It was Thursday, my first day of the IFFF Fair in Bend, Oregon. There was a busy rush for everyone to eat breakfast and get over to the hall to start the days activities. When I hit the breakfast buffet it was as if everyone of us from the IFFF fair had converged at almost the same time and overwhelmed this breakfast and the staff that was trying to keep up with the demand for the food. I went through the offerings and found what I needed to begin breakfast and was lucky enough to find a table that had just been vacated. After about two bites I noticed a couple looking about for a table and being by myself I invited them to join me. After all the entire room was filled with fly fishing people so we surely had something in common.
It turned out to be Lee Clark and Betty, his wife. Now I had a chance to learn something. Lee was generous with his story of how the Clark’s Stonefly evolved and went on to become a standard. He explained that once he developed a fly that would float well and also catch fish he wanted to share the joy. He tied a lot of new Clark’s Stoneflys and then gave them away to his fellow anglers when he was out on the river. The fly caught fish and a following of anglers and today it is tied by many and has evolved into many variations.
Lee stressed that for the under wing one needs to use polypropylene such as macramé yarn so as to float properly. He also said that Anton is not a good substitute because of the flotation issue. Lee has also morphed his own fly by adding a tail to imitate eggs from a female and he calls it the “Clark’s Lady Stone”. Just add a dyed red Golden Pheasant Tippet feather at the tail. Lee said he prefers the Daiichi #1280 which is 2x long and 1x fine wire in a size 10. He feels that it has a better catch rate than the size 8. He favors deer hair over elk, uses orange thread, and clips the bottom of the hackle. He mentioned that John Kreft had put his Clark’s Lady Stone on his website along with the step by step tying instructions. I contacted John Kreft and he gave me permission to use his photos. Thank you John. To see it go to johnkreft.com, then go to fly patterns, then to stoneflies and it should be in the middle of the top row.
If you see Lee out on the Metolius or Deschutes River, just give him a thumbs up.
It was a pleasure to bring this story to you. Tom Collett