The Stimulator a pattern, developed by Randal Kaufmann, is a simple but effective fly that everyone should have in their fly box.
Years ago, I had read about the stimulator and tied a few to give them a try. I caught several fish with the fly, but it just did not work the way I thought it would. I stopped using the pattern thinking I would go back and see what I was doing wrong in tying or using the fly.
Several of us had gone to Montana to float and fish the Clark Fork River. I had no idea what pattern I should be using as I floated along. I noticed a hatch of orange-colored stoneflies. I looked through my fly box and found an orange-body Stimulator, the only one I had. I thought it would be worth a try, even though I hadn’t had much luck with the fly on previous fishing trips.
I could not believe the success I had with my one and only orange Stimulator. It was so effective that I feared losing the fly and no longer being able to catch fish. So after catching and releasing about three fish, I would clip the fly off the leader and retie the knot, hoping the new knot would hold and I would not break the fly off.
That evening back in my motel room I tied several more orange Stimulators, just to be sure. I even had enough I was able to share with my fishing companions, and we had a great few days fishing the Clark Fork in that stonefly hatch.
Since then I have used the pattern in other colors. Yellow-bodied Stimulators make very good hopper imitations. I have seen, but never used, an olive-bodied Stimulator. I have seen them ribbed with gold wire. But again I have never done that.
Since then, the Stimulator has been good to me on the North Fork of the Clearwater and the Lochsa rivers. It is a simple pattern to tie, and everyone should have a couple in their fly box. You never know when you might find yourself in the middle of a stonefly or a hopper hatch. I have not had the success with the pattern that I had those few days fishing on the Clark Fork, but I have caught enough fish with it to always carry a few.
Tie up a few Stimulators and give them a try. It is a simple fly to tie, and it just could be one of your most effective patterns.
When I tie a fly I have three goals in mind: Keep it simple. Keep it practical. Make it durable.
Hyatt is an avid fly fisherman who lives in Lewiston.
Thread — 8/0 color to match the thorax color.
Hook — 2X long dry fly hook. I like Daiichi No. 1260 size of choice.
Thread — 8/0 color to match the thorax.
Tail — Natural elk body hair. Deer hair will also work.
Body — Polypropylene color of choice. Orange for stoneflies and yellow for hoppers.
Hackle — I like to use brown dry fly hackle over the body.
Wing — Natural elk or deer. Same material as the tail.
Thorax — Orange for the stonefly and yellow for the hoppers.
Hackle — Grizzly dry fly hackle palmered over thorax.
n Pinch the barb and dress the hook with the tying thread.
n Tie in the hair, forming the tail. The tail should not be too long. Tie in the hackle.
n Tie in the body material.
n Take one wrap of body material behind the hackle. Wrap the body material forward to the thorax area.
n Palmer the hackle over the body. Tie in the hair for the wing. The wing length should reach the tip of the tail.
n Tie in the hackle and the thorax material. Wrap the thorax material forward. Do not crowd the head.
n Palmer the hackle forward over the thorax.
n Build a small head, whip finish and apply head cement.