Fly Fishing ... Targeting Steelhead with the Stonefly Nymph


When the steelhead start navigating their way up our Northwest Indiana's Lake Michigan tributaries (spring, fall and winter runs), a proven technique for hooking-up is drifting a stonefly nymph along the seams / edges of soft water created by structure (such as a rock pile, submerged island, bottom depression, fallen timber) that provides relief from the current for these fish. Five key components of nymphing to be successful are ...

  • Get your nymph down to the fish. Every so often, your nymph should be bumping the bottom - the depth and current speed will dictate how high up on the leader to set the indicator and whether it necessary to add weight (split shot, putty).

  • A drag free drift is a must to trigger the strike. Your nymph needs to appear drifting naturally and freely moving into the fish's line of sight and strike zone.

  • During the drift, keep slack line to a minimum. Having some slack line is necessary, allowing the indicator to drift freely.

  • Watch your strike indicator throughout the drift.

  • Strike immediately if you see the indicator starts to dip, stop or change direction. When striking immediately, do so lightly to avoid pulling the nymph out of the fish's mouth or snapping your tippet.

My "Go To" Stonefly Nymph for Steelhead

Hook - TMC 200R
Sizes - 6 to 12
Beadhead - Gold
Thread - Black
Weight - Lead-free Wire
Tail - Black Turkey Biots
Rib - Black V-Rib
Abdomen - Black Life Cycle Dubbing
Legs - Black Round Rubber
Wingcase - Turkey Tail (3 sections & treated with Fleximent)
Throax - Black Life Cycle Dubbing
Antennae - Black Turkey Biots
Collar - Black Life Cycle Dubbing