Originator: Denny Rickards, Stillwater guru and trophy trout specialist
Hook: 2x heavy nymph hook. #10, 12, or 14
Thread: 8/0 Olive
Weight: Either unweighted or with 6 turns of fine lead wire placed toward the head of the fly.
Tail: Marabou, burnt orange
Body: Olive Simi Seal or other seal substitute dubbing
Hackle: Dry fly grade saddle hackle, grizzly dyed burnt orange
Rib: UTC Ultra Wire, gold, small
Wing case/shell back: Olive marabou or mallard flank fibers. These can be coated with UV clear cure resin for durability.
Notes: About 20 years ago I had the good fortune to attend one of Denny Rickards’ stillwater seminars right down the road at Hebgen Lake. At that time, I’d really only fished dry flies on Hebgen during the Callibaetis hatch, and fooled around with a woolly bugger here and there on other lakes on other occasions. Listening to Denny (and seeing his big fish pictures) inspired me to buy an intermediate sinking line and get a little more serious about subsurface lake fishing. At the end of the class, he handed me a scruffy looking olive and orange fly and suggested that it would be a very good place to start experimenting. His words gave me the confidence to try it, and many of his other patterns. The Stillwater Nymph was a great fly for me from the start, and still is today. Fished slowly, with a hand twist or short pull and pause retrieve, this is a great fly to fish when you might not be sure what to tie on, or when you know the trout are around but there aren’t a ton of any specific insect hatching. It’s suggestive nature, and smaller size seem to get it done even in August, when the fish get a bit more choosy.