Clarks Stonefly

Lee Clark


Few things excite Western fly anglers more than a hatch of salmonflies --the adult form of the giant stonefly--or their slightly smaller and more brightly-colored relative the golden stonefly . Of course, you don't fish this adult imitation when the insects are actually hatching because they emerge on dry land, and few trout venture there. But for several weeks after hatching, adult salmonflies and goldens are blown out of trees and land on the river. Another point of vulnerability is when the females return to lay eggs right at dusk.

The Clarks Stone has become a popular and effective pattern on many Western rivers.


Other stonefly species can be matched by varying the hook size and body color. See the stonefly pages for colors/sizes of different species.

How to Fish

Dress the fly with floatant and use standard dry fly presentations near the bank. The best places are just downstream of downwind from overhanging trees or other vegetation.

Early in my fly fishing career, I'd heard that trout hang out near the bank and wait for salmonflies to fall in the water. I didn't believe that trout would come so close to shore, so I devised a test. I plucked a natural insect from an alder tree and dropped it onto the Deschutes. I watched as it floated downstream about two feet from the bank. About five seconds later the salmonfly disappeared as a huge trout took it down with a with a loud sucking noise. I've been a firm believer in fishing bankwater ever since.

HOOK: 1XFine wire, 2XLong shank, Turned-down eye; e.g., TMC 5212 or equivalent; sizes 4-10

THREAD: Orange

BODY: Flat gold tinsel

UNDERWING: Rust and gold macrame yarn; mix and comb out before tying

WING: Deer hair

HACKLE: Brown saddle