This is fellow New Jersey fly tier and Regal Pro Staff member John Collin’s Electric Steelie Stone. Although it might look a little complicated here, it’s actually fairly easy to tie. The pattern has proven itself over the last several years on steelhead in both Lake Erie and Ontario tribs.
For a hook, John doesn’t mess around and uses an extremely robust and good looking Daiichi 2151 in size 6.
For thread, he’s loaded a bobbin with a spool of royal blue 6/0 Uni. Get your thread started on the hook shank, halfway between the back edge of the eye and the end of the return. Continue taking thread wraps all the way down the shank to just past the hook barb, making sure to leave a tag that’s about 2” long. End with your thread at the hook point.
Blue goose biots are used for the tails and the antennae. Strip four of them free from the stem. Place one biot on the far side of the hook so its tip splays outward. It should extend to about 1/4” beyond the bend. Take a few wraps of tying thread to anchor it then place a second biot against the near side of the hook so its tip is even with the first and also splays outward. While squeezing the biots together, bind them to the hook shank so they kind of tent over top of it. Take turns all the way to the end of your original thread wraps. Pull the tag end of the thread forward between the biots, this will help them to stay split. Use your tying thread to bind the tag to the top of the hook shank, then reach in with your tying scissors and snip it off close. With your scissors in hand, snip off just the uneven butts of the goose biots, the remainder will help add bulk to the body. Take wraps forward to the end of the hook return.
For the antennae, lay one biot on the far side of the hook, this time so it splays inward and use nice, tight thread wraps to bind it down. Do the same with the biot on the near side of the hook. The antennae should be a bit shorter than the tails. Once again, to build bulk, leave the biots long and only snip off the raggedy butt ends. Bind these down leaving your thread just a little ways up from the base of the tail.
Now comes the fun part. The abdomen of the fly is created using clear, small-sized stretch tubing along with blue brassie-sized ultra wire, 8” of each should be plenty. Start by carefully feeding one end of the tubing over one end of the wire. The key is to push and spin the tubing onto and around the wire rather than push the wire through the tubing. Take your time and you’ll get it. With a small amount of wire protruding from one end of the tubing, secure just the wire to the far side of the hook shank. Pull the tubing forward and start taking thread wraps to bind it to the far side of the top of the shank. When you reach the hook return, fold the wire and tubing back and take thread wraps to secure that to the near side of the top of the hook. Continue taking thread wraps all the way back to the base of the tail. Then make touching wraps with your tying thread to completely cover all the material beneath it. At the front edge of the tubing, do a 1 or 2 turn whip finish or half hitches to secure your thread and to save your work.
Pick up a small pair of needle-nosed pliers, a tool that should be part of every tier’s gear. Use them to flatten out the entire abdomen of the fly. Once you have that done, start taking touching wraps with the tubing and the wire up the hook shank. When you reach your tying thread, use it to firmly anchor the tubing and wire then snip them off, leaving about an 1/8” or so. Use your tying thread to bind this to the top of the hook shank and create a small ramp. Once again, use the pliers to further flatten out the abdomen of the fly.
Round turkey feather that’s been dyed blue and sprayed with Krylon fixative is used to form the wing cases. Separate out a 1/4” segment, then strip it free from the stem. Snip the butt end off square then place that end over top of the hook shank and take thread wraps to secure it back to the tubing.
Pull down about 4” of tying thread and give it a light coating of dubbing wax. Senyo’s Fusion Dub is used to represent the legs and to build up the thorax of the fly. Here, John’s going to use the aptly named “Smurf” blue. With a small pinch at a time, build up a short, fairly loose dubbing noodle on your tying thread. Take wraps with the noodle forward to about the end of the hook return. Using a bodkin, fold the quill over to form the 1st of 2 wing cases, then bind it down. The back edge of the wing case should extend almost to the hook point. Now, fold the quill back and bind it down with tight wraps of tying thread then, once again, create a fairly loose “Smurf” blue dubbing noodle. Take wraps with the noodle to further develop the thorax then complete a few thread wraps at the back of the hook eye. Again, use your bodkin to fold the quill over, this time creating a 2nd wing case that extends about halfway down the first. Double the tip end of the quill back and secure it so it won’t pull free then snip the excess off close. Use your tying thread to build up a head on the fly and get everything squared away before securing the thread with a 5 or 6 turn whip finish. You can then snip your tying thread free.
These flies take a real beating so an ample coat of UV cure resin applied to the thread wraps will greatly increase durability as well as improve the look of the fly. The torch for this resin can be set to pulse which is supposed to help the resin cure absolutely tack free.
With the resin completely hardened, use your bodkin to pick out the dubbed thorax so the fibers represent the stonefly’s legs and trim them off about even with the hook point. To me, this pattern has just the right amount of detail - split tails and antennae, a nicely segmented abdomen, two wing cases and a scraggly thorax to imitate moving legs.
As many of you steelheaders know, they’re certain days when color really matters so it’s important to carry a variety. JC’s Steelie Stone can be tied using a multitude of color combinations, one of which is sure to please a super selective steelhead.