Two years ago while nymphing for steelhead on the Salmon River in Idaho I found myself struggling to catch fish. Like most anglers that day, luck was not in my favor. However, turned out that luck was not the contributing factor to my limited success. Fly selection on my part was probably more responsible for the lack of hookups than anything. This was made evident to me by my friend Chris Cutler who was the only one on the river that day not struggling to catch fish. The guy was killing it while the rest of us wore out our shoulders and pondered what he was doing different to aid in his success. I’m confident it was two things, one, he is a great angler with awesome skills, and two, he was throwing a Hot Spot Rubber Leg Stonefly which was found hanging from the mouth of many of his catches (check out Chris’ blog at Living Fly Legacy). The rest of us continued to pound the river with our own stonefly nymphs, and egg patterns, but the tide never changed in our favor. Needless to say I’ve since tied up dozens of these nymphs and will not be found on a steelhead river without plenty of them.
Traditional Rubber Leg Stonefly patterns have been catching trout like crazy for many years now. By adapting colors that are appealing to steelhead this fly becomes deadly while still being one of the easiest flies to tie around. My preferred method of nymphing is Euro Nymphing for steelhead. This tightline technique has done very well for me, and this fly pattern works very well in this setup.
It has quickly proven to be a go-to nymph, and I now started most of my days steelhead nymphing by tying one on. Simple to tie, and effective on the stream. Perfect combination!