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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Copper John -- Skwala Style

How to get a two-toned body

copper john stonefly fly pattern
Two-Toned Skwala Style Copper John
Sit back and get ready for a 2 hour long dissertation on the merits and history of fishing a Copper John. Or not. Suffice it to say, the CJ is a standard nymph pattern. Suffice it to say that here at Fly Fish Food, we tend to throw a curve at the "stand by" patterns.

This is a round-about imitation of a Skwala Stonefly nymph. Obviously not exact and it's meant to be more of an overall searching pattern for the spring. It will sink like a rock and get down fast.

The two-tone method on the wire is actually comprised of three separate strands of wire -- two yellow and one brown -- all wrapped forward at the same time. Check out the video to get the main idea.

Two-Toned Skwala Copper John

Material List

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Hook: Fulling Mill 35025 Grab Gape Hook, Barbless - 10     
Bead: Plummeting Tungsten Beads - Black Nickel - 5/32" (3.8mm)     
Thread: Danville Flat Waxed Nylon Thread - 70 Denier - Black     
Tail: Nature's Spirit Stripped Goose Biots - Tannish Yellow     
Body 1: UTC Ultra Wire - Hot Yellow - Brassie     
Body 2: UTC Ultra Wire - Brown - Brassie     
Wing Case 1: Thin Skin - Fly Specks, Brown/Black     
Wing Case 2: Veevus Holographic Tinsel - Copper - Medium     
Thorax: Nature's Spirit Bleached Dyed Peacock Sticks - Golden Yellow     
Legs: Coq De Leon Hen Saddle - Speckled Copper Olive     
Wing Case Coat: Loon Fluorescing UV Clear Fly Finish     

Other tools from the tutorial:
C&F Design Hackle Pliers     



  1. That is one sexy ass fly. I was at the bench last night experimenting, I just got in some medium hot yellow, and medium brown- I went 2 strands and it did NOT look as good as yours with the 3 strands. Also- I was tying on a typical stonefly hook (long, down slope), but I"m think I like your cj nymph profile approach better. Awesome job.

    1. Thanks man. Curtis killed it with this bug. The real key to tying a clean copper john is laying down a nice tapered and FLAT thread base to wrap the wire over. Any bumps in the thread will show up in the wire wraps.

  2. Way to nail it Curtis! I'm thinkin sz 12 2x, black, purple and blue wire with a blue holo stripe on the wing case for a Young CJ stone. Thanks for the tutorial, its helped me a bunch!

  3. long ass time to spend on a fly that is going to get lost asap

    1. True. Just as well use cheese on a hook. Powerbait maybe, but still a bit more expensive than cheese.

    2. Night crawler on a hook is faster than powerbait... Curtis is a noob.