Dry Stoneflies, Anyone?
Am I the only fly tyer who has had difficulty finding good dry fly saddles large enough to tie #8 and #6 dry Stoneflies? It’s time to get ready for the Deschutes. Maybe some of you are headed to Montana, or wherever. I hear rumors that these big juicy bugs fish well all over the world. Some of us are traditionalists who prefer to fish nicely hackled dry flies instead of foam bodied gizmos.
There are practical reasons to fish a well-hacked dry stonefly also. If fish are keying into dead adults, a low rider may be just the ticket. If, however, they are keying on egg-laying, fluttering above the river, touch-and-go stoneflies – well, the high-floating fly will take first prize every cast.
Back in the 1960s, 7os, and even 80s, it was easy to find large dry fly brown saddles. In those days, it was difficult to find good dry fly saddles for size #14 and smaller flies.
Not now. Now it is really difficult to find dry fly hackles suitable for a fly larger than #12. Check out the Whiting 100 Packs: they are only offered in size #12 and smaller. This is a dilemma for most of us.
Surprise! Probably not such a secret, but I figured out that the Dyed Grizzly Saddles we have been using to tie our big nasty Intruders for salmon and steelhead just happen to be perfect for tying dry stoneflies in sizes #6, #8, and #10. Not in pink, or blue, or purple, mind you. But the brown, hot orange, and even olive colors make really nice dry stoneflies.
I examined one of these dyed grizzly saddle patches, brown, straight off the rack. The saddle patches are about 15-16” long. The individual feathers are mostly 10” or so in length. Each feather will tie several well-hackled stoneflies. I have tied flies with all brown, all olive, and a combination of these colors with the hot orange.
One of my most popular commercial stoneflies back in the 70s and 80s was a Tied Down Caddis, #8 3xl, palmered with brown-dyed-orange saddle hackle.
‘Nuf said. Another use for these saddle patches. How great to have a saddle patch that ties Intruders and dry stoneflies. Almost more than I can bear.