Advantages of Using Stinger Flies for Steelhead, Salmon and Trout
Flies tied in the stinger style, like the stonefly nymph illustrated, have been gaining a following recently, especially from winter steelheaders. The stinger tie puts the hook at the extreme rear of the fly pattern, so that even the softest, most subtle take will usually result in a hookup. Once hooked, the shorter shank of the stinger hook offers less leverage to the fighting fish than the traditional longer shanked streamer and steelhead hooks.
With leech-style, or "string" style flies, the stinger hook allows you to tie a fly that could be 6-8 inches long, yet still present the hook at the rear of the fly and will cast like a much smaller, lighter pattern. While some of the stinger patterns are more laborious to tie, and more expensive to purchase, if the hook gets damaged or straightened it can be replaced without discarding the whole fly.
We have noticed a marked increase in hookups and in fish brought to hand since we have started using stinger flies almost exclusively for winter sink-tip steelhead fishing. Give them a try!