Norm Wood was a very popular fishing guide on the Deschutes River for 30 years. His Golden Stonefly pattern is tied with a wing & tail made from tan dyed calf tail hair. Calf tail traps air between the hair fibers and floats very well. Some anglers believe that these flies will often out produce patterns tied with the more conventional elk hair wings and tails.
There are a number of Norm Wood Specials out there. We have examined this pattern as tied by the originator, and copies of the original flies as sanctioned by Norm, as well as flies that are so called Norm Wood Specials done by tyers who had no knowledge of the original concept. The flies we sell are meant to be trimmed.
This pattern imitates a golden stonefly, which is a very low floater. In our experience, the Norm Wood special fishes best if it is trimmed to lie very flat on the water. If we sold them trimmed to how they work the best, they would be so ugly that you wouldn't buy them. Besides trimming much of the bulk from the fly, many knowledgeable anglers treat the wing with a high viscosity floatant such as Cortland Dab or Mucilin Paste. This slicks the wing down and makes the fly ride even lower. We learned a great trick many years ago from our friend Bill Howland, who rubbed Mucilin on his salmonfly patterns and then baked them in the oven so the floatant would penetrate all parts of the fly making them nearly unsinkable.