Saturday, October 9, 2010

Tying the Stimulator, Step by Step.

The Stimulator is one of my favorite flies to tie and to fish.  Year after year, I find a "Stimi" tied to the end of my fly line, usually while I am on some pocket water or a small to medium sized stream.  It works well in a hopper/dropper set up, usually holding up a BH Prince Nymph or BH Pheasant Tail.   While fishing the tailwaters, this is usually not my first choice as an attractor, but on the freestone rivers like the Arkansas, it is definitely in the top 3 for an attractor.  Over the years, there has been many "additions" to this fly, but I generally prefer the "standard" or original style over the pimp my Stimi styles.  Now I have plenty of these tied with legs and overwings stashed in my boxes, but I find the original style usually works just fine.  As for colors, the orange/yellow body and yellow/orange body is a great start, but don't forget to try these in a peacock style or a golden tan color for both Caddis and Golden Stoneflies.  I think if I had only one choice to carry a dry fly for the rest of my fly fishing days, I would have trouble making a case for not picking this pattern.  It covers the Caddis, Golden Stones, Salmonflies, Hoppers, Yellow Sallys and a few others here and there so well, the fish can't resist it.  
The following pattern is how I like to tie my Stimulators.  A well tied pattern will last for many fish and makes for a more enjoyable day on the stream not having to change flies so many times.  I don't mind changing out flies after a fish has chewed it to shreds, I just prefer that I don't have to do it after 3 fish.  

Hook:  TMC 200R, MFC, 7002 #4-16
Thread:  UTC 70 Deiner or MFC 8/0 Flour. Fire Orange
Tail:  Nature's Spirit Deer Hock
Rib:  X-Small copper Wire
Body:  Nature's Spirit Fine Dubbing or Antron Dubbing, Orange
Hackle:  Whiting Farms Neck Hackle, Brown and Grizzly
Wing:  Elk Hair
Thorax:  Nature's Spirit Fine Dubbing or Antron Dubbing, Yellow

Start your thread and work it back to opposite the barb.  
Tie in the deer hock.  While it is short and stiff, it has just the right amount of flair for the tail.
It also compresses pretty well so my body doesn't start out too fat.  
Clip the butts close to the body and start to compress the body.  
Note the well-compressed hair and a flared tail.  Don't forget to tie in the copper wire for the rib.  
Start dubbing the body with even wraps of dubbing.
Notice the even body and the location of where I stopped the body.
Tie in a good hackle for the body.  I prefer to use necks for the hackle, but saddles also work well.  
Start wrapping the hackle in even wraps back to the back of the fly.  
Once you are there, hold the hackle at a 45 degree angle and capture with the first wrap of the wire rib.  
Wrap the rib to the front of the body and tie off.  Clip the hackle tip from the rear of the fly.  
This is the completed body.  
Clean and stack some good cow elk hair; I also use deer hair for the wing.  Make sure you use good hair for the wing.  Good hair=good flies.  
Tie down the hair and compress the butts...
And make a good, clean-angled cut.  You will want to cover all the butts for the next step.
Notice all the butts are covered by the thread at an angle; this is important for the next step.  Tie in an appropriate sized hackle for the thorax.  I like this hackle to be a bit bigger than the body hackle.  
Dub the thorax area, starting from the bottom of the taper and work your way up.  This helps the thread and dubbing from slipping down to the eye.  
Work the hackle down to behind the eye.  Don't crowd the eye! Tie off a nice head and make sure to clip  any stray hackle fibers that might be in the way.  
Finished Stimulator.  Note the proportions on the fly and the full hackle, wing and thorax.  Now tie up a few more and get in the hills.  There isn't much time left!  


  1. Hola, Yo utilizo mucho esta mosca en mi querido Rio Tajo ("Tajo River" Guadalajara - Spain). La monto en tamaños pequeños (anzuelo TMC 200 R - 18/20) esta mosca levanta y activa muchas truchas, pero tambien en muchos casos produce rechazos en el ultimo momento, con lo que la utilizo para pescar al agua y cuando veo el rechazo de la trucha a la mosca cambio a otra mosca mas pescadora que es con la que consigo capturar la trucha.
    Un saludo

  2. translation:
    Hi, I use a lot of this fly in my beloved Rio Tejo (River Tagus "Guadalajara - Spain). The amount in small sizes (TMC hook 200 R - 18/20) this fly up and activates many trout, but also in many cases produce rejections at the last moment, which I use to catch the water and when I see the rejection of trout to the fly change to another fly fisher but which is to capture them trout.

  3. very nice tutorial and a nicely tied fly!

  4. Juan
    I agree this attractor has got to be one of the best flies out there. I like it in rapid and fast moving water with a dropper at the bottom. Thanks for becoming one of my followers hope you enjoy the post I will be putting out. I will add you to my blog roll.

  5. Thanks guys. I only tie this down to a size 14 or so and then switch to an Elk Hair Caddis or X-Caddis. The 200R hook's gap becomes too small at that point to hook and hold fish in my opinion. Also, the triggers that make this fly on a size 10, may not hold the same on a size 16 or 18. That too, is why I like the EHC in smaller sizes.

  6. Hi there, excellent web site and I love this fly. I use it a lot here in New Zealand when fishing with a nymph as a dropper. I don't think you can have more fun with your pants on!
    Thanks for the tying instructions. They are excellent.

  7. "I don't think you can have more fun with your pants on!"

    Love it!!!!!