Our 9 Best Golden Stonefly Patterns: Best Flies Listed (2024)

Throwing big nymphs and big dries adds an extra level of excitement to fly fishing. 

These bigger patterns, like Golden Stoneflies, entice big and hungry fish. 

Golden Stones often hatch right around dusk, so some of the biggest fish are beginning to hunt and usually love to eat goldens. 

Any time you throw on a Golden Stonefly imitation in the April to October timeframe for this hatch, you can land a trophy.

All About the Golden Stonefly Hatch

A river with a Golden Stonefly hatch is a good sign that the river is in good condition.

They’re not the pickiest insects, but they require high oxygenation, fast water, and consistent flows. Golden Stones are famous in the Western United States and are generally found in tailwaters and spring-fed creeks. However, the Eastern United States has a healthy population of golden stones that hatch throughout the summer.

Golden Stoneflies hatch between April and October; their life cycle is the same as many of their other stonefly relatives.

After Golden Stones hatch from their egg, they turn into nymphs. They’ll stay nymphs for somewhere between one and three years. They eat fungi, bacteria, and even some other insects. As they’re readying for the adult stage, they’ll climb onto the river’s edge and other dry areas to complete the shed of their exoskeletons. Once shed, the adults will spend a few weeks feeding and then mating. Finally, the females will place their eggs on the water’s surface and die.

These large insects are favorites for trout. They are too easy and delicious of a meal for them to avoid. They’ll eat the females as they lay their eggs on the water or the nymphs crawling along the bottom. Golden Stoneflies patterns are some of the most fun patterns to use.

Our Best Golden Stonefly Patterns

Clark’s Golden Stone

Clark’s Golden Stone sits slightly lower in the water, so it can work great in that fast water if tied properly. Fish this right at the start of a golden stonefly hatch. This is a dry fly pattern you need in your fly box.

Fly Tying Materials

Pat’s Rubber Legs

Pat’s Rubber Legs is a perfect golden stonefly nymph. It’s one fly pattern that works worldwide, but it’s especially effective in rivers and streams with healthy Golden Stonefly populations. It’s an active pattern that attracts all sizes of fish.

Fly Tying Materials

Yellow Sally Stonefly

Yellow Sallys are great imitators of adult Golden Stoneflies. These flies are great attractor patterns if you need to stand out amongst other adult stoneflies. Plus, it’s fairly easy to tie.

Fly Tying Materials

  • Hook: 3x-long natural-bend hook Dai-Riki #14
  • Thread: Olive 6/0 Denier
  • Egg Sack: Orange rabbit fur dubbing
  • Abdomen: Yellow rabbit fur dubbing
  • Rib: Gold wire
  • Rear hackle: Yellow hackle
  • Wing: Bleached elk hair
  • Front hackle: Grizzly hackle
  • Thorax: Bright yellow rabbit fur

Chubby Chernobyl

The Chubby Chernobyl is the perfect dry fly option if you want versatility. It can easily imitate a Golden Stone and is a good choice for the top of your dry-dropper rig.

Fly Tying Materials

CDC Golden Stone

The CDC Golden Stone is a perfect stonefly nymph. It has great action when wet and is a good base for your dry-dropper rig. It’s effective wherever you’ll find Golden Stones.

Fly Tying Materials

Simple Golden Stone

You’ll struggle to find a more accurate Golden Stonefly nymph representation than the Simple Golden Stone. Wherever you’re fishing for with these flies, this pattern will work. Be sure to tie it in a few different sizes.

Fly Tying Materials

Libby’s Stonefly

Sometimes, fish want a buggy-looking nymph. Throw on Libby’s Stonefly on those days, and you’re in good shape.

Fly Tying Materials

Biot Stonefly

If you need a heavy fly that will get to the bottom where the fish are feeding, the Biot Stonefly is the best choice. Fish it as the first fly in a nymph rig.

Fly Tying Materials

Masked Marauder 2.0

Last on the list of best Golden Stonefly patterns is the Masked Marauder. It’s a great nymph representation that will work all summer long.

Fly Tying Materials

How To Fish a Golden Stonefly Hatch

One of the best ways to fish a golden stonefly hatch is with a dry-dropper setup. Tie on Clark’s Golden Stone and let a Pat’s Rubber Legs drift below it. This way, you can cover a ton of water and get the fish feeding on the surface and those feeding lower in the water column.

While golden stones will hatch in the mornings and evenings, some of the best fishing will happen in the evening. The larger fish are on the prowl, and golden stones are a worthy target. As the sun is setting, don’t pack up and leave. Throw large golden stonefly dries and wait for some of those larger fish to strike.

It’s also important to fish in fast water. Generally, they’re sitting on rocks, and fish are used to eating them here. Let your dry or nymph float through the riffles and wait for a strike.

If you’re fishing dries, don’t feel the need to be perfect with your presentation. They’re uncoordinated flies, so it’s relatively common for them to smack the water. A less-than-perfect presentation can work in your favor.

Don’t hesitate to give it action once the fly is on the water. Adult golden stoneflies are active on the water, so vary your retrieve, and don’t be afraid to move the rod tip and get it moving.

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Danny Mooers is a passionate fly fishing and angling writer from Arizona. Danny loves sharing his passion for fly fishing for trout and other species through his work for Tackle Village.
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