Small Black Stonefly

Other Common Names: Small Brown Stonefly, black stonefly, winter stonefly, winter black stonefly, early brown stonefly
Scientific Names: families Nemouridae, Capniidae, Leuctridae

Many fly anglers are unfamiliar with the black (or brown) stoneflies. They have excuses: the insects is small and not as glamorous as salmonflies or golden stoneflies; hatches are rarely intense; and the insects hatch January through April, when many anglers have hung up the rod for the winter. But trout do not ignore these bugs, and when one lands on the water it is soon inhaled by a hungry trout.

Nymphs are rarely taken by trout until the hatch season. By February, however, a nymph pattern dead-drifted near the bottom can pick up a fish or two.

The adults are much more interesting. Females lay eggs sporadically throughout the day, so you won't see big mating swarms. They land on the water and release their eggs--quickly because trout are looking for them and will take them eagerly.

Look carefully in streamside vegetation and on snowbanks. When you find a stonefly (about size 12), match its size and color with a Parachute Black Stone or Elk Hair Caddis .


NYMPH COLOR: Shades of brown

ADULT SIZE: 6-12 mm

ADULT COLOR: Wings--smoky gray to nearly black. Body--dark brown or black body and head.

OTHER CHARACTERISTICS: Nymph--few or no external gill filaments.


Click on the fly name to see the pattern. Click on the presentation to learn how to do it.

Nymph Hares Ear 12-16
Dark brown
indicator, tight line Bankwater, slow-moderate runs
Egg-layer Elk Hair Caddis 12-16
Black, dark brown
standard dry fly Bankwater, slow-moderate runs
Stimulator 12-16
Black, dark brown
standard dry fly Bankwater, slow-moderate runs