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Dark Stonefly Nymph
By Robert Williamson

. . .The overhand knot weave as performed by most tiers involves tying in two colors of material along the hook shank. A dark-color material for the back and a light color for the belly. After the material is secured to the hook shank, the tying thread is removed after tying a whip knot or a couple of half-hitches. An overhand knot is then formed out in front of the hook eye and the pushed over the eye with the dark color on top, light color on bottom. This knot is pushed into place and then cinched down snug. The process is repeated until the desired-length body is formed.

. . .If you like to try techniques that require a little dexterity, give the following pattern a try.

Hand and Finger Movements for the Overhand Knot Weave

Step 1: Tie in the material for the body. This can be yarn, embroidery yarn, Larva Lace or any other material suitable for weaving a body. Larva Lace is easier to work with when learning this technique; it is smooth and doesn't fray like yarn-type materials. Choose a dark-colored material for the back and a light-colored material for the belly. Tie the material in on each side of the hook shank. Bind the material down toward the bend of the hook. For these instructions tie the dark material on the far side of the hook shank and the light material on the side of the hook shank closest to you.

Step 2: Turn the vise toward you and lower it a little. You want to be able to look down on the top of the hook shank so you can watch the weave as it progresses.

Step 3: Begin the weave by taking the light-colored material with your left hand and passing it under the shank forming a loop in the material. This is held in place with the middle finger of the left hand, leaving the thumb and index finger of the left hand free.

Step 4: Take the dark-colored material with the right hand and pass it over the hook shank and down through the loop formed by the light-colored material. This will form a loop in the dark-colored material.

Step 5: Reach through the loop of dark-colored material with the thumb and index finger of the right hand and grab the light-colored material; at the same time grab the dark-colored material with the left-hand thumb and index finger. Simultaneously pull the materials away from the hook shank in opposite directions to form a knot around the hook shank. Make sure the knot is nice and snug.

Step 6: Continue this process until you reach the desired body length. The dark-and light-colored materials will changed sides of the hook with each new knot.Be sure to take the light-colored material UNDER the shank and the dark-colored material OVER the shank to get the desired look.

Step 7: When you get the desired body length, pull both colors forward and bind them down. Clip off the excess material. You now have a woven body.

Materials List:

    Hook:   Tiemco 200R, Size 4, 6.

    Thread:   Black.

    Tail:   Black rubber leg material.

    Abdomen:  Black and orange Larva Lace.

    Thorax:  Multi-colored synthetic dubbing; heavy on gray.

    Wingcase:  Lacquered pheasant rump feather.

    Legs:  Black rubber leg material.

    Antennae:   Black rubber leg material.

As with many of the flyfishers and fly-tiers in the West, I'm facinated with the large stoneflies. The species Pteronarcys californica has been particularly interesting. I was in my early twenties when I found out that this large nymph was found in one of the smaller rivers I consistently fished. This surprised me a bit, because I knew the nymphs were found in many large western rivers but was unaware that they could be found in the smaller rivers and streams too. I began to experiment with different stonefly nymph patterns and eventually settled on this woven-body style.

I make no claims that this stonefly nymph will catch more trout than other patterns out there. I like the way it looks and it catches its share of fish. In the larger sizes it works well before, during, and right after a salmonfly hatch.

This pattern catches the silhouette of the natural. The Antron thorax catches and carries air bubbles like the gill tufts on the natural. The rubber leg material give it some lifelike movement as it tumbles around in the currents. The Larva Lace woven-body gives it a sheen and segmentation that is attractive.

Tying Instructions:

1. Tie in a tail of black rubber leg material. This is easily done by cutting a two-inch piece and folding it in half. Bind the doubled-up part on top of the hook shank, near the bend of the hook. Maneuver it into position, forming a split tail.

2. Tie in an eight-inch piece of black Larva Lace on the far side of the shank. Tie this down to where the tail begins. Tie in a piec of orange Larva Lace on the near side of the shank, and tie it down to where the tail begins.

3. Turn the vise toward you and begin to perform the overhand weaving technique found above. Weave the body to slightly forward of the middle of the shank.

4. Pull both colors of the Larva Lace forward, bind the down and trim excess.

5. Tie in a lacquered pheasant rump feather where the body ends. Tie this in with the dull side facing up. This will be used to form the wingcase.

6. Tie in two pieces of black rubber leg material to form the legs, one on each side of the shank.

7. Dub a thick thorax. Wind the dubbing behind, between, and in front of the rubber legs. Be sure to leave a little room behind the eye of the hook.

8. Pull the pheasant feather forward over the dubbing to form the wingcase. Tie this down behind the eye of the hook. Clip off excess.

9. Tie in two more pieces of black rubber leg material, one on each side of the hook. This will make the last set of legs and antennae.

10. Whip finish. Trim the legs, tails and antennae to size. Pick out the dubbing and trim it, if necessary, to give it a buggy look. Completed Dark Stone Nymph. ~ Robert Williamson

Credits: The Dark Stone Nymph is one of the many excellent instructional flies presented in Robert Williamson's book, Creative Flies - Innovative Tying Techniques, published by Frank Amato Publications.

For more great flies, check out: Beginning Fly Tying, Intermediate Fly Tying and Advanced Fly Tying.

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