With summer in full swing and and temperatures rising everywhere across the states an excellent pattern to use during runoff is the 20”er. The 20”er is a stonefly imitation and though it works great year round at your favorite tailwater, it is runoff season where all fish are keying in on the larger bugs that are getting stirred up by the increasing water flows. As water temperatures rise, stoneflies begin their emerging cycle and work their way out from underneath rocks and river debris to find a nice spot along a river bank to molt. In their transition from the river bottom to the river surface they often get dislodged in the higher water flows making them an easy snack for a hungry trout.
Traditionally this fly has been tied on barbed hooks over the years but we’ve adapted this pattern to be tied / fished on jigged hooks. With the way jigged patterns ride hook up through the water almost all the fish you’ll catch will be in the upper lip. We love the jig hook and the fact that it’s barbless causes the fish less trauma during a release. Since stoneflies are pretty big, we only tie this on a size 10 - 400BL jigged hook with a 4mm slotted tungsten bead. This fly gets down fast as you really want this pattern riding right off the river bottom. When the water flows are moving, you need a fly that is going to get down quickly and if you want to be extra dirty, tie on a beaded san juan worm as a trailer off your 20”er. All fish are keying in on easy meals during run off and big flies and worms are just a natural combo to fish together.
Stoneflies work year round which is one reason we always have a couple of 20”ers on standby in our Yakoda Fly Tins at all times. It’s no secret that trout want a big easy meal so you might as well feed them one! Oh, and if you were wondering why the fly is called a 20”er, well tie a few up, fish them deep and see what happens!