Perfect Steelhead Stonefly Nymph – Great Lakes Pink

Steelhead eat nymphs. They just do. Whether by instinct or hunger or aggression or curiosity, they eat nymphs along with rocks sticks, leaves, feathers, Styrofoam, and eggs. Scrambled mostly, if I recall the research.

Great lakes fly fishers are deep into nymphing for steelhead, and they fish nymphs that are big and tiny, dark, subtle, and bright. Deschutes, Klamath, and Rogue River steelhead anglers here in Oregon fish nymphs when they aren’t soaking night crawlers, maggots, cured eggs, shrimp, rubber worms, jigs, or plastic beads. Yes, you heard it here.

This is a simple stonefly nymph with pink hues and fine rubber for the tails. Steelhead in the Great lakes will eat this fly. Steelhead in the Siletz, Alsea, Siuslaw, and Elk will eat this fly and its cousins too.

The fly is simple to tie and looks good in a box, but looks better in a steelhead’s jaw.

Jay Nicholas
February 2012

Steelhead Stonefly nymph

Perfect Steelhead Stonefly Nymph – Great Lakes Pink

Hook: Daiichi 1730 #6
Thread: Lagartun 95 D Black
Tail: fine grizzly barred rubber legs
Body: Hareline Speckled Crystal Chenille – Midnight Fire
Rib: Copper wire – small or brassie
Bead: Hareline Plummeting Tungsten Bead – 7/32 Fl. Orange
Legs/gills: American Saddle Clump – Pink grizzly

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6 Responses to Perfect Steelhead Stonefly Nymph – Great Lakes Pink

  1. Two dogs says:

    The only problem i see is that so many people are going want to start using these grizzly saddle hackles again that Chris is going to have his hands full making sure that ther are enough. Great fly…….as usual.

  2. Jim Barfield says:

    Dear Chris and Jay,

    Thanks so much for the videos, learn something new every day! Love Jay’s asides. Should let you know something about the Deschutes (mentioned in perfect steelhead stonefly, gl pink) and nymphing. Year or so back, plowed through a Mt. Hood snow storm from Portland to Maupin, stopped in at the local shop. Kid there recommended a few flies and I asked what nymphs were good. I was told, rather curtly: “WE DON’T NYMPH HERE, WE LIKE THE TAKE ON THE SWING!” I said: “Well, excuse the hell out of me, but y’all MUST MISS A LOT OF FISH!” Gave their flies a couple of hours, nothing, switched to bead head nymphs hooked 4 nice fish in an hour. So, you can nymph the Deschutes, just don’t let the locals catch you at it.
    Thanks again and if you ever need a place to stay in Grants Pass, I have lots of room, damn decent wine cellar and gourmet chef wife.

  3. Sam Wilkes says:

    Can’t begrudge the kid for trying to promote and preserve some of the traditional elements of the craft. I for one would certainly like to see more “kids” with a similar vent along the waterways. Granted swinging flies for steelhead, especially winter runs, may not catch as many fish as other methods, but then again maybe that isn’t the point.

  4. Jim Barfield says:

    Oops, sorry, my bad…I thought “The Point” was to catch fish. If you want to be a Luddite, fine, but I want to spend my time catching fish, not clinging to “tradition.”

    “Sacred cows make the tastiest hamburger.” Abby Hoffman

  5. Oregon Fly Fishing Blog says:

    Good points gentlemen. Moving on.

  6. These will definitely work in the Lake Erie tributaries. I take most of my steelhead there on simple bead head nymphs; some that look like this one. The rest come on crankbaits. Quel horreur!

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