About 15 years ago or so, I weaseled my way into the fly fishing competition when the ESPN Great Outdoor Games came to the Henry’s Fork. I managed to win the pre-competition casting accuracy event on the first day, but on a slow fishing day in April, I landed only a single trout—a 13-inch rainbow. I released the fish, assuming I’d catch something a little bigger for the records. I didn’t.
To this day, failing to record that fish is one of my biggest regrets—had I done so, I would have moved on to the regional finals and had a shot to fish in the national finals on the Truckee River in Lake Tahoe, Calif. But I didn’t, and I went back to my newspaper gig. That was my only brush with competitive fly fishing.
The guy who did win the event on the Henry’s Fork fished with a big stonefly nymph—a size 8 monstrosity. Today, I almost always have big stonefly nymph patterns and Girdle Bugs in my Henry’s Fork fly box. When you watch somebody cash a $10,000 check at your expense, you better learn something, right?
So today, when I watched Tim Flagler tie the Get it Down Pat’s fly in the video above, I made a mental note to tie a few of these in the coming weeks for the spring fishing that I love on the Henry’s Fork. This fly is a glorified Girdle Bug weighted with tungsten and lead-free wire. As Tim says, “It sinks like a stone.” Get it?
If your local river or stream has a stonefly hatch in the early summer, spring is the time to start using stonefly nymph patterns. And this one is as good as any. Enjoy.
— Chris Hunt