I started fishing for steelhead back in 2009 with my friend Scott Berrett on the Salmon River in Idaho. Over the years I've been very fortunate to have some outstanding days with trout like numbers of steelhead. Though I picked up spey fishing this fall (and thoroughly enjoyed it) most of my steelhead fishing has been done with European nymphing techniques. That first tripwith Scott I landed serendipitously, through trial and error, on two pattern styles (attractor stoneflies and Czech nymphs) that have formed the backbone of my steelhead nymph team.
The stonefly nymphs I fished during those early trips were just different color variations of the patterns I used for trout. They fished well but never quite dominated my catch. When I moved to Oregon last February and resurrected my steelhead box for my local rivers, I started experimenting with new stonefly patterns. I quickly landed on this version, which I dubbed the Magneto Stone because of it's undeniable steelhead pulling power. During one March day on a local river this year, 17 of the 18 steelhead I landed that day ate the Magneto Stone. Several times when I have kept a hatchery steelhead or used a stomach pump on a fish caught with a Magneto Stone, stoneflies were dominant in the gut contents suggesting that steelhead (and plenty of other species) take this fly as a stonefly despite the attractor style color scheme. I often catch plenty of resident rainbows and whitefish on this fly and bull trout and smallmouth bass have fallen to it as well so don't hesitate to try it on your local trout stream, especially if you mix up the color scheme.
When fishing for steelhead it is difficult to experiment and gain confidence with different patterns. You never know if you are showing your flies to fish like you do when fishing an obvious trout lie. Your fly might be a poor pattern or there might not be any steelhead where you are drifting. Because I have complete confidence in them, I fish a Magneto Stone and Magneto Czech Nymph (coming in a future tutorial) about 98% of the time and use my 3rd fly (if I'm fishing one) to experiment with different patterns. I still haven't found other patterns I trust more. Even when my friends are catching fish on egg patterns and I add one to my rig, I find the Magneto Stone and Magneto Czech Nymph still dominate my catch. Whether you're Euro-nymphing or fishing an indicator, put this fly on your line and give it a go. It hasn't disappointed me and I'm confident it will work for you as well.
I have all of the materials for this fly for sale on my site with links below. The materials are all filed under the Youtube Tutorials category in the sidebar navigation pane as well.
- Hook: Hanak 950, Hanak 970, Hanak 900
- Thread: Black 8/0 Veevus or 8/0 Uni
- Bead: FL. pink, orange, or chartreuse tungsten 3.3 or 3.8 mm
- Lead Wire: 0.020 or 0.025 depending upon how heavy you want your fly to be
- Legs: Black Lifeflex
- Ribbing: Silver Wire (Sybai .2mm or Semperfli .2mm or Uni Soft Wire Medium)
- Shellback: Black Fino Skin or ¼” Scud back
- Abdomen: Purple micro uv polar chenille
- Thorax: Black micro uv polar chenille
- Glue: Loctite Brush On or Zap a Gap Brush On