Lets talk about stoneflies! Stoneflies are the bug that fly fisherman and women love. There are fun to see in any stage in their life and they are exciting and effective to fish with. Here are some basics for identifying stoneflies while out fishing.
The stonefly in most cases is a large bug. These bugs have two basic steps in their life cycle. First, a larval stage, which is aquatic. At this stage in life the stonefly lives in the water, breathing, eating, and avoiding being eaten themselves! They have gills that are filament like, which typically are found at the base of the legs, but not in all species. Stoneflies are also both herbivorous and carnivorous, which makes growth of these insects vary slightly. Stoneflies are long and slender, with a wide head which has long antenna coming off. A simple identification of a stone is the two tails, or cerci, that come off the rear of the abdomen.
The second life stage is an adult, which is terrestrial. As larval stoneflies develop and mature they are growing, as well as developing wings inside what is called a wing case. Once mature enough to reproduce they go though a process of molting, or in fly fishing terms “hatching”. After this process, they are now mature terrestrial adults with a pair of fully functioning wings and are ready to mate. An easy way to identify an adult stonefly is by its wings. Stoneflies have wing structure in which the wing is folded flat, parallel, across its back. If and when you spot adult stoneflies on the river, its time to get your FISH ON!
Stonefly hatches are an exciting time for fish and fly fishers! For fish it means a feast of large insects. And for the fly fishing, well lets just say make sure you learn where and when stoneflies hatch. It is an amazing experience to catch fish on large dry flies and also just to see the magnificent stoneflies “hatching”!