This is the Missoulian Anglers favorite insect! Big, juicy and always on a trout’s menu, stoneflies move fish from late March through September in Montana. After clicking on the specific hatches, to find out when and where, make sure to read the guide tips. Gleaned from the best fly fishing guides in Missoula, these tips are hard won and extremely useful. Get a glimpse into the way guides handle hatches, as well as knowing what you’ll be seeing when you meet stoneflies on the water. Step up your stonefly game with the MAngler guide tips!
Stonefly Life Cycle
Stoneflies are big, juicy and very important to a trouts diet. The stonefly has a three part life cycle- egg, nymph and adult, and are found only in moving water. Unlike the mayfly, a stonefly nymph may live on the bottom for anywhere from one to three years. As they grow, they push their way through their exoskeleton, and emerge as a larger nymph. When the nymph has matured to the point of hatching, they crawl to edge of the river, crawl out, and emerge above water. Once emerged, they fly into the cover on shore and mate. The stonefly adult will live on land for anywhere from 5 days to 3 weeks, returning multiple times to lay their eggs. There is not a true “hatch” of stoneflies, the dry flies we use represent the adults returning to the water to lay their eggs. Because of the stonefly nymphs extended life cycle, stonefly nymphs are available year round, and are recognized by trout every month of the year. The importance of the stonefly as a food source can’t be over-emphasized in Montana.