Fixed-Line Fly Fishing Kebari & Fly Tying

Winter Fishing & the Jiggy Little Black Stonefly

Fly Tying Tutorial by Stephen Myers

The little black stone is a fly I have grown to love in the cold, lower flows that are common throughout the winter here in Colorado. Once ice starts to form on the river every night, activity slows down quite a bit in the streams across the front range. Fish go into “winter lies” behind rocks, in eddies, and deep pools. Wherever there is adequate oxygen and slow current as to not expend too much energy, an opportunistic trout awaits. Many times, I have sight fished in winter and watched my fly pass the same fish over and over, only when I had got the fly within a hair of the fish’s mouth did it strike. You may not catch as many fish in the winter as you do in summer, but the fishing is very technical, and you can improve your casting and fly presentation skills much faster when you are desperate to hook up with a rewarding winter beauty. 

Stephen Myers - Glacier Creek RMNP

Enter the little black stonefly. Often overlooked, it’s the first real insect productivity that happens on most streams. This pattern works extremely well when plummeted into deeper pools or bounced along through rolling riffles. The undersized tungsten bead provides weight to the fly without being cumbersome to cast with a tenkara rod. Anyone who has fished with me over the past few years knows I love to tie and fish tungsten jigs for use with my tenkara rods, for no other reason than they will produce fish in a wide variety of conditions and keep me out of the rocks and other snags. Try this fly on your next winter fishing trip!

Materials List:

  • Size 14 Jig Hook
  • 2.8mm Black Tungsten Bead
  • Black Thread – 8/0
  • Black Goose Biots
  • Black Peacock Ice Dub
  • Golden Pheasant Neck Feathers

Tying Instructions:

  1. Begin by adding the tungsten bead on the jig hook
Stephen Myers - Jiggy Little Black Stonefly - Step 1

2. Wrap black thread down the shank of the hook and tie in two black goose biots

Stephen Myers - Jiggy Little Black Stonefly - Step 2

3. Wrap up the hook towards the bead to create a body

Stephen Myers - Jiggy Little Black Stonefly - Step 3

4. Tie in two more black goose biots to create the thorax 

Stephen Myers - Jiggy Little Black Stonefly - Step 4

5. Dub the thorax with black peacock ice dub

Stephen Myers - Jiggy Little Black Stonefly - Step 5

6. Tie in a small portion of golden pheasant neck feathers to create a “stuck wing” look 

Stephen Myers - Jiggy Little Black Stonefly - Step 6

7. Split the golden pheasant with the black goose biots and tie them down just behind the bead

Stephen Myers - Jiggy Little Black Stonefly - Step 7

8. Lightly dub behind the bead and whip finish with head cement on the thread

Stephen Myers - Jiggy Little Black Stonefly - Step 8


Stephen Myers is an environmental scientist/writer and fishing guide currently living in Colorado. He has been practicing tenkara since 2014.

This article originally appeared in the Winter 2017-18 issue of Tenkara Angler magazine.

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