Copyright 2014 James Marsh
Skwala Trout Flies
Skwala trout flies are imitations of Skwala stoneflies. They are also called Brown Willow Flies and
sometimes Springflies. The Skwala stonefly is a western stonefly found only in trout streams that
have highly oxygenated water. The hatches are usually not huge, but the fact that they occur early
in the season when few other aquatic insects are hatching makes them an important insect for fly
angler to imitate. Skwala Trout fly imitations consist of the Skwala Stonefly Nymph fly and the
Skwala Stonefly Adult fly. Fly fishing during the Skwala stonefly hatch can be very productive.
There are two species of Skwala stoneflies - the Skwala americana and Skwala curvata. These
often get confused with the Golden Stoneflies but although the Goldens can exist in the same
streams as the Skwala stoneflies, they hatch much later in the year and are not quite as large. The
Skwala hatch is often overlooked by anglers because it takes place early, near the beginning of
most seasons. Many anglers think the water is too cold for good fly fishing opportunities when the
Skwala hatch takes place.
The stoneflies are actually Little Yellow Stoneflies but not in the sense they are little. They are
rather large and quite different from the other Little Yellows and therefore require specific
imitations. Depending on the section of the west you are fishing, you will find them hatching from as
early as December and as late as April. They hatch when the water temperature reaches about 50
Skwala stoneflies prefer clear, cold, fast water streams. They tend to be more abundant in the
larger size, low elevation rivers, and moderate size Rocky Mountain and Pacific Coastal streams.
They can become active and start crawling around on the bottom well exposed to the trout as soon
as the water reaches about 40 degrees. They are well worth imitating with the Perfect Fly Skwala
Nymph fly during this time. They search for small mayfly nymphs and midge larvae, which they dine
on. Most places you find them will have gravel or a cobble bottom. The Skwala nymphs are very
poor swimmers. Like most all stoneflies, the Skwala nymphs migrate to the banks where they crawl
out of the water to emerge into adults. It is during this migration that the Skwala nymph fly is most
After mating takes place, the females will return to the water to deposit their eggs. The male adult
Skwalas usually have shorter wings than the females and are slightly smaller in size. The females
usually have fully developed wings but neither the males or females tend to fly as well as many
other stonefly species. Often they can be seen skittering across the surface of the water, more like
running than flying. The females almost always drop their eggs on the surface of the water, as
opposed from the air above the water.
It is during the egg laying process that our Perfect Fly Skwala Adult fly is effective. Trout have no
problem in catching and eating the egg laying females. Egg laying usually occurs in the afternoons.
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