Golden Stoneflies

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Chubby Chernobyl Norm Wood Special Rogue Golden Stone
CDC Golden Stone Clark's Golden Stone Stimulator, Yellow
Golden Opportunities
Text by: Mark Bachmann     Pictures by: Mark Bachmann & Josh Linn

A Golden Stonefly Calineuria Pacifica perches on an alder leaf bordering Oregon's Deschutes River.
This 2-inch long insect is a juicy meal for a hungry trout.

Golden stoneflies Calineuria Pacifica are slightly smaller than, but not necessarily less important than Salmonflies as trout food. They begin to hatch about two weeks after the Salmonflies hatch. Actually the hatches overlap, and both species of insects are out and about in mixed populations at the same time. As the Salmonflies taper off, the Golden Stones continue to be in the stream side vegetation for another week or more. In the Pacific Northwest, these hatches usually start in may and continue into June. In Idaho and Montana these same hatches are a June/July event. In the higher elevation of the Rocky Mountain States, hatches can continue into July. some cold Pacific Northwest spring creeks have prolific hatches of golden stones as late as September.

Mating takes place in the streamside vegetation. Golden Stones are indiscriminant lovers.
According to Dave Hughes, in his pocket book, Western Streamside Guide, Golden Stones usually have three year life cycles. They spend all but two to three weeks of this time crawling over and through the gravel of the stream bottom. Here they are active hunters of smaller stream dwelling insects, which they over-power and dispatch with their large curved mandibles. During their life as a water breathing insect they continue to grow by periodically shedding their exoskeleton and growing new ones. These periods are called instars. Golden Stones go through many instars before they crawl out of the water to change into a winged adult. These instars hapen while the nymphs are secluded under rocks in the streambed. While the new exoskeleton is fresh and pliable it is bright yellow. During period of high water when there is bed-load shift some of the bright yellow nymphs become available to trout. Fishing a brighter colored yellow nymph such as the FFS Golden Stone during spring run-off can be very productive. Fishing a nymph such as the Double Bead Golden Stone just prior to the hatch can be even more productive. Larger size Gold Rib Hare's Ears and smaller Kauffmann Golden Stones can be productive all year.

Golden Stones bring larger trout to the surface.
It is hard to tell the reasons why, but when Salmonflies and Golden stones are in mixed populations on the Deschutes River, trout often prefer Goldens. This happens often enough to make the Chubby Chernobyl and Norm Wood special the two most popular dry flies during this time of year. If there is an egg laying flight (usually mid-afternoon) trout will make explosive  rises in all parts of the river. Flies such as the Rogue Stone are deadly during these periods. Bring your fly down on the water hard to get the fish's attention amid the egg layers. During period of inactivity, fish close to the banks and under low hanging trees. Trout will be there to engulf clumsy crawlers that fall into the river. These are good places to try the Chubby and Norm flies. If you get refusals from spooky fish, throw a Clark's Golden at them. The lighter weight, smaller fly will often do the trick. You will also want to carry a few Stimulators and Improved Golden Stones with you for change-up flies. Also use the small pair of scissors in your Abel Perfect Tool to customize any of your flies to meet changing needs. Flare the wings of your flies during egg laying periods. Trim your flies to have a streamlined appearance when the bugs are dying off.

Chubby Chernobyl Dry Fly
The Chubby Chernobyl as was designed to be fished as an attractor pattern, which means it might appear to the trout as any number of different food organisms, such as a grass hopper, a stonefly, a cricket, a large beetle, bee, or your neighbor's favorite kitten. To me it looks like a tiny skate board with legs. It does appear that trout on the Deschutes think that it looks very much like a golden stonefly, so much so that the Chubby has replaced the Norm Wood Special as the go-to "searching-fly" with many anglers. There are several reasons for this fly's popularity. It floats low, like a real stonefly, and this makes it very hard to tell from the real live critter. It floats forever, with or without dressing. It is extremely easy to see in all light conditions therefore it is easy to control all aspects of your presentation. The origin of this pattern is claimed by several tiers.
Cubbies on a foam patch...

Chubby Chernobyl

Item Description Size Price To Top
THP0071 Chubby Chernobyl Dry Fly 8 3 for $7.49
THP0071 Chubby Chernobyl Dry Fly 10 3 for $7.49

Clark's Stone, Golden
Even though Salmon Flies and Golden Stone Flies may be along the river in mixed populations, they may not be on the water at the same time. You should carry flies that look like both species.
Item Description Size Price To Top
12027 Yarn Body Stonefly,
Golden
8 3 for $7.49

The Norm Wood Special
This golden stonefly imitation may be the most popular fly during the "Salmonfly Hatch"
Tied by Norm Wood
Norm Wood Special tied by Norm Wood. It's rough looking, but deadly.
It works
Norm Wood Special by an unidentified tier.
This fly caught several Redsides.
Tied by Mark Bachmann
Untrimmed Norm Wood special tied by Mark Bachmann.
We're not telling...
Copy of Norm Wood special with a wing that sticks up too high.
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. The lower fly at right was trimmed to the most popular configuration. There are a number of Norm Wood Specials out there.
At The Fly Fishing Shop
Norm Wood Special as stocked by The Fly Fishing Shop.
We have examined this pattern as tied by the originator, and copies of the original flies as sanctioned by Norm, and flies that are so called Norm Wood Specials done by tiers who had no knowledge of the original concept. The flies we sell are meant to be trimmed. (A picture of this fly pattern is second from the bottom at right.) This pattern imitates a golden stonefly, which is a very low floater. In our experience the Norm Wood special fishes best if it is trimmed to lie very flat on the water. If we sold them trimmed to how they work the best, they Killer fly...
A trimmed Norm Wood Special that has caught twenty trout.
would be so ugly that you wouldn't buy them. Besides trimming much of the bulk from the fly, many knowledgeable anglers treat the wing with a high viscosity floatant such as Cortland Dab or Mucilin Paste. This slicks the wing down and makes the fly ride even lower. We learned a great trick many years ago from our friend Bill Howland, who rubbed Mucilin on his Salmonfly patterns and then baked them in the oven so the floatant would penetrate all parts of the fly making them nearly unsinkable. This Redside Trout fell for a low floating Norm Wood Special
The above Norm Wood special in action.
Item Description Size Price To Top
11035 Norm Wood Special, Golden Stone 6 3 for $7.49


Rogue Foam Stone, Golden
This un-sinkable fly is very productive in many situations. The segmented body is made from seal cell foam plastic. It will float in fast turbulent water.
Rogue Foam Stone, Golden
Item Description Size Price To Top
10858-06 Rogue Foam Stone, Golden 6 3 for $6.95

Stimulator, Yellow
This seems to be the most popular of the Stimulator patterns. It is used as a golden or yellow stone or hopper imitator. It may rank with the Royal Wulff as one of the all time most popular searching flies.
Item Description Size Price To Top
11988 Stimulator, Yellow 6 3 for $7.49
11989 Stimulator, Yellow 8 3 for $7.49
11990 Stimulator, Yellow 10 3 for $7.49
11991 Stimulator, Yellow 12 3 for $7.49
11992 Stimulator, Yellow 14 3 for $7.49
11993 Stimulator, Yellow 16 3 for $7.49

 

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