The Stimulator is a very well known fly pattern, especially in North America – and certainly in Montana, where I think it’s impossible to find a fly shop that doesn’t have it in the trays. It might even be hard to a fly box without a Stimulator in it. It’s a very versatile fly and of course not only effective in the US, but on trout everywhere.
When you’re fishing deep the risk of losing a fly is always greater than when fishing closer to the surface or dry. If you’re fishing really deep you must expect to lose a handful or two of flies on a long fishing day. With that in mind – keep the flies simple and maybe even tied from cheap easily available materials.
The question is not how to fish, but why you do it. The author and his fishing buddies do it out of necessity. It’s more important than life and death to them to escape the human world, step in to water and wave a stick. Left on the shore is their misery and worries. Standing in the water they find freedom, healing and occasionally a fish.
Battles are lost and won with tongue in cheek and always celebrated with mountains of cake and an endless stream of fresh espresso coffee. To the band of brothers it’s more important who you fish with than how big the fish is; except for the ones lost.
You may not learn a lot about catching more and bigger fish, but reading these stories is like holding a mirror up in front of yourself getting a little wiser. The small why is a big one.
This artickel is written by Danish photojournalist Søren Skarby
Small is always a matter of context. A small pike fly is infinitely larger than a small trout fly, but no matter the context, small flies are often important to have, often even the deciding factor between and take and a refusal.
Caddis are important prey for trout and grayling. Some species leave their pupal case and swim towards the surface. Here they swim towards shore to hatch on land or in vegetation. They’re fairly big and you can easily see them almost rowing along the surface. This behaviour obviously makes them highly exposed to trout and grayling, but also very fun to fish, because you can skate and twitch the fly, which often triggers quite aggressive strikes. Skating and twitching is often something we strive to avoid when dry fly fishing, but in this case, it’s exactly the way to fish.
I suppose there are many of those – I think all fly fishers have them, in one way or another. One of mine is definitely midges, mosquitoes, knot in Swedish – whatever you call them. Some of them are really small, bite and will at one point get under your clothing. And when they’re out, they’re usually out in bi-zillions. There are others that don’t bite, but they cal still be a nuisance when they hatch, because they always do so in great numbers. They do however also produce some really interesting, good and not least challenging fishing. Trout like feeding on them. One can wonder since they’re so small, but the numbers make them a good meal for a trout. Trout also know (well, trout don’t know anything, but you know what I mean) that especially as emergers they are an easy meal.
You remember mr. Wicked Trout? Our good friend, Stefan Larsson. Dry fly fisher par excellence, rock ’n’ roll bass player and singer, whisky connoisseur and in the trenches in the fight against dams on his home rivers in Älvdalen in Sweden.
It may seem convenient to buy loose feathers in a bag, instead to buy a whole hide. But if you go through what’s in the bag and sort the feathers, you discover that the percentage of usable feathers is often quite low and not infrequently you end up without the feather you needed. Of course there is a higher price for a whole skin compared to a bag of feathers, but a whole skin has so many benefits that outweigh the investment.
The great grayling fishing in Älvdalen draws fly fishers from all over Sweden, but many remain unaware that the area also offers excellent trout fishing. Älvdalen is Swedish and literally means ”the valley of rivers”.
When it comes to my home water, Österdaläven, it’s mostly known for its large population of grayling, which, as we all know, is a great fish to chase with the fly rod. Also, they are quite willing to rise to a well-presented dry fly, which most fly fishers appreciate. The excellent grayling fishing has pushed the trout a bit in the background. The trout population has been under pressure by a big dam and timber rafting. They have survived and the population has grown strong and offers high-quality fishing.