The Langtry Stone is, in my opinion, the precursor to the Stimulator series of flies that were so popularized by Randall Kaufmann in an uncountable combination of sizes and colors. Here is a little about the background of this fly, and it is surely not the whole story.
The Deschutes River is famous for the “stonefly hatch,” usually expected to begin sometime in May around Maupin and proceed upstream to Warm springs by mid June. Fly anglers and guides descend on the river this time of year, expecting a chance to find voracious trout taking big dry flies, sometimes all day long, and hoping to find some of the largest fish of the year looking up rather than down, for their daily ration.
Not many Deschutes fly fishers make formal distinctions between the Giant Salmonfly (Pteronarcys californica), versus the Golden Stonefly, which is a smaller species of stonefly. Both are important food sources on the Deschutes, and each can be keyed-on by trout depending on the day of the season. The Giant Salmonfly tends to make its emergence earlier than the Golden Stone, and is a much larger bug. Being a non-entomologist, I suspect that “bug” makes Rick Hafele cringe, so please forgive me Rick. One would tend to imitate the Giant Salmonfly with a dry fly as large as size #4 up to a #6. The Sofa Pillow is the fly we fished in the 1960s and 70s to imitatet the Giant Salmonflies on the Deschutes.
Toward the middle of the Pteronarcys hatch, the Golden Stones usually start showing up in increasing number. These are smaller, lighter color stoneflies, and if Deschutes rainbow start to key on these flies, the larger dry flies will usually be ignored. This is when the Langtry Stone shines. Originally tied on #8 Mustad 3xl forged wire, bronze fly hooks, these flies have a much lighter color and at times will seize the day, out-fishing any other fly by a wide margin.
The fly was developed, more or less, by Oregon Supreme Court Judge Virgil Langtry. Tim, a reader of fishingwithjay, noted that Judge Langtry was on the Oregon Supreme Court during 1969-76, appointed by Governor Tom McCall, and most likely fished the Deschutes with the right honorable Gov.
The Langtry Stone, as tied in the mod 1970s and sold by the wheelbarrow-full at Doughton hardware, in Salem Oregon, was tied as follows. Tail: Mule Deer stacked in a hand-made stacker (aluminum cigar tube). Body: baby yellow Anton yarn, small, twisted tightly to make the body segmented and resistant to absorbing water. Body hackle: brown Chinese neck feather, tied in by butt and wound forward. Wing: oregon Mule Deer. Head, bright Orange Antron yarn. Head hackle: brown Chinese neck feather. Thread: orange Nymo. Hook: Mustad #8, 3xl. By today’s standards, these were crude flies, but oh-my they were effective.
Lou, my Deschutes River resource, reports that this fly is not at all useful these days. Nope, he NEVER EVER catches Deschutes rainbow on the Langrty Stone. So, Lou says, don’t bother tying any of this fly and especially DO NOT fish them on the Deschutes. Or on the Metolius. Or on the Upper McKenzie. Or anywhere, for that matter. Thanks for the tip, Lou.
Here is a recipe for a decent version of today’s Langrty Stone:
Hook: TMC 5263
Tail: Nature’s Spirit Yearling Elk hair
Body: Hareline Uni Yarn – Pale Yellow
Head: Hareline Uni Yarn – Fl Orange
Head Hackle: Whiting, Keough, or similar or similar Neck Hackle
Thread: Danville 6/0 Flymaster Waxed Thread – Fl fire Orange 0
By the way, I would sure appreciate any more history on this fly and its originator that our blog readers could provide.