Alter the size and the body colour of the Stimulator and you have a reliable impressionistic pattern that could represent a whole range of insects from stoneflies to sedges.
The brainchild of American fly-dresser Randall Kaufman, the Stimulator travelled well and is now an accepted inclusion in many British flyboxes. Virtually unsinkable, thanks to the little bundles of buoyant elk hair used to form the tail and wing, it is a surprisingly good performer on the chalkstreams during a hatch of Mayfly when dressed with a cream seal’s fur body.
While usually presented without any other colleagues on the cast, its built-in buoyancy can also be used to keep imitations of the nymphs, on which the trout are feasting, within a short distance of the surface.
Tied to a short length of nylon — which can be a few inches or a couple of feet long — the nymph imitation is then tethered to the bend of the Stimulator. The cast is made upstream and it is allowed to drift on the flow without retrieval and just the occasional lift of the rod to bring the drifting nymph to life. It is a useful technique when trout are concentrating on the nymph rising to the surface to hatch and can be deadly on deep, slow glides in the early stages of a hatch.
Hook Size 6-16 Thread Orange Tail Elk
hair Body Orange, cream, tan and green
seal’s fur or polypropylene dubbing
Wing Elk hair Body hackle Furnace
cock Thorax Amber seal’s fur
Hackle Grizzle cock
1. Catch in the thread and take it in touching turns to a point opposite the barb. Select a small bunch of natural elk hair which will be used to form the tail.
2. Make two loose turns of thread over the bundle of hair and gently draw them tight, securing the hair to the top of the hook.
3. Bind down the butt ends of the elk hair. Be sure to leave plenty of room for the wing, hackle and head.
4. Select a well-marked furnace cock hackle. When wound, the tips of the fibres should just reach the barb.
5. Open up the fibres by drawing the feather between finger and thumb. Snip away most of the fibres and tie it in by the tip.
6. Dub on the material which will be used to form the body.
7. Complete the body and remove any unwanted seal’s fur from the thread. Using even turns, start to wind the body hackle.
8. Complete the body hackle, secure and snip away the waste feather. Select a slim bunch of natural elk hair and tie it in so that the tips reach about halfway along the tail.
9. Trim away the unwanted fibres and bind the wing down firmly with several tight turns of thread.
10. Tie in a grizzle cock hackle and dub on a little yellow seal’s fur. Make three turns of the hackle through the dubbed thorax area. Secure the hackle and snip away the unwanted feather. Form a small head and cast off the thread with a whip finish.
WHERE, WHEN & HOW TO FISH
W H E R E
A dry-fly that floats like a cork, the Stimulator rides high on the surface making it the ideal candidate for rougher streams or in poor light when keeping track of a fly with a lower profile is difficult.
W H E N
Match the size and colour of the fly to the insect on top of the trout’s menu and the Stimulator can be used to imitate all manner of sedges, stoneflies and even the newly-hatched Mayfly. Used in smaller sizes, it is a useful fly for prospecting a stream when little or nothing is moving.
H O W
Use it alone on a floating line and a tippet of 4lb breaking strain. Step up the strength if the fly is above a size 10 and when large fish are expected or have to be fought in a strong flow.
T Y I N G T I P
Locating the Stimulator in falling light or on the roughest of flows is made easier, even for those with less than perfect vision, if the wing and tail are formed from very pale elk hair.