Stimulator Fly


A buoyant and highly visible dry fly pattern, often used as an attractor or to mimic large terrestrial and aquatic insects, popular for its versatility and strike-inducing silhouette.

How it's tied

The Stimulator is tied on a long-shank dry fly hook, typically in sizes 6 to 16. The body is constructed from bright, coarse dubbing, often segmented with a rib of fine wire or thread. A tail of deer or elk hair adds to the fly's buoyancy and silhouette.

One of the distinguishing features of the Stimulator is its double-hackle construction. A palmered hackle is wound through the body dubbing, and another hackle is wrapped at the front of the fly. This gives the Stimulator its high floating properties and an impression of legs.

The wing is usually made from a clump of deer or elk hair, tied in a bullet-head style over the body. This adds buoyancy and creates a large, visible profile on the water. The head is finished with the tying thread, a whip finish, and head cement for durability.

What it mimics

The Stimulator is a versatile pattern that can mimic various large terrestrial and aquatic insects. Depending on the size and color in which it's tied, it can represent stoneflies, caddisflies, or grasshoppers. This makes it a valuable pattern to carry in various sizes and colors.

Where it's used

The Stimulator is commonly used in rivers and streams, particularly during hatches of large insects like stoneflies and caddisflies. Its buoyancy makes it a great pattern for rough water and fast currents.

It can be fished alone as a dry fly, or it can be used in a dry-dropper setup with a smaller nymph or emerger pattern tied off the hook bend. 

Fly tying video for the Stimulator

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Fish you can can fly fish for with the Stimulator

Brook trout

Brown Trout

Cutthroat Trout

Golden Trout


Marble Trout

Rainbow Trout


Insect orders relevant to the Stimulator

These are insect orders of which one or more species are mimicked by the Stimulator.



Grasshoppers, Crickets, and Katydids




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