Author Archives: Clay Cunnigham

Improved Stimulator?

Guest Blogger: Clay Cunningham, Cody WY, Former National Park Superintendent

I have almost always been successful when fishing with the stonefly nymphs I tied that Randall Kaufman designed. Probably most fly fishermen did. Kaufman’s patterns were well known from the several books he published on the tying of nymphs as well as dry flies. Randall followed up his very successful stone fly nymph design with his version of a series of adult stone flies that is known as a Stimulator. His original version had a yellow body and an orange thorax. With varies colors and using different hook sizes the original design can imitate many different stone fly adults including the original yellow body and orange thorax that might be taken for a Golden stone or the large Salmon fly. Dave Hughes’ book, Trout Flies has the dressing instructions for stimulators including golden, green and orange. Hughes also provides patterns for “fluttering stone flies” which follow Kaufman’s original design though they are larger and dressed with a lot of hackle. The extra hackle is intended to flutter in the water’s current and represent legs of the fly.

I have caught fish with Kaufman’s version of the adult stone, but I wondered if some improvements could be made to encourage trout to strike more often. The two pictures with this blog show some of the changes I made.  Kaufman’s patterns used Antron, fur, or synthetic dubbing for the body. I used 1 mm fly foam. I used a permanent magic marker to color the abdomen if needed. The original designs were ribbed with undersized hackle which allowed the fly to float quite well. I ribbed the 1mm fly foam with undersized hackle as well. With the combination of fly foam and hackle the fly floats like cork and only needs one false cast to throw off any water before delivering the fly to the water again. Kaufman’s originals use elk hair for the tail. I used goose biots which I believe gives the fly a more realistic silhouette when viewed from under the water by a trout. Kaufman’s designs rely on hackle to represent the adult fly’s legs and my design does too, but I added thin rubber legs which might flutter a little more.

I hope these changes provide more action.

Cycles of the Stream: Late Summer Trout

Guest Blogger: Michael Vorhis, author of ARCHANGEL suspense thriller, OPEN DISTANCE adventure thriller & more to come

It’s August 27th as I type this…but it could just as easily be September 14th…or July 10th. It’s a hot day, and as I gather my fly gear and consider the fly I’ll tie on first, I’m tempted to say, “This is still the middle of summer. It’s hot. I need sunscreen, I need an ice-cold water bottle…summertime.”

Ahhh, but it’s not, and the trout know it. Days are detectably shorter, nights are longer. Water levels have consistently dropped and water temperature has already begun to do the same. The bugs know it too, and their autumn behavior has already kicked in. Nymphs and terrestrials are far larger than they were six weeks ago, and hatches are of the late season variety. Browns get ready for their big square dance, and in anadromous water, finned behemoths return from the sea. Shadows lengthen; even the sun’s declination is lower in the sky.

The telltale signs of “end of days” are evident to anyone and anything that cares…and trout care very much. more…

Fly of the Month – Bailes Modern Muddler

Fly of the Month by J. Stockard Pro Tyer: Brandon Bailes, Athens, AL. Brandon’s passion is exploring and fishing small streams. Find Brandon on Instagram.

This fly is one I’ve been using on smallmouth and trout in smaller water. The bend in the hook and head profile creates an erratic swimming action that attracts fish in all water conditions. Although the fly really shines when you are fishing low or smaller waters where fish can spook easy, as this fly lands softly but has a lot of movement once it gets subsurface unlike many small streamers that are just profile-oriented and don’t have as much swimming action.

Hook- Ahrex TP650 size 2
Thread- UTC 140 for the body and Veevus GSP 200D for the collar/head
Tail- Peacock Sword
Body- Flashabou, coated with Raid Zap UV Thin
Wing Support- Bucktail
Over Wing- Peacock Sword
Head- Deer Belly Hair, coated with RaidZap UV Thin more…