Winter Stoneflies and Snowflies

As I wrote previously, I had really good luck fishing a freestone last winter. I didn’t realize it was all about Winter Stoneflies/Snowflies.

The water was 33 °F and the air was 0 °F. But, over three outings during snowstorms, I landed a pile of trout. They were eating little black stoneflies. Snow was falling everywhere, wind was gusting, water was absolutely chilling, and trout often were on the line.


It was a complete lark that I was out there. I knew nothing about Winter Stoneflies and just wanted to get outside. I decided to throw a small black Sexy Walt’s. No logic, but, I throw Walt’s patterns when bright flies don’t work. And, that’s all that the fish wanted on those days.

Since then, I’ve learned more about these bugs, called Capniidae. They’re small stoneflies, from sizes 16 to 20. Some call them Winter Snowflies, others call them Winter Stoneflies. Either way, they can work.

So, I’ll be heading out there again during the bleakest days this winter. I’ll have some small and black flies on the rig, a handwarmer in the pocket of my waders, and eternal optimism in my heart.

See you on the water.


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4 thoughts on “Winter Stoneflies and Snowflies

  1. Interesting post Jo. When you say “floating the sighter”, I assume you are fishing fairly shallow water? I didn’t think winter freestone fish actively foraged much

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