherman. I fish all the well known nymph patterns that many fishermen have used, because aquatic insects in their development stages under water make up the highest percentage of trout food sources. Among my favorites are the stoneflies. Stoneflies require highly oxygenated water and their presence in any stream or river is a bio-indicator that the water is uncontaminated and oxygenated. The oxygenation is a result of swift water absorbing oxygen through its rapid runoff motion. Most stoneflies nymphs breathe through their skin, or through wispy filaments on the side of their segmented body. Therefore, stoneflies cannot survive in motionless water . They cannot absorb oxygen in a motionless environment.

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Three Stones for the River

Guest blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, MT

Brook's Montana Stone Classic tie with synthetic yarn and without herl
Brook’s Montana Stone
Classic tie with synthetic yarn and without herl

Large stoneflies (Plecoptera) abound on our western trout and steelhead rivers. The number of stonefly patterns available to the angler is large. There’s a lot to choose from, both adults and nymphs. Clearly nymph patterns are the most important as they are year round food for the fish. Despite the wide variety of stonefly nymph patterns out there, in my mind there are just three that should be in every angler’s fly box on a western river. They can be tied with different sizes and variations to suit conditions as well as different stoneflies. They are basic, simple, and effective patterns regardless of variation, anywhere stoneflies are found. They can be fished year round.

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