Stoneflies provide a tantalizing food source in trout streams all across the Northern Hemisphere. The larger source of potential protein for the trout keeps these bugs on their radars throughout the year. Several fly patterns such as the stimulator, double bead stone, rubber legs, foam body stone, and little black stone have been around for decades and have fooled many hungry trout. Throughout most of the world, large or blanket stonefly hatches are uncommon. However, this does not stop trout from targeting these large bugs as an easy meal. These patterns will not only pull these trout from where the lie, but also serve as excellent options for a dry dropper rig.
Best Stonefly Dry Fly Patterns
The Stimulator, Foam Body Stone, and Little Black Stone are popular dry fly patterns that do an excellent job of imitating the various stonefly species. Each shine at different times of the year when different stoneflies are present.
The Stimulator is without a doubt the most popular stonefly imitation and a must have for any fly box. Along with being excellent patterns for golden stoneflies, giant stoneflies, and several smaller species, they can also imitate larger caddis. On smaller streams they are great at suspending a dry dropper rig without causing the disturbance of a larger foam body fly.
Foam Body Stonefly
These stonefly patterns are great when imitating the larger salmonfly and giant stonefly species. Many variants exist, but all are effective at targeting trout. The popular chubby chernobyl, typically a grasshopper imitation, may also fit into this category. These flies can float the heaviest of nymphs, even at depth.
Little Black Stone
This pattern is a must in the winter and early spring months when small winter stoneflies and other small stonefly species are more abundant. These flies can also look similar to midges and small BWOs that may be present during those months.
Best Stonefly Nymph Patterns
Double Beaded Stones, Pat's Rubber legs, and a handful of segmented stonefly patterns do most of the heavy lifting as stonefly nymphs. These nymphs have the ability to pull trout from further away than most flies. Getting them down to the bottom can be critical to receiving the most bites possible.
Double Beaded Stone
This fly is very dense by design and can get down through the water column quickly. The best sizes are typically in the size 10-14 range. This pattern is a perfect anchor fly on multi-fly rigs.
Pat's Rubber Legs
The Rubber Legs and its variants are excellent stone fly imitations that are too much of an easy, oversized meal for trout to pass up on. It's simplicity makes the pattern great for beginning tiers. Flies in sizes 6 to 12 work great in bringing trout to the net.
Segmented Stonefly Nymphs
Not an official pattern name, but a common group of stonefly imitations. These flies are very buggy in appearance and are typically more complicated patterns to tie. Its never a bead idea to have several of these on hand.
Our article on What Do Trout Eat takes a deeper dive into the trout's diet. Learn more Fly Fishing a Hatch and about the best flies for trout in our related articles on The Best Caddis Fly Patterns, The Best Mayfly Fly Patterns, Streamer Fishing for Trout, and Filling out your Fly Box.