I began tying this fly several years ago when I discovered it in a book I purchased by Scott Sanchez at the fly fishing show in Denver. I made 5-10 flies in the 12-14 size range, but they were poorly tied using calf tail hair for the wing. I crowded the head and the slippery wing material tended to to pull out after catching a few fish or even from handling the fly.
For the 2011 season I plan to begin with 15 solid royal stimulators. I’ve already tied nine of them, and I’m now putting three coats of head cement on the thread wraps ahead of the wing. I’ve also switched to calf body hair instead of calf tail, and the calf body hair seems to be less slippery and less unruly. I tie these flies on 3X long hooks.
I believe the main fish attracting qualities of the royal stimulator are the iridescent peacock body material and the red thread. I also love the white wing for visibility in the twilight hours. The large size of the fly and the dense palmered hackle contribute to buoyancy and visibility.
I’ve experienced much success using the royal stimulator early in the season and also throughout the season in the small headwater streams in Colorado. The royal stimulator floats well and brings up fish in the likely spots in small streams such as those found in Rocky Mountain National Park and tributaries to the Arkansas River.
Perhaps my best fishing experience during the summer of 2010 occurred while casting a royal stimulator in the last hour before dark on Brush Creek near Eagle, CO. You can read more about this on the page link, Brush Creek – 7/10/10.