Flies With a Story
Gene ties his Stimulators in sizes 4 to 18.  Below are four of his favorite combinations, a basic Stimulator recipe, and his story of traipsing in the Rockies:


The Flytier:

Story By: Gene "Wildgene" Hall
Flies Tied By: Gene
Gene's Home: Cody, Wyoming

Gene grew up in the cutthroat streams of northern Idaho.  He is a FFF Certified Casting Instructor and life member, and a member of his local TU chapter. Favorite spots include the Bob Marshall Wilderness (MT), Kelly Cr. (ID), The Shoshone River (WY), and what's left of the St. Joe (ID).


The Flies:

Ice Golden Stone, size 8

Olive Stimulator, size 12

Yellow Stimulator, size 16

Dun and Olive Stimulator, size 18

The following is the classic Yellow Stimulator pattern:

Hook: Dry fly or curved shank 3xl, sizes 4 to 18
Thread: Orange
Tail: Elk or deer hair
Abdomen: Yellow dubbing
Body Hackle: Grizzly,sometime undersized
Rib: Fine gold wire
Wing: Elk or deer hair
Thorax: Orange dubbing
Front Hackle: Grizzly palmered over thorax

Notes: The Ice Golden Stone, mentioned in his story below and the first Stimulator pictured above, is Gene's variation on the Yellow Stimulator.  Gene uses Hareline's Ice Dub for the body.


The Story:

Traipsing with the Stimulator

While traipsing up and down the spine of the northern Rocky Mountains in search of cutthroat trout, Iíve come to rely on the Stimulator in all its variations of size and color.  From a size 18 in brown for early winter stones to a size 4 in black and orange for the giant salmonflies of the Rockies, this pattern has been a go-to fly for all types of water and all seasons. 

Photo courtesy of Gene Hall

The quest can start in February, when a size 18 in black on a Mustad #94840 imitates snowflies on the Kootenai River.  In March, for early winter stones on the North Platte I've used a size 16 in brown.  And, in April on the Clarks Fork and the Bitterroot, a size 12 or 14 tied in olive imitates the Skawlas.

Early summer, right behind the runoff, brings out the salmonflies and, if you can catch up with them, some very large trout looking for a big easy meal.  A large black and orange or Royal Stimulator will catch fish slashing at the large salmonflies.

A favorite trick of mine is to fish a large Stimulator like a steelhead fly right down a current seam, just under the surface. Iíve been rewarded with some very nice fish using this method.  On the tails of the salmonfly hatch, the Golden Stones begin to fly. When this happens, a yellow Stimulator or my variation, the Ice Golden Stone, gets the call.

Along with the Golden Stones, willow flies and small chartreuse stones become available. Seldom noticed by fishermen, but a favorite of trout, these small bright green and yellow stoneflies are available to the fish throughout the summer. A small yellow, olive, or bright green Stimulator can be just the ticket.

High summer means ďHopper TimeĒ.  A large yellow Stimulator with the float, drown, and swing tactic has been a constant producer on north Idahoís Kelly River.

headwaters nfk little snake-250.jpg
"Cutthroat Country", courtesy of Gene Hall

With late summer the backcountry streams from the South Fork of the Flathead, down through Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado come into shape. Now the size and color is secondary to just plain having a couple of pockets full of high floating, durable flies. Most of these streams fish well until itís no longer possible to access them.

When the snow starts to fly and pile up, itís time to start tying. After all, you only have a few months to get all the sizes and colors youíll need for next season finished.

--Gene Hall

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