The quintessential western fly


If there is a more quintessential western dry fly than the
Stimulator I know not of it. The stimulator is everything
western about fly fishing; an easy to see bushy profile that
floats like a cork, yellow and orange body that resembles
canyon river walls at sunset, and a design that mimics
stoneflies one day and summer hoppers the next. And let’s not
forgot the hollow, ochre colored elk hair, once keeping a Wapiti
warm during the brutal Jackson winters, now being cut and tied
in as a wing at my fly tying desk.

I’m not sure what fly my first western trout was caught on,
but I have a hunch it was a stimulator; one probably handed
to me by my grandfather on the banks of the Hoback River. In
the years since, I have fished this pattern on a variety of
waters; cold, fast, alpine streams deep in the Wyoming high-
country, medium size meadow tributaries and large rivers like
the Snake and Green. Fish never seem to hesitate when my
size 8 or 10 yellow stimulator floats over them. Brook trout
inhale them eagerly, while native cutthroat rise slow and
deliberately, sipping the imitation with ease.

Of all the flies in my vest, the Stimulator is my favorite;
tied on in the summer sun and cast into a cold western trout

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