brown trout caught on stonefly nymph

Fishing with the Custom Stonefly Nymph

Custom Stonefly Nymphs are soft plastic lures shaped like the immature form of stoneflies. Stoneflies are found all over the world. They spend most of their lives in an aquatic nymphal state. These nymphs are encountered by a lot of fish, including trout that regularly gobble them up. There are countless flies tied to look like stonefly nymphs, but there aren’t many soft plastic lures designed to imitate these creatures. Custom Stonefly Nymphs are molded to look just like the real thing, and they catch a lot of fish.

Of course some Custom Stonefly Nymphs look more like the real thing that others. While the black version looks pretty close to a real stonefly nymph there are no pink stonefly nymphs in nature. Still every color variation has its place and in my experience they all catch fish. Custom Stonefly Nymphs are great for catching trout all over.

How to fish with Custom Stonefly Nymphs

Custom Stonefly Nymphs can be fished anywhere fish encounter and eat stonefly nymphs. They can also catch crappie, bluegill, perch and other fish in waters that may not even contain immature stonefly nymphs at all. That’s because they have a general bugginess to them that fish recognize as food. With the possible exception of some experienced fish that have been caught and released several times, most fish aren’t going to pass up a juicy insect that comes their way.

The 1″ Custom Stonefly Nymph can be fished on a number of hooks. They fit nicely on a nymph hook meant for fly tying. You can even slide a bead on the hook for extra weight. Or you can fish these nymphs on a regular bait holder hook in size 10 or 12. I have done both, but I prefer fishing them on collarless jig heads with size 10 hooks. You can use lead jig heads in the 1/80 ounce to 1/64 ounce range. You can also use tungsten jig heads, if you can find them. An alternative is to get some size 10 jig hooks. Then slide on an appropriately sized tungsten bead. Finally, run the hook through one of these nymphs. It all works.

wild brown trout from north carolinaThis nice wild brown took a Custom Stonefly Nymph

The good thing about jig hooks is that they create a horizontal presentation. Real stonefly nymphs are usually horizontal in the water column, so that is how fish expect to see them. Sure some nymphs get knocked loose and drift straight up and down. Some even die and just drift along with the current. But the majority of nymphs are scurrying along the bottom, or trying to get back down there if they get washed away.

You can fish Custom Stonefly Nymphs on spinning gear, tenkara gear, or fly fishing gear. If you use fly gear, fish them like you would any other nymph fly such as the Copper John. If you’re using a tenkara rod, just rig the nymph onto a hook and tie it on the end of your line. Then cast the nymph to the head of all likely spots and follow the lure as it drifts. If the line stops or hesitates, set the hook. With light spinning gear you can tie a jig head or hook to the end of your line. Then thread the hook through a Custom Stonefly Nymph. Add a split shot on the line for weight. Then peg a small indicator like the EZ Float a few feet up the line. Cast the rig upstream of likely spots and follow the float as it drifts downstream.

Custom Stonefly Nymph tactics and applications

No matter how you fish, you want to make sure your nymphs drifts naturally with the current. If your nymph races downstream too fast or gets bogged down by drag it won’t appear natural. If it doesn’t appear natural, it is unlikely to catch fish. At least in terms of presentation. Color is something else entirely.

Chocolate and mystic smoke colored Custom Stonefly Nymphs look a lot like the real deal in the water. These colors and others like black and usually what I start out with. Especially if I am after wild fish. I’ve caught more rainbows, brooks, browns, cutthroats and tiger trout on these colors than I can count. I just drift them naturally near the bottom. It works all over the United States in hot, cold, and comfortable weather.

trout ate soft plastic stonefly nymphThis little rainbow smashed a Custom Stonefly Nymph and got tangled in the leader

On the other hand I’ve also caught trout on the more outlandish colors like pink. Now pink is know to attract trout. That’s one reason flies like the pink San Juan Worm work so well. But it also works on other fish. I’ve caught plenty of fish on pink Custom Stonefly Nymphs including crappies, bluegills, and mountain whitefish. When ice fishing, I have caught fish on Custom Stonefly Nymphs in brighter colors like Corn Yellow.

The best advice I can give for using these little lures is to make your presentation look as realistic as possible, even if the color of your lure is like nothing you’ve seen in nature. Use light line and sensitive gear that can detect slight movements and bites. Let the lure drift naturally with the current. Keep it down around the bottom where the real nymphs live. Or, if you’re fishing in still water, use a stop and go retrieve that mimics the movements of real nymphs crawling and swimming around near the bottom.

Where to buy Custom Stonefly Nymphs

I first started seeing molded soft plastic nymphs and larvae just over a decade ago. At the time they were all marketed for ice fishing. I picked a couple up and quickly realized they would be great for trout in open water. After fishing them all over the United States I proved my point. I caught trout on various soft plastic nymphs in places as varied as Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Montana.

soft plastic custom stonefly nymphs

A little later I came across the Nikko Fishing company in Japan. They make several different soft plastic nymphs that are used by anglers in Japan and other countries. They use some sort of material that is biodegradable and flavored though. The same goes for almost all the soft plastics meant for ice fishing that are scented. For that reason, I don’t think the various ice fishing nymphs or Nikko nymphs could be used in a lot of waters that have artificial lures only regulations.

Later still I ran into some manufacturers and retailers selling soft plastic nymphs in Europe. Tackle shops like Riba in Bosnia carry these sorts of lures, but they aren’t very common in the United States. In fact, they’re almost impossible to find in the US. Trout Magnet sells a pre-rigged Mayfly Nymph, but that’s about as far as it goes.

Custom Stonefly Nymphs are made in the United States and easy to purchase. The Custom Stonefly Nymph comes in a wide range of colors. The shape of the nymph looks like the real deal and fools a lot of fish. The nymph is also unscented, so you can use it in a lot of artificial lures only special regulation waters. You can order Custom Stonefly Nymphs online at Angler’s Emporium. Give them a shot. You’ll be glad you did.

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