Golden Stone Overview
- Family: Stonefly
- Size: 40mm-23mm (Size 6-12)
- Emergence: Late June through Late July
- Emergence Time: Afternoon
In Missoula, and across Montana, the Golden Stone is the most under rated hatch we have. Everyone blows up the Salmon Flies and Green Drakes across all media, while the steadiest big bug hatch in Missoula is slipping under the radar. The guides can’t wait for the Goldens to appear, because Golden Stones are steadier than the Salmon Flies, more prevalent than the Salmon Fly and more favored than the Salmon Fly.
The Golden Stones are made up of a myriad different species, ranging in size from 40mm to 23mm, which is size 6 to size 12. They range in color from bright yellow to muddy tan, and all points in between. Despite the range in size and color, the same fly patterns will work for all species, provided you choose the correct size.
Where To Fly Fish Golden Stones
The Golden Stones are a great hatch on the Blackfoot River and Rock Creek. These high gradient rivers provide wonderful habitat for stoneflies, and you’ll find lots of Golden Stones on these rivers. The Clark Fork River, Bitterroot River and most smaller tributaries boast a good hatch of Goldens, and will have fewer anglers looking for Goldens. Not a bad combo.
The Golden Stone is a little more friendly hatch to the wading angler. The water is dropping, and more of the river is becoming accessible. The wading angler says hey, I have more dry fly access!
Nymphing Golden Stones
Don’t sleep on the Golden Stone nymph. It’s a very big food form, with some second only to the Salmon Fly nymph in size, and the fish are looking for them. The fish will be in the shallows following the Golden Stone nymph migration to their emergence. It might take a bit of experimentation to find the best sized nymph.
It’s not easy to cut off the 54mm Salmon Fly and go to something smaller. But the Golden offers a much steadier food source to the trout. It’s still capable of floating a nymph, and we know the trout look for Goldens as soon as they appear. The Salmon Fly is dazzling, the Golden Stone catches more fish!