Stimulator Fly Pattern Step-by-Step

Stimulator Fly Pattern Step-by-Step:

It isn’t often that punk rock and fly fishing cross paths, but such is the case with today’s pattern. Created by tyer and angler Jim Slattery, today’s fly was originally dubbed the “Fluttering Stonefly” before being renamed in honor of the NYC punk band, the Stimulators. A seemingly fitting homage, this large, loud attractor pattern has become a mainstay in angler’s boxes well beyond the streams of New Jersey where it was originally tested.

An amalgamation of hackle and hair, the pattern creates a large, highly buoyant profile perfect for faster waters that would sink smaller offerings. Tied to mimic a stonefly as originally intended, or upsized to mimic a hopper during the summer months, this fly tends to trigger explosive strikes.

Tiemco TMC 2312 or equivalent (Size 14-6) 140 Denier (Flo. Orange)Materials Elk Hair
Materials Fine Dubbing or Floss (Yellow)Materials Dry Fly Dubbing (Orange)Materials Elk Hair
Brown (abdomen)/Grizzly (Thorax)

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Stimulator Fly Pattern Step-by-Step Tying Instructions:

(Mobile Viewers: Click images to enlarge)

Tips and Tricks

  1. Hopper-Dropper Time – It’s not often you find a dry fly this buoyant without the aid of foam. Take advantage and utilize this pattern in conjunction with one or even two dropper flies (if your state allows). It sure beats watching a strike indicator.
  2. Twitch It – Similar to many of the terrestrial patterns covered in recent posts, this fly is often at its best when in motion. Twitch the fly for added action. Or even consider giving it the occasional 6-12″ strip to really skate it across the surface.
  3. Perfection not Required – Perusing social media, you might come to believe the Stimulator is more work of art than fly. The examples are countless. Perfectly proportioned flies with tightly wrapped hackle that look too good to be true. It is enough to deter the aspiring tyer, but don’t let it. This fly is meant to be big, buggy and buoyant not aesthetically pleasing. As long as it floats and stays upright in the water, this fly will catch fish. So don’t be afraid to fish your first few tries even if it doesn’t quite look like the examples presented by pro tyers. Mine sure doesn’t.

Proof of Concept

While I recall landing a number of trout on small Stimulators during my 2019 trip to Colorado’s IPWA, I could only find one photo of a fish landed on the pattern. This small Colorado River Cutthroat was not only my first of that specific subspecies, but also the only fish landed on one of the more arduous hikes of the trip.

With any luck, the cutthroat on my upcoming RMNP trip won’t take quite as much effort.

Tight Lines!


Colorado Cutthroat Trout (IPWA; 2019)
Species Caught on the Stimulator to Date:
  1. Colorado River Cutthroat Trout

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