I am taking credit for creating and naming a new fly, although I have not researched whether a similar tie already exists. I was researching destinations for a fishing trip prior to my visit to the Arkansas River on 03/09/2021. One of my options was one of the sections of the South Platte River. I follow guide, Pat Dorsey, on Instagram; and a post during that time frame mentioned that little black stoneflies were present in decent numbers along the South Platte. He suggested using a black pheasant tail size 18 as an imitation. I pondered this and realized that I did not possess any small black nymphs, so I decided to cover my bases and tie a few.
I surfed YouTube and browsed some black pheasant tail patterns, and that was when I realized, that they required dyed black pheasant tails, and I had none in my possession. Over the last year I made a concerted effort to utilize the materials that I already stock in abundance rather than increasing my supply, so I contemplated replacement materials. I settled on black crystal flash, as it was the correct color, offered some flash, and worked well in an iron sally.
|Hook||Size 18 dry fly hook or nymph hook|
|Bead||Silver, size to fit hook|
|Tail||Six strands of black crystal flash|
|Rib||Fine silver wire|
|Abdomen||Fine black dubbing|
|Wing Case||Black crystal flash|
|Thorax||Black peacock ice dub|
|Legs||Black crystal flash|
Here are my steps for tying a crystal stone:
1. Put down a solid thread base over the back 2/3 of the hook shank.
2. Cut six strands of black crystal flash from the clump and tie them in on top of the hook at the midpoint of the shank.
3. Wrap over the crystal flash keeping the strands on top of the hook, until you reach the point, where the hook begins to bend.
4. Cut the tail, so it is roughly equal to the hook gap or a bit longer.
5. Tie in the fine silver wire at the midpoint and wrap back to the beginning of the tail.
6. Move the thread to a position above the hook point and twirl black dubbing on the thread. Use the bare thread to move back to the front of the tail and then build a tapered body from the tail to a point 1/3 behind the hook eye.
7. Wrap the wire forward to create a rib over the abdomen. Tie off and cut off the wire.
8. Fold the strands of crystal flash back over the abdomen and make a couple wraps to keep it pointing toward the tail.
9. Use black peacock ice dub to create a nice thorax that is thicker than the abdomen.
10. Fold the six strands of black crystal flash forward over the top of the thorax and tie down behind the bead with some secure wraps. Use your fingers if necessary to spread the fibers so they have a decent width for a wing case.
11. Separate the six fibers that protrude over the eye of the hook into two clumps of three, and then fold each back and lock down with some wraps, so the legs point backward along the sides of the body. Build a collar behind the bead and whip finish.
12. Cut the legs to an even length, so they extent slightly beyond the wing case.
13. Optionally apply a bead of UV resin to the wing case and cure.
I know I am biased, but I tied five of these, and I think they look great. They are the right size, totally black, and they display an eye-grabbing amount of flash. I tried one at the start of my day on the Arkansas River on 03/09/2021, but I was unable to interest the trout in my new creation. Perhaps little black stoneflies are more prevalent in the South Platte drainage. Once the recent snowstorm disappears, I hope to visit the South Platte for another test of the crystal stone.