Fly Fishing Traditions

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Techniques- Fishing the PMD Hatch

Last year Blake Larsen and I had dropped my drift boat into the Lower Yuba River and I was rowing upstream to a large eddy pool where we typically start our fishing. As I rowed upstream we noticed lots of swallows buzzing the river. They were gobbling up PMD's as they took off from the surface film and headed into the air. The PMD's were running the gauntlet. I anchored and we watched this happen for about five minutes. If 5 out of a hundred PMD's made it to safety without becoming a meal that may be exaggerating. It was a feast for the swallows that's for sure. I bet you can guess how we rigged up.

The Hatch
Pre- Emergence
The nymphs of these species, like all Ephemerellidae, are known as crawlers due to their habit of crawling over the substrate and generally poor swimming ability. While crawling along the stream bottom the nymphs feed on algae and decaying vegetation such as leaves and wood debris. Nymphs frequently get washed into the currents, and because of their abundance this “drift” provides important food for trout. It also means that nymph imitations are important, especially in the weeks and days prior to emergence. The wide distribution and abundance of these species also means nymph imitations can be successful searching patterns most of the year.
For nymphs a dark gold ribbed Hares Ear, pheasant tail, Skip's Nymph or HBI tied in the appropriate size (18-14) will usually do the trick. There are of course many match the hatch patterns as well. I find the above patterns work very well. It's pretty simple. Do some sampling, catch some bugs, put them in a white tray or lid, drop your nymph patterns into the lid and see what matches. Nothing to it. Go fishin'.

Some people say that using bead head patterns will help get them to the bottom. I like to fish with non-bead head flies and just use split shot to get them down. Fish them dead-drift along the edges of and below riffles, through pocket water or along undercut banks. Nymph patterns are most effective just prior to emergence when the naturals are migrating to slower water or beginning their restless ascent to the surface for emergence. On the Lower Yuba weighted flies and split shot are necessary to get the flies near the bottom during the early stages of the hatch when most nymphs are still on the bottom. Later nymphs can be effectively fished in mid depths without weight. A strike indicator located six or seven feet above the fly, is a great help for detecting strikes when fishing these small nymphs.

Stage One - Nymphing

During the hatch's early stages fish are focused on PMD nymphs and emergers, so most of the action is subsurface.

Indicator Nymphing -

Rigg up with a nine foot 3x leader. Add 16" of 4x flurocarbon to attach your 1st nymph, (maybe an HBI), place shot at the knot at the end of the 3x leader. Tie another 14" section of 5x tippet to the hook bend of your 1st fly and the add your second fly (maybe an Pheasant tail). If your brave enough add a third fly. Attach a "Boles Indicator" and set it at about 7 to 8 feet to the shot. Adjust the depth as necessary. Note: Try using the "Davy Knot" for attaching your flies to the tippet.

Use standard upstream indicator tactics to present the nymphs when wading.

Tight Line Nymphing
Use a nine-foot 5X leader and tie on the your favorite PMD imitation. Put enough split shot on the leader about eight inches above the nymph. Cast downstream and across, allowing the nymph to sink to the bottom, then swing across in the current. Trout will take the fly as it rises from the bottom during the downstream swing.
Stage Two – Emergers and Duns
Changing from nymph to dun is often a trying task for these mayflies. When everything goes right the nymphs hang in or just under the surface as the wings of the dun escape the nymphal shuck and break through the surface. This is a good time for a floating nymph pattern. Often, however, not everything goes right. Duns with wings partially unfurled get caught in the surface and never get off the water. Soft hackles or flymphs make excellent emerger patterns when this occurs.

Fish floating nymphs or flymphs upstream and across with a dead-drift float. I prefer casting to fish I’ve spotted feeding just under the surface on emerging duns. However, even fish clearly taking duns will often take a well presented emerger after refusing numerous dun patterns.
Surface activity can be fast during the often heavy hatches of these mayflies. For this reason a good durable dry fly can save a lot of time from changing flies between fish. Compara-duns have proven themselves very durable and imitative. In recent years, however, I have found “Harrop” duns (originated by Rene Harrop) to be equally durable and more effective at fooling selective fish. Fish during these hatches can become ultra selective. Patterns from 14’s to 20’s may be needed depending on the local species and conditions. The color of the naturals varies on the Lower Yuba River and sometimes we have noticed two differents PMD’s hatching at the same time. It’s always best to collect a hatching dun and select a pattern according to its size and color. You should rigg up with an 11-foot, 6x leader and replace the nymph with a Sparkle Dun or PMD Cripple. Sparkle duns and Cripples are nice representations of emerging duns or duns trapped in the shuck which are states that trout particularly focus on. Delicate presentations and drag-free floats are a must when fishing dries during these hatches. If you are getting refusals with an upstream cast, try a downstream slack-line presentation. To achieve a downstream drag free float, try a pile cast, where the line and leader to fall down in a heap about five feet above a rise. Make two quick strips to separate the fly line from the fly. The current will gradually straighten the tippet, but not before the fly floats naturally over a trout. If that fails and naturals are seen fluttering on the surface struggling to get airborne, try giving your fly slight twitches.

Finally, watch carefully for spinners in the evening. They can be surprisingly difficult to see in the fading evening light. Rises to spinners are also subtle. A simple hackled fly clipped top and bottom makes a good spinner pattern. A downstream slack-line cast, carefully positioned over the feeding lane of a rising fish, is usually the best approach.

Research for this article from;
Rick Hafele's website www.laughingrivers. com

Westfly at

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

PMD's on the Lower Yuba River

On the Lower Yuba River we have been seeing glimpses of what is coming as the season progresses and the temperatures start to warm up. On warmer days there have been PMD's floating on down the river. It seems to me that in the last couple of years that they are coming earlier in the season then I remember from years ago. Here's some stuff to get you prepared. Start cleaning those dry lines and organize your fly boxes.

Ephemerella Infrequens - Pale Morning Dun

PMD Spinner

Hatches– February through July on the Lower Yuba
Names: genus Ephemerella
Common Names: Pale morning dun, PMD


NYMPH SIZE: 7-12 mm (1/4-1/2 in)
NYMPH COLOR: Olive-brown, red-brown
DUN SIZE: 7-12 mm (1/4-1/2 in)
DUN COLOR: Wing: smoky gray. Body: pale yellow to tan.
SPINNER SIZE: 7-12 mm (1/4-1/2 in)
SPINNER COLOR: Wing: clear. Body: darker than dun, but still light brown with yellow and olive hints; basically, rusty.
OTHER CHARACTERISTICS: Last two-thirds of nymphs' tails are fringed with fine hairs. Duns, nymphs, and spinners have three tails. Duns and spinners have small rounded projections on the leading edge of the hind wing.



PMD Nymph


About Pale Morning Duns

On the Lower Yuba there is a PMD hatch that starts in early spring sometimes as early as February if the weather warms up. This is one of the better hatches on the Lower Yuba. Pale morning duns have everything going for them, large numbers that trigger aggressive surface feeding, fussy enough to offer a challenge, but not so difficult as to be too frustrating.

This small, pale-yellow mayfly of the crawler group is often referred to by its initials, PMD. Despite the name, pale morning dun, hatches can occur in the morning, early afternoon, or evening. It's not unusual to have both morning and evening emergences on the same day. The hatch season on the Lower Yuba River begins as early as February and lasts as late as September. This is often the dominant hatch when it occurs. Trout take nymphs all day, and duns and emerging duns during the hatch. The best places on the Lower Yuba River to fish for the PMD's are slower runs, back eddies, and tail-outs. Shortly before a hatch, dead-drift a nymph near the bottom. As the hatch begins, present a nymph near the surface or as a rising nymph. As trout begin taking duns off the surface, tie on an emerger, cripple, or dun pattern. Because the hatch usually happens in slow, clear water you may need a thin tippet, sometimes 6X fluorocarbon. You may also need to make a downstream presentation to a fish whose location you are certain of.

The spinner stage is almost as important as the hatching duns. Spinners are usually well matched with the classic Rusty Spinner.

I will follow this up with a future blog post, "Patterns" for the PMD's



Entomology information gathered from and from Rick Hafele's website

Photos of PMDs from and from

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Good Old Stuff

I had a friend over the other day and we were talking about all the gear we've collected over the years. I pulled out one on my "Old Favorites". It was an Orvis impregnated bamboo rod that I had purchased new about 20 years ago. It's a 5 weight rod. I found the rod tube, opened it up and pulled out the rod sock. It was damp. I said to myself, "Oh, No!" The wood insert was swollen and the nickel was very tarnished. The bamboo had mold on it. I wiped it down and set it out to air out.

This later led me to pull out an original "Powell" signature series rod that has been sitting in the corner for awhile. It is a 5 weight graphite rod that has two tips, a 5 and a 6 weight. Fortunately it looked great. I picked it up on Kienes Board as a backup rod for my drift boat, but when I received it I checked it out and thought its too nice for that! I think I'll start using it now.

I then dug out my rod tube for a 7 weight, Orvis bamboo rod that I bought used a long time ago. It was also an impregnated bamboo rod. Believe it or not, I bought it to use chasing half pounders on the Yuba. Believe me when you hook up on a hot Lower Yuba bow it puts a bend in that rod! I got into the bamboo rod thing after reading a bunch of John Gierach novels. I you've read his stuff you know what I'm talking about. Fortunately this one was in good shape. Thank goodness. So the score was 2 out of three in good shape.

This all got me thinking. It's time to keep these rods out. Maintain them and have them where I and anyone wandering into Fly Fishing Traditions World headquarters can take a look at them. It will even give me a nudge to get them on the water again.

Cleaning up a Bamboo Rod

For my 5 weight bamboo rod I had a task list went something like this.
  • Clean off the mold from the bamboo with denatured alcohol. I took a lint free cloth soaked in in alcohol and wiped the bamboo rod until all signed of mold were gone and there were no trace of dirt or mold remaining on the cloth. Done!
  • I then cleaned the cork handle.  I used dish soap with a soft tooth brush. I didn't need to go to the fine grit sandpaper level. The cork grip cleaned up nice with just the soap and water. Done!
  • Clean the metal on the reel seat and stripping guide where tarnished. I purhased a cleaning and polishing compound that specifically said it was safe for silver and nickel. I applied it with a lint free cloth and repeatedly rubbed the metal areas until the oxidation was gone. I did this for the metal parts at the reel seat, the stripping guide and the winding checks. Done!
  • Now to check the fit of the ferrules. I've always had a problem with the ferrules on my bamboo rods so I thought I'd better go to the source, Orvis. They recommended using Denatured alcohol to clean the inside of the ferrules. I poured it into the ferrules and using thin strips of the lint free cloth with a toothpick to swab the inside. I did this until the cloth came out clean. For the male ferrules I used the cleaning and polishing compound first, repeated it until my cloth was clean showing no residue. The ferrules were heavily oxidized so I cleaned them carefully with extra fine steel wool until they slid cleanly and firmly together. Done!
  • Once the metal parts were good and clean I dried everything with a clean cloth. I then took a furniture polish and applied it to all the bamboo parts and thoroughly wiped in in. Done!
I did this process to both of my Orvis bamboo rods and they are now hanging on the wall and ready to go. It took me most of a day to do both rods but it sure was worth it. They look great on the wall and I can't wait to get them out on the river.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Fishing The Lower Yuba "Skwala Time"

Hey Guys, are we having fun yet?

I've had the fishing bug lately and I just have been too busy to get out. I hate that! With the weather as of late, doing my office/fly fishing den addition and of course work, I haven't made it out for awhile. Well today I got out. I hooked up with Frank Rinella and Blake Larsen to hit the Lower Yuba.

Blake was amped up and ready to try out his new switch rod, a 6 weight 11 foot Sage Z-axis. I had bought him a Buelah Switch rod as a bonus for Christmas and he decided to upgrade to the Sage. As a result we had an arsenal of Sage switch rods aboard as Frank and I have the same 11 foot switch rods. I also had my Sage XP 6 weight, my Sage 5 weight and Blake had his Sage Z-axis 6 weight on board, so heaven forbid I flipped the boat, we had between the 3 of us about $4200 worth of Sage rods on board. Un-believable. I guess you could say we were prepared.

Blake with his 1st fish on his new switch rod

I was also stocked up on Skwala dry patterns. Between us I think we had at least 10 variations of Skwala Dry patterns. Only problem is the fish didn't really like many of them today, go figure. Frank had fished the river yesterday and had good success using one of the patterns he carries but today, no go. No takers. Oh, except a couple he missed (asleep at the wheel, Ha!). We did get one fish on a Andy Burk's dry stonefly pattern. I busted off a large fish with one of the patterns I had tied up. It was the smallest and most slender of the patterns I had tied up. But for the most part our offerings were refused.

I caught some female Skawla's in the drift and took some home and after taking a good look at them and comparing then to my patterns the thing I have noticed is that almost every Skawla pattern that you buy are just too big, not slender enough and the wrong color. I'm afraid what this adds up to is refusals. I caught 4 adults and the length of the body from the head to the end of the abdomen was 7/8" to 1 1/8 long. The wing extended about 3/16 longer. That made the longest bug about 1 5/16" long at the most. The body widths were a consistant width of about 1/8". Almost every pattern in my box is longer and much wider. Looks like I've got some work to do at my tying bench.

There were not a lot of bugs hatching today but there was a modest hatch of PMD's mid day. The bugs had a distinct yellowish body ( as opposed to pinker). We ran into a couple of friends that were wade fishing and their comment was that the fish had been refusing our standard Yuba River PMD pattern (a pinkie). When changing to a lighter wing color they started having success. Goes to show you just need to stick with it and keep switching up till you find what they want.

Blake had a good day breaking in his switch rod and connected with some nice fish with another Andy Burk pattern the HBI nymph. This has been a good producer for us in the past this time of year. Frank also connected with a nice fish using a A.P. PMD nymph.

Nice fish Frank, are you getting hungry?

Blake caught this on a Andy Burk's Stone, dry

We used indicator techniques in the runs

We used tight line nymphing techniques in the tailouts

All in all another fun day on our local favorite river.

See you out there,


Fishing Montana - Summer of 2009

As I sit here with the rain pounding away I am looking forward to summer and my annual trip to Montana. For years it was a trip with friends and back country hiking and fishing but it has evolved to time spent with my wife Laura, my son Zack and usually my Mom and Dad.

I was born in the town of Red Lodge, Montana where my dad, Bob, grew up on a family cattle ranch and my mom, Geri, grew up on a family farm. My folks moved to California when I was about a year old. Even though we moved to California when I could barely walk, I have been drawn back to Montana for almost every summer for over 30 years. In my younger years I spent, I believe, 16 years in a row with a 65 to 70 pound pack on my back, hiking and fishing the back country of Yellowstone Park, and the Beartooth and Absarokee mountains. These years were spent with the Stahl brothers, Pete, Mark, Jeremy and Doug who adopted me as their "camp cookie". We had many adventures through those years hiking in and around Yellowstone Park. Like the time we got not so politely escorted out of Yellowstone Park by a back country ranger. Hopefully I'll get around to telling some of those stories down the road.

For the last 3 or 4 years I've been pulling my "Fishcraft" cataraft, instead of my driftboat, to Montana and fishing rivers around Bozeman and Yellowstone Park. I really like the fact that with the raft, there is just a greater feeling of comfort and safety when we're going down rivers that we've never been down before. It will also hold 4 people pretty comfortably. This year it was mainly my son Zack, my mom Geri, my dad Bob and their dog Kay-Yai. For the last 4 years or so we have hooked up with family and friends and spend time floating rivers like the Madison, Big Hole, Beaverhead, Yellowstone, and Jefferson. We stay in my wife Laura's, family home in Bozeman. This year we had the most memorable trips on the Madison River above Ennis and on the Yellowstone River in the area around Emigrant.

We were in Montana in the 2nd week of July and big thunderstorms had the Yellowstone and other rivers muddied up. We spent 3 days off and on fishing the Madison River, which is basically a tailwater fishery, in the reaches above Ennis. We would either put in at "Varney" and float down to the "Ennis" takeout or go a little further upstream and put in at the "Storrey Ditch" and float to the "Eight Mile" takeout. The river was getting hit hard with lots of anglers as it was about the only act in town. The fishing still was decent with browns and rainbows mixed in with about three times as many whitefish. The float from Varney Bridge to Ennis is a beautiful float with braided channels, lots of undercut banks and drop offs. A size 14 golden stone was the hot fly for most days. We fished that on the tagg end of a superfloss rubberlegs.

We decided that maybe we should give the Madison up on the last day we floated it. We showed up and there were 20+ trailers parked at the Varney Bridge. We said to each other "How the heck can you catch a fish when there are twenty boats on the river?". Heck if I know. I guess the fish still have to eat. Believe it or not we still caught fish, not that many, but more than I thought we would. It was time to try the Yellowstone River.

The Yellowstone was clearing up so I called The Rivers Edge, a well equipped fly shop in Bozeman, and asked for Zack's favorite guide Nathan. We had hired Nathan last summer and had a great time.

Zack and I hooked up with Nathan for an afternoon float on the Yellowstone River. We floated from "Grey Owl" to the "Loch Leven" take out, which is about 5 to 6 miles. The river was just starting to clear at the edges with visibility of about 18 inches.

Nathan rigged us up with a medium sized thing-a-ma-bobber,we were in Montana after all,

yah-all, with about 3 feet of 2x to the tippet knot. He tied a "McCunes Sculpin" about 12 inches below the shot and then extended a tag 16" off the hook bend of the sculpin to a soft hackled hares ear. We used the sculpin in olive and tan. I really think this is a streamer that everyone should have in their box. It is an Umpqua pattern that is used up and down the west coast, BC and Alaska, That should tell you something.

This rigg was hot! Not only was the rigg fishing well dead drifted about 6 foot off the bank, but it was great to cast to the bank, strip three or four times and then dead drift it. We hooked and landed some real nice browns stripping this way. I fished the Yellowstone two more times with my mom and dad with this rigg and it continued to fish well.

The technique was to set up dead drifting the flies about 6 to 8 feet off the bank and if you saw tempting structure along the bank, pick the flies up, straight line the cast to the bank and start stripping. If no one was home just let it dead drift until you saw the next tempting spot. I hooked some big browns on the strip. They would hammer the sculpin. Set and hold on!

The biggest fish went about 24-25" and was hooked in water that was about 6" deep. I saw a wake as the fish chased the "McCunes Sculpin". I set the hook and the fish exploded. We landed a ton of whitefish, rainbows and browns. Quite a few browns and a few rainbows went over 18".
This was one of Zack's best days fishing, ever. He landed 20 fish +/-. Although most of them were whitefish, Zack thought, a fish is a fish, especially on a fly rod. There was also a small feeder creek where I caught a rare yellowstone cutthroat. It went about 18". There are a lot of cutts in the Yellowstone, but they typically are further upstream towards Gardiner. All in all it could not have been a better day.

This picture tells it all. This is what it is all about. Spending time with friends, children, grand children, and grand parents. Sharing the day floating a river in a beautiful environment. Seeing bald eagles, otters, and deer. Catching and releasing fish to be enjoyed on another day. Making "traditions".

My mom, Geri, with a nice rainbow caught on the Yellowstone. Way to go Mom!

If you're in the Bozeman area call "The Rivers Edge" for good fishing information, flies, guiding etc.

Call The Rivers Edge and if you're looking for a guide ask for Nathan and tell him Zack sent you.

2012 N. 7th Ave, Bozeman, MT 59715 • Phone: 406.586.5373 •

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Nuts & Bolts #4 - The Davy Knot

Want to learn something new? Want to have all your friends go how'd you do that. Well here you go, the "Davy Knot" will do the trick.

Davy Wotton, competed for many years for the Welsh national fly fishing team and in individual professional events. Through trial and error, he invented a knot that allowed him to attach a fly in seconds. He appropriately dubbed it "the Davy knot." This knot is so easy and simple to tie, it sometimes seems difficult! Once you use this knot, you may not use another one!

The Davy knot is fast and strong. Unlike other knots that are used to attach flies, the tippet is not pulled down on the knot to burn and weaken the mono. This knot is the knot of choice in fly fishing competitions and has been known to be used without a single failure. One competitor claims that he used the "Davy Knot" and in 12 months he had only one knot break in hundreds of hours of use. Sound Good? Well here's how you tie it.

Follow these instructions to tie the knot:

1. Take your fly and pass your tippet through the bottom of the eyelet. Turn the fly upside down so the hook point is turned up or on the top.

2. With the fly extended to the left, pull or extend about three or four inches of tippet through the eye.

3. Take your tag piece of mono and pass over the top of the main leader (away from you) and draw it back through, making a loop.

4. Take the tippet and pass it under, then over the top of the bottom leg of the loop. If you have been successful, the tag end will point directly toward you.

5. To secure the knot, bite the tag piece and pull the leader end taut, causing the knot to close. If you have tied the Davy knot properly, the knot is firmly fastened and will not slip.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Damsels in Distress

Here's a video that was just sent to me from a fly fishing friend. It is called "Damsel's in Distress". Enjoy!

Damsels in Distress from Sharptail Media on Vimeo.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Patterns - The Skwala Stone and the Lower Yuba River

Skwala Pattern Notes

When matching the Lower Yuba River Skwalas remember that the bugs here locally are different in color than their cousins in Washington and Montana. A lot of the patterns for sale in the flyshops or on-line are different in color. Our local Skwalas have an abdomen that is a dirty yellow with a slight olive tinge. Also, the wings are dark gray. This is where it really pays to collect some specimens from the river and take them home to match the color.

Look for the shucks around the bushes and rocks to give you an idea on recent hatch activity. Catch an adult, turn over some rocks and catch a nymph. Match the color and size.

Skwala Nymph’s Characteristics

Color: Dirty Olive with a slight olive tinge, lighter on bottom sometimes yellowish

Size: 17-21mm

Defining physical characteristics: Two long antennae, two tails, 2 separate pair of wing pads, 3 sets of legs, external hair-like gills between legs, t-shaped claws at end of each leg.

Skwala Dry Fly Notes

Adults Color: Olive to dark brown with mottled orange around the legs

Size: 17-21mm

Defining Physical Characteristics: Adult female Skwala's will have a pronounced egg sack dark purple to black in color and about 2-3mm in diameter under their abdomens. The female Skwala sits low in the surface film while she is depositing her eggs and will be readily available to trout.

Pattern Characteristics

Most Dry Skwala patterns are imitated by a Stimulator type pattern. They are tied in a size #10, with a 3x long hook. It is important that your pattern sits low in the surface film. If you watch the female adult on the water, you will see that it looks like a stick with moving legs. The low riding Skwala Dries should have the female’s prominent black egg sack. Trim the hackle on the bottom of the fly so it will to settle into the surface film.

Fishing Techniques

When are the times to imitate Skwalas to be sucessful:

  • As active nymphs they are often found in the water/food column for the trout, being knocked loose and free drifting. This is especially true during pre-hatch periods when their movement activity increases dramatically.

  • They are also available to the trout as the female adult returns to the water to lay eggs.

  • On a windy day as the adult is blown on to the water, and;

  • As a spent adult that falls on the water to die.
How to Present Imitations

  • Use as either an impressionistic searching fly or as a realistic imitation when matching the hatch

  • Drift the fly through different water types; faster riffles and shallower water near the banks of a river with moderate to slow currents are the most productive water types for this fly

  • Skwala stoneflies are available to trout during the early season (January – April) on the Lower Yuba River

  • Hatches occur consistently and with long duration throughout the daylight hours

  • Strikes on skwala stoneflies are often far from subtle because trout must often be prepared to rip these strong clingers from their rocky homes

  • When approaching a shallow water environment with a stonefly imitation, be extremely careful not to spook happily feeding trout

How to Rigg for Nymphing

Set up for nymph fishing with a two or three rigg under indicator.

  • Rigg with a tapered 9 ft 2x or 3x leader to a tippet knot.

  • Add 12 “ of 3x fluorocarbon to your favorite Skwala stone nymph imitation (Mercers Skwal Stone, hint)

  • Put split shot at the tippet knot above the stonefly nymph. The knot will stop the split shot from sliding down to the fly.

  • Tie 4x Flurocarbon tippet to the hook bend of the Stonefly nymph and extend 12” to 16” to a caddis pupa dropper.

  • Tie 5x Flurocarbon tippet to the hook bend of the caddis pupa nymph and extend 12” to 16” to a mayfly BWO or PMD nymph.
How to Rigg For Dries

  • Rigg for a standard dry fly presentation

  • Use a tapered 10 ft. 4x tapered leader

  • Extend tippet using 4x flurocarbon 24" +/-

  • Attach your favorite Skwala Dry pattern

Skwala Nymph Patterns

Hogan's Yuba Rubber Leg Stone

This is Hogan Brown's stone fly pattern. Like many of his patterns it's a keeper.


Hogan's Bottom Roller

Hogan's Bottoms Roller is another good looking stone fly nymph.


Willies Yuba Skwala Nymph

Hook: TMC or Targus 200R #4 - 14
Thread: Black
Abdomen: Copper Flashabou or Braid
Collar: Peacock Herl
Underwing: 4 Peacock Herl Tips
Overwing: Copper FlashabouHackle: Guinea
Optional: Copper bead.

Anderson’s Rubber Leg Stone

Hook- TMC5263 with weight added
Thread- Dark Brown 3/0
Tail- White round rubber leg sections
Abdomen- Cream on bottom to match hares ear thorax and medium brown woven synthetic fuzzy yarn on top
Legs- White round rubber leg material
Thorax- Medium brown hares ear and muskrat dubbing left shaggy.\

Pattern Designer: George Anderson.

Note: Adjust coloration to naturals on the Lower Yuba

The People's Stonefly
Created by Jeff Morgan
HOOK: Dai Riki 700BB, sizes 6-10
THREAD: To match body color
UNDERBODY: Lead wire or tape, flattened and cut to shape
TAIL: Golden-brown goose biots, tied in a "V"
BODY: Tan Kaufmann's blend
BACK: Brown Body Stretch
RIB: Fine brass or copper wire
THORAX: To match body
LEGS: Two pairs of black rubber legs
WINGCASES: Three sections of brown body stretch, cut into "Vs"
ANTENNAE: Golden-brown good biots, tied in a "V"
HEAD: Brass bead


Mercer’s Skwala Stone

Available through

This pattern one of my favorite stone fly patterns. You can purchase in on-line.

Dry Patterns

I have found photos of various Skwala Dry Fly patterns. I do not have the recipes. Some of these flies wre available online bit I should note that you will be able to better match the Lower Yuba Skwalas if you tie your own. A mentioned earlier catch a dry Skwala specimin and match the coloration and size.

Hogan's Split Wing Skwala Stone

This Hogan Brown Pattern has been proven on the Lower Yuba.


This pattern was developed by Randall Kaufmann.

Credit for the Stimulator’s design is often given to master fly tyer Randall Kaufmann, who promoted the fly heavily in the western United States.

Kaufmann’s Olive Stimulator is a perfect imitator of that, limited, but often highly productive early season hatch of Skwala stoneflies. With its subdued olive floss body, stiff elk hair wing, and supportive hackle, this fly will ride neatly and visibly on the water’s surface – just where those hungry Montana and Washington trout want it.
Note: The colors of this pattern should be adjusted and matched to the colors of the Lower Yuba Skwala.


This pattern used elk hair for floatation, rubber legs for movement, Light elk hair for visability.


I like how this pattern is tied very sparse. It looks like it would be easy to cast.


This is a foam pattern that should float like a cork.