Superior Stone Flies

By Bernard P. Elser

The adult stone fly is a delicacy to any trout. Even the wariest brownie will let down his guard for a chunky morsel that clumsily skitters across a pool or riffle. Two of my favorite stone fly patterns are the Picket Pin and the Yellow Sally. The Picket Pin is a classic wet fly paffern, representing a drowned adult stone fly, and the Yellow Sally is a floating imitation. I was introduced to this duo many years ago, while fishing the beautiful and challenging Saranac River in upstate New York. Both brown and rainbow trout succumbed to these flies on that deep, boulder-strewn river...and the same flies are top producers on our home waters.

As the name implies, the Yellow Sally represents various common yellow stone flies (for example, P. Isoperla). This high-floating dry fly is excellent from late Spring to mid Summer. The Picket Pin is just as effective, and you can fish it throughout the entire trout season with great success. Take the time to tie a few of these flies; the results won't disappoint you!

Picket Pin

Hook: Mustad 9671 Size: 8 through 14
Thread: Pre-waxed 6/0 Black
Tail: Brown Hackle
Body (abdomen): Peacock Herl
Body Hackle: 1 Brown Hackle
Wing: Gray Squirrel Tail Fibers
Thorax: Peacock Herl

1. Tie six hackles barbules for a tail. Next secure two strans of herl, and one brown hackle
2. Wrap the herl to a point 3/4 up the hook shank. Next, wind the hackle to the same point.
3. Tie in a small amount of squirrel tail fibers to represent wings.
4. Tie in another strand of herl and wrap it towards the eye. Finish the fly with a few neat turns of thread; make two half hitches, then lacquer.

Yellow Sally

Hook: Pamidge L4A Size: 12-14
Thread: Pre-waxed 6/0 Yellow
Tail: Cream Hackle Barbules
Body (abdomen): Pale Yellow Dub.
Body Hackle: 1 Grizzly Hackle
Wing: Bleached Elk or Deer Hair
Thorax: Pale Yellow Dubbing
Thorax Harkle: 1 Grizzly Hackle

1. The tail is six cream barbules. Then secure one grizzly hackle. Next, dub the body to a point 2/3 up the hook shank.
2. Wrap the grizzly hackle where the dubbing ends. ext, tie in a hair wing.
3. Secure another grizzly Next, dub the thorax toward the hook eye.
4. Wrap the thorax grizzly hackle over the dubbing toward the hook eye.
5. Tie offthe hackle, make a neat head with the thread, then lacquer. This fluffy-looking fly floats well due to the stiff hackle and hollow hair wing.

Bernard Elser is co-author of Fundamentals of Building a Bamboo Fly-Rod. Bemard resides at 66 Somerset St., Somerville, NJ, 08876, and welcomes your comments or questions. He may be reached most evenings at (908) 704-8049. Copyright © 1998, Bernavd Elser. All rights resewed.