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O2 Stonefly Adult
Created by Robert Williamson, Roy, Utah
By Al and Gretchen Beatty

Robert tells us about this great new pattern, "I work in the electrical/lighting industry. One day I was talking to a sales representative who was filling our shelves with heat shrink tubing. As the rep was putting the different diameters of tubing on the shelf, I noticed that the orange-colored tube was about the same diameter as an adult stonefly body (funny how that thought popped into my head while I was at work). The tubing was made of polyolefin and had a glue coating inside allowing it to be sealed. I also learned a design could be printed on it with a special machine. I drew up a simple design, took it to the factory, and they printed me samples for experimentation." With this great, newly-adapted material Robert was able to develop this innovative pattern. It's another example of the many flies we've seen tied from materials developed for industries other than fly-fishing.

Publisher's Note: The body material is only available directly from Robert. You can reach him at either: or We feature this fly in hopes of inspiring tiers to think outside the box when creating flies for their specific use or region.

The pattern should be used to imitate Pteronarcys californica (salmonflies) which hatch on many western rivers from late May through early July. Robert fishes it using standard dry-fly techniques. Its air-filled design makes it virtually unsinkable and it is certainly easy to tie.

Materials for O2 Stonefly Adults:

    Hook: Size 6, 3XL dry fly.

    Thread: Orange.

    Body: Pre-marked O2 Body Material.

    Wing: Light elk hair.

    Head: Natural deer or black closed-cell foam.

    Legs: Black rubber leg material.

Instructions - O2 Stonefly Adults:

Step 1

Step 1: Cut a section of O2 Body Material that is equal in length to the hook shank and taper one end with a pair of scissors. Heat a set of wing burners then use them to seal that end of the material. Seal the other end of the body using the same process. Place a hook in the vise and apply a short thread base about 1/4 of the way back on the shank from the eye. Tie the body to the hook by the tapered end. Here we've illustrated a body temporarily stuck to the hook point and another identical body already mounted on the shank. Note the un-tapered end of the body is stuck to the hook point.

Step 2

Step 2: Select, clean, and stack a clump of elk hair. Tie it to the hook as a Trude-style wing slightly longer than the body. Trim off the waste ends and advance the thread to the hook eye.

Step 3

Step 3: Cut a clump of elk hair from the hide, remove the under fur, and even the tips in a stacker. Tie them to the hook with the tips pointing forward from the eye. Trim off the waste ends then cover wrap them with the tying thread. Leaving the thread back at the 1/4 position on the shank. Sweep the fibers back, form a bullet head, and bind them in place with several thread turns.

Step 4

Step 4: Select two sections of black rubber leg material each about 1 1/2 inches long. Tie one of them on the off side of the hook in the center of the piece and then repeat the process with the other on the near side of the shank. Whip finish and remove the thread. Apply a coating of Aqua Head to the thread wraps to finish the fly. ~ Al and Gretchen

About Robert Williamson

Robert's first memories of fly-fishing come from family trips to a beautiful, small creek in southeast Idaho. His father was a fly-fisher and many weekend camping trips were spent on this beautiful stream. Robert remembers following his dad up and down the creek with his older brother Jerry. It was a magical time. His dad's fly line would travel through the air and it seemed that every time it landed on the water a nice cutthroat trout would attack it. Robert was fascinated with the sights and sounds of the creek, and especially with the colorful trout.

As he got older Robert decided he wanted to catch trout like his dad and would spend time with his own equipment tying to catch a fish. Robert remembers becoming very frustrated at first because all he seemed to catch was the branches of willows and pines. By the age of thirteen he gained the casting skills he needed to be a successful angler. Most of his fishing consisted of casting Potts hair flies down and across stream, catching eager cutthroats from the creek.

Robert, his brother Jerry, and their dad have pursued trout on this same little creek for over thirty-five years now. It is a place of memories and a place where memories are still made.

Early on Robert learned from his dad he only needed one or two flies. They were the Potts Fizzle and the Rock Worm. He spent all of his teenage years fishing these two patterns catching his fair share of trout. These flies were purchased and the thought of tying them never crossed Robert's mind until he was into his twenties and the flies became increasingly difficult to find. He would just have to learn to tie them himself and Robert did so by taking apart the originals to study their construction secrets. Robert's version caught fish as well as the original, and certainly added a new excitement and dimension to his fly-fishing. He became fascinated with the "old time" western tiers like George Grant. Again he went to work studying and replicating Grant's flies. Soon Robert was experimenting on his own using new materials with old techniques and vice versa; designing patterns he could call his own.

Robert works as a commercial and residential lighting consultant to pay the bills. He has also dabbled in professional fly-tying and writing about the outdoors. His pieces have appeared in Utah Fishing, Fly Tying, Fly Fishing, and Fly Fishing & Tying Journal. Robert wrote a book on his favorite subject entitled Creative Flies: Innovative Tying Techniques, published by Frank Amato Publications. He lives in Roy, Utah with his wife Phyllis and three children, Kassie, Mikel, and Ryan. The Williamson family enjoys spending time at their cabin in Bear Lake, Idaho where they relax, swim, camp, and, most importantly, fish.

Credits: The O2 Stonefly Adult is from Al & Gretchen Beatty's book, Innovative Flies and Techniques, published by Frank Amato Publications, (2005). You can read a review of this terrific book HERE.

For more great flies, check out: Beginning Fly Tying, Intermediate Fly Tying and Advanced Fly Tying.

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