Early Brown Stonefly hatch is one of the earliest
hatches where you might get a chance to fish for rising trout on a freestone
stream in NorthWest Wisconsin. The hatch occurs from mid-March into
mid-April depending on the temperatures, Winter snow amounts and the
stream location. Before
the Wisconsin DNR started the early season catch & release we never got
a chance to experience this wonderful early season stonefly hatch.
The small stonefly nymphs crawl out of the water along the shoreline to shuck its nmphal case during the daylight usually during the warmest part of the day.
Especially in midday and early afternoon, but it depends on the seasonal weather. The stoneflies come back on the water to lay their eggs (ovipost) and flutter and skate across the surface. This makes for a great opportunity for some early season dry fly action to rising trout.
The early brown stonefly measures 5/8" long from head to the end of it's grayish-brown wings. The blackish body is only about 3/8" long.
Early Brown Stonefly Patterns
When the stoneflies are not fluttering on the water I use a small stonefly nymph pattern (see below) along with a strike indicator. My preferred pattern when the stoneflies are on the water oviposting is a size #14 Mustad 94840 dry fly hook, with a CDC body, a teal flank feather for the wing (tied flat) and sparsely tied grizzly hackle. When the stoneflies are fluttering on the water and getting the trout's attention I prefer a palmered hackle dryfly with a light grayish deerhair wing and well hackled in the front as well.