Hatches Made Easy:
Golden Stoneflies - Nymphs (Perlidae Species)
Golden Stonefly nymphs are predators. That means they crawl on the bottom of
the stream searching for food which consist mainly of other small insects. They
often get washed into strong currents when they are feeding. The nymphs take
from two to three years to mature. The smaller, one-year old nymphs are
especially prone to getting caught in strong currents.
The nymphs can range in color from a dark brown to a light yellowish tan. Like
most all stonefly nymphs, they crawl out of the water to hatch. Usually they crawl
out on the banks but it can be a large rock protruding out of the water or even a
limb or log. Usually they move from the fast water riffles and runs to slower,
shallower water in pockets along the banks to crawl out. This means the trout
have a perfect opportunity to eat them when they are migrating to the banks.
They tend to feed on them along the banks when the hatch starts probably
because that is the easiest place to intercept them. This means you need to fish
close in along the banks and be careful not to spook trout feeding on the
nymphs in the shallow water.
Now of course you can fish Golden Stonefly nymph imitations any time during
the year when they are not hatching. If you choose to do so, then I recommend
that you fish a fly about half the size of the full grown nymph. There are just as
many half grown nymphs as they are fully grown nymphs at any one
point in time. Another advantage of fishing a smaller size nymph is that there
are other smaller species of stonefly nymphs in the water at the same
time. Using a smaller fly will increase you odds. It is doubtful, except during a
hatch, that the trout feed selectively on the Golden Stonefly nymphs.You will not
be missing out on anything when a hatch isn't underway.
Fish the stonefly nymphs in the runs and riffles using the "high stickin" method I
have previously covered. Fish the stonefly nymph just like you would a mayfly
nymph when you are searching for trout in a "no hatch to match" situation. The
stonefly nymph imitations work very well in the Smokies.
Imitating the Nymph during the hatch:
As I previously stated, when the Golden Stonefly nymphs begin to hatch, they
will migrate to the shoreline to crawl out of the water. This starts occurring very
late in the day. I wouldn't start fishing the nymph imitation any earlier than
mid-afternoon. You want to simulate the migrating behavior with you fly or
imitation of the full grown Golden Stonefly nymph.
Cast the fly out into the runs and riffles and bring it back all the way to the bank.
You should stay away from the banks to cast when it is possible to do so to
prevent spooking shallow feeding trout along the banks. If the trees prevent this,
and you are wading, I suggest you use a down and across cast allowing the
fly to swing from the runs and riffles all the way to the bank. You accomplish this
by making a reach cast, reaching out towards the center of the stream, and then
slowly swinging the fly across to the opposite side all the way to the bank. You
will need to add a lot of weight to the fly to keep in on the bottom. If your fly stays
in the very fast water and there is no moderate to slow moving water near the
banks, then you are fishing in the wrong type of place. You want to select areas
where there is at least a small area of moderate to slow moving water along the
bank and fast moving runs and riffles out in the stream. The fly should stay on
the bottom, not mid-depth or near the surface.
Coming Up Next:
Golden Stoneflies - Adults (Perlidae Species)
Copyright 2008 James Marsh