Shop Orvis Today!

Euro Early Black Stone Pattern & Tying Instructions

Fly Tying Recipe: Euro Early Black Stone
Black barbless jig hook (here, a Lightning Strike JF2), size 16
Black nickel slotted tungsten bead, 3/32-inch
Fluorescent orange, 8/0 or 70-denier
Antennae / tails:
Black Centipede Legs, mini
Black Stretch Round Rib, small
Hot spot:
Tying thread
Head cement or Hard-As-Nails
Plunger-style hackle pliers, bodkin
Show / Hide Euro Early Black Stone Transcript

Video Transcript:

Euro Early Black Stone

The early black stoneflies are just beginning to show here in New Jersey and although there’s still plenty of winter, these little guys, to me, represent the start of the spring bug season. They have a number of distinguishing features, but I feel it might be their long antennae and tails that they shake with reckless abandon that really help to attract a trout’s attention.

I’ve used the same nymph pattern for years and have extreme confidence in its fish-catching ability. I can’t think of a time when it has let me down. But I’m never adverse to trying something different, so this year I’ll be giving a new model a shot. It’s a bit fussier than the old one to tie but sports a super slender profile and incorporates some weight and a hot spot collar. My hopes are high.

For a hook, I like a Lightning Strike JF2 in size 16. I’ll get hold of one with plunger-style hackle pliers and set it aside for just a second. I’ll then stab a 3/32” black nickel slotted tungsten bead with my bodkin. With the small hole of the bead pointed up and directly between my fingertips, I can easily insert the point of the hook into the hole and work the bead around onto the hook shank. I’ll then get the whole assembly firmly secured in the jaws of my tying vise with the bead back on the hook bend.

For thread, I’ve loaded a bobbin with a spool of UTC 70 Denier in fluorescent orange. Get your thread started on the hook shank an eye length or so behind the front bend and take several wraps rearward before snipping or breaking off the tag. You don’t want to build up thread here. Giving your bobbin a counterclockwise spin to flatten out the thread really helps. Advance your thread forward and then down to the hook eye.

Black mini centipede legs from the Montana Fly Company are a favorite material of mine because they’re so incredibly thin and move like nothing else. Snip a single strand free from the hank and then double it over so the tips are roughly aligned. Place the aligned tips so they extend about a half inch beyond the hook eye and then take nice, tight thread wraps to secure them to the shank. Again, you don’t want to build up too much bulk. After a few wraps, snip the excess material off close but don’t discard it. Put it away for safekeeping, as you’ll be using it in just a minute. Do a couple of half hitches or a short whip finish to secure your tying thread and then cut it free. You can then push the bead up over the initial thread wraps until it rests correctly behind the hook eye.

Pick up your tying thread and get it started on the hook shank, with the idea of keeping the underbody of the fly thin and even. Once your thread’s secured, you can snip or break the tag off close. Wrap forward to relocate your thread to the back edge of the bead. Get hold of the centipede legs you set aside, fold them in half and secure the loop end to the top of the hook shank. Pull rearward on the material to stretch it out as you take thread wraps to bind it down on top of the shank. Make sure to go all the way to the start of the bend. You should notice that the tails naturally want to splay. Again, thinking smooth, slim and even, advance your thread up to the bead. Then, get hold of the loop and snip it off nice and close.

The body of the fly is created using small brown stretch round rib. Place one end of the material on top of the hook shank and take thread wraps to secure it, letting thread torque carry it to the far side as you go. Bind it down all the way to the base of the tail. Yet again, relocate your tying thread up the hook shank to behind the bead. Give a little stretch to the rib and start taking touching wraps with it to create an evenly segmented body on the fly. Do your best to keep the wraps as touching as possible but I feel a few little spaces actually helps with the realism of the pattern as does the mottled appearance of the body. Or maybe I’m just thinking too hard. Anyway, use your tying thread to secure the rib at the back edge of the bead and then snip the excess off close. Ideally, you want the leftover little nubbin to land right in the slot of the bead. Continue taking thread wraps to build up a short hot spot collar. Get hold of your whip finish tool and do a 4 or 5 turn whip finish, making sure to seat the knot well before snipping or cutting your tying thread free.

Tail and antennae length is up to you, but I like them all to be right at about a full hook in length. This way they’re long enough for movement but not so long that they’ll foul or tangle. The material’s tougher than it looks but you’ll occasionally lose an appendage or two. I don’t think the trout’ll care.

To keep the thread wraps from unraveling and add some durability, I’ll coat the hot spot collar with a drop of head cement or here, Hard as Nails. Once you get going, you can whip these bad boys out at a fairly rapid rate. By the time you watch this video, this batch will have already been pressed into service.