This fly first started out as a #14 rusty spinner and I tied it for the Madison River. At Lyon Bridge, the mornings can be filled with spinning mayflies dancing in the air above the boat ramp. It is always a wonderful sight to see, that’s for sure. For me, fishing dry flies with anglers in my boat is something I try to do every single day. For years, I knotted on a #12 Rusty Parachute and that fly has caught more than it’s fair share of trout. I always liked the comparadun style of flies, but they don’t float all that well on rivers like the Madison. Adding a palmered hackle to the comparadun wing just seemed like a good idea. I am sure that I did not come up with this idea, but I can’t remember ever seeing the combination of it before. If you look at traditional Catskill patterns, like the Adams, a hackle wing has been used for an eternity. Most comparadun wings use CDC, deer hair or elk hair; I like to use window’s web and eliminate the stacking of hair. Thorax winged flies have also been around for years, but I never really liked the partridge clump or turkey flat; the widow’s web is much easier to see and tie with. Fast forward to 2017 and I tied this fly in a #10 for the Green Drakes on the Henry’s Fork. JoJo’s Green Drake works really well as a mayfly dun and a spinner. Green Drake mayflies sit high on the water, and my pattern simulates this quite well. We now have the following versions of this fly in the shop: Green Drake, Drake Mackerel (for the NE Corner of YNP), PMD, Rusty Spinner, Blue Winged Olive, Callibaetis (for Hebgen lake), and a Grey Drake Spinner for the massive spinner falls on the Henry’s Fork in late June and early July.
The biot body stonefly might be the only other stonefly nymph I fish, although the prince nymph is hard to beat…..I cannot lie, so add that to the list…..3 patterns to imitate these insects. The first biot stoneflies I saw were tied by Mike Mercer, his Epoxyback still gets’em good, all the way down to the #18. Steve Driskill, an Oregon tier and owner of Crow Flies, has his own imitation for these as well – a dirty fly and killer on the Missouri. My version omits the epoxy, but I do coat the fly with a couple layers of head cement. Stoneflies, by nature, have a lighter underbody and are dark on top. Spending most of your time on the bottom of a river attached to a boulder will do that. If you take a black or brown marker, it is easy to darken the top of the pattern….several small dots from the point of that marker is just perfect. Woodduck just might the best tail or leg material around. Barred and brown. This variation has an olive wire ribbing over the biot – this provides for a stronger fly and a little color. The long white biots on Doug Prince’s Prince Nymph gave me the idea for long brown biots on the fly below. Almost looks like a cape……Super-Golden?
A confidence fly.
Biot stoneflies are fished all over the country, on miles and miles of river with huge success. From #16 to a #8, they can cover the gamut for the many different natural stoneflies found out west. In Southwest Montana, these flies are fishable year around and trout seem especially fond of them in the late winter, spring and summer. Fishing this fly dry-dropper, on the upper reaches of the Madison River in Montana in the summer, is something everyone should try. Atleast once. Some consider the dry-dropper to be cheating….yes it is nymphing…but there is no bobber… honestly, I call it smart and fishy. Can be a pain in the ass to cast. If they eat the dry, cut off the dropper, otherwise, go with the plan. Works well with midging fish too. A wonderful tool, all the way around.