During the larval stage, which commonly lasts anywhere from 1 to 3 years, golden stoneflies spend the balance of their time using their powerful legs and low center of gravity to cling to the rocky bottoms of small to large rivers and spring creeks with moderate to fast flow rates.
During its nymph life stage, these crawlers are most commonly found in the medium to fast water of riffles and higher energy current seams. Prior to and during a hatch, these medium-to-large sized nymphs can also be found in low energy backwaters, eddys, and other shallow streamside environments. Golden stonefly nymphs thrive among the cool, well-oxygenated water of rocky riffles and these nymphs are most vulnerable to trout when they are either swept up by strong currents or when they leave their rocky homes to hatch into winged adults from the safety of the shoreline.
Their swimming ability is quite weak and these nymphs expose themselves by making adventurous crawling trips away from safety just before emergence and subsequent on-land hatching. Golden stones are an important hatch on many rivers in North America, and in the west, they are often associated with the prolific hatches of the giant salmonfly, which generally precede the hatches of the golden stonefly. These easily distinguishable nymphs are available to trout throughout the waters of North America on a year-round basis and commonly hatch from morning to evening hours.
Standard nymphing tactics are the best way to imitate the golden stonefly nymph. Try high sticking or dropping this nymph under an indicator and focus on fishing the edges of color change, current change, or fishing the banks.