Libby's Stonefly - Salmonfly Flavor
Cheech May, 2021
One day I got a text from a good buddy of ours who has been tying flies and fishing very technical waters for many years... We'll just call him Jared for the sake of the story (and because that's his real name), but Jared came to me and challenged me to create a salmonfly that wasn't based on foam. Also, his 10 year old daughter Libby has been supervising his tying desk for a few years now, so we decided to name this project after her. I really love these types of challenges, and my mind immediately started churning through ideas. I could go the deer/elk and hackle route, but stimulators and sofa pillows (BTW if you use more than half a pound of hackle on your stimmy, it is most likely a sofa pillow, and it might just impede your fly from hooking fish) but I digress... the stimulator route had been run many many times. I settled on CDC and started right in on the fly design, but only after Jared had sent me pics of the actual salmonflies that he was trying to imitate. I have fished salmonflies for years, but the first thing that I realized upon studying the pictures is that most commercially available patterns are WAY too orange and bright. The other thing that was a blaring difference for me was that the body wasn't really black, it wasn't really brown, and it definitely wasn't bright orange. The color that I went with was kind of a dusty black that I found in the Hemingway beaver plus dubbing that is listed in the recipe. It's kind of black, but kind of a dark dark gray. After tying many of these flies, I also found that Semperfli Dirty Bug Yarn makes a very good body in a variety of colors. There is one called Mottled Olive that actually works really well for this fly.
After I tracked down the materials, it was just a process of making sure that the overall shape of the bug was accurate. Two thin tails, thick abdomen all the way down to the tails, six legs, beefy thorax, narrow wing that lays on top of the body, small head, antennae, and some type of buoyant feather to make a size 4 hook float. You'll want to watch the video, but it turns out that 9 CDC feathers will float this bug just fine.
Jared was the first person I shared this bug with, and he said that it floats high and has maximum movement on the water, oh yeah, and the fish DEFINITELY agree with a size 4 CDC bug. This one is a blast to tie, and it can easily be adapted to be a golden stone, skwala, or your favorite stonefly hatch.