Chomping on Stoneflies

During the recent warm spell, I hit a very local freestone a few times and had good luck finding brown trout, even when the water was down to 33 °F. A big surprise.

A key fly has been the Hare’s Ear. Let me explain.

I stomach-pumped a trout during one outing, and it was full of stoneflies. I find making small stoneflies to be a huge pain. I had read in Handbook of Hatches that a Hare’s Ear is a good substitute. So, I tied up a few when I got home and threw that fly pattern the next time out. It’s been a consistent winner.

I added a little razzle dazzle to the flies at times, but the plain ones have worked just as well. I did tie them small and thin, however, to try matching the profile of a stonefly.

Note that stoneflies tend to huddle up in riffled areas, since they don’t have gills and they thereby need the oxygenated water. They’re in the drift now because they start becoming more active in late winter to early spring. For example, during an outing to the Farmington last March, stoneflies were crawling the snow banks, and I landed a 19″ brown.

So, target some deep runs below riffled areas. That’s where I’ve consistently found most of the brown trout I’ve been landing. The trout have been sitting in quiet seams, in knee-deep to very deep water, waiting for stoneflies to drift by.

Here are some photos from one of the outings. Three browns over 90 minutes, with the biggest one at about 12″.

Stopped when too much ice coated the fly line. 

Warmed up with some beans, coffee and pumpkin bread. 

Life is good!


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One thought on “Chomping on Stoneflies

  1. You are one hardy fisherman and I am glad you hit paydirt with the brown trout. Nice tip on the hare's ear being a good substitute for stoneflies. I agree they are a pain to tie, but I do have a few in the fly box. Regards, Sam

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