Fly-Tying Video: Skwala Stonefly

FlyTying Video Skwala Stonefly

The mighty Skwala—as soon as you hear someone mention this bug, you know it's spring in the Northwest. From the Bitterroot to the Clark Fork, from the Big Hole to the Beaverhead, to the Yakima and beyond, this hatch is well recognized by anglers and trout alike. And that’s with good reason: The Skwala is the first large bug of the year and the fish eat it under the surface and, more importantly, above. Anglers used to throwing tiny midges and Baetis get a reprieve by casting size-8 stones off 4X tippet.

This extended-body Skwala has a realistic look and the poly wing and foam ensure it floats great.  Leave the silicone legs fairly long when you tie this one; that way they’ll flex when you twitch this bug. The "twitch" as it's called, is important when fishing stoneflies. Rarely do we see a stonefly sitting still on the water. So, when fishing these, give them an occasional "twitch" and then a pause. Repeat until you get crushed. Be ready after each twitch as this is usually when the fish take it. One big mistake folks make when fishing this pattern is setting too soon. Wait a split-second after the take and then set the hook. Takes are usually explosive, so they can catch you off-guard. This is a great, realistic looking Skwala that for sure gets eats.


Hook: Dai Riki size 8# 270

Body: Olive 2mm sheet foam

Underwing: Grey 1mm sheet foam

Dubbing: Ice dub olive brown

Legs/Tail: Black Montana fly Co. Sexi Floss

Underwing accent: Pearl Flashabou

Thread: Black 6/0

Glue (for foam body): Zap-a-Gap

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Tyler Balich grew up in Anchorage, Alaska where, naturally, he learned to hunt and fish. He moved to north Idaho 23 years ago and now manages North 40 Fly Shop in Coeur d’Alene. When not wandering the mountains for elk, or wading rivers for cutthroat trout, or floating down Montana’s Clark Fork River, he spends time with his wife and children.

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