Stimulators have become a fixture in my fly inventory since 2014, when I tied a bunch with different body colors prior to a trip to Patagonia. You can read more about my early history with stimulators in my 01/26/2015 post. I love stimulators due to their versatility, as they are solid imitations of stoneflies, large caddisflies, and small grasshoppers. I even experienced success using olive and gray stimulators to duplicate large mayflies such as green and gray drakes.
The heavily hackled dry flies with large amounts of deer hair are quite visible and float well in fast, turbulent currents. I often choose one of these fuzzy floaters when prospecting high gradient mountain streams. Another popular ploy involves a small beadhead nymph dangling below a stimulator, and this combination also yields impressive results. A more extensive discussion of stimulator uses is contained in my previous stimulator post of 01/30/2019. Check it out if you are a fan of this popular fly.
A count of my fly storage containers revealed that I possessed adequate quantities of size 12 and 14 stimulators in the various body colors. Only size 12 olives seemed to be in relatively short supply, so I manned my vice and manufactured six size 12 stimulators with olive bodies and grizzly hackle. I followed Charlie Craven’s excellent YouTube video, and his exacting instructions enabled me to improve the quality of the large attractor patterns. Charlie’s steps helped me avoid the three major pitfalls endemic to stimulators; gaps in the body of the fly, tails and wings not properly centered, and crowding of the eye of the hook.