This month's featured color blend on my skater design represents my early earliest version of what has become my standard pattern platform that several other color variations have been based on. In 2010, my son in law Shaun Frasier began fly fishing for steelhead and of course my influence of fishing dry flies rubbed off on him. He happened to see some size 6 Yellow Stimulators sitting in my trout boxes and asked if they would work for steelhead and I said "sure, why not, try them". A short time later, Shaun found himself hooking and landing his first Willamette summer steelhead on the trout pattern. Shaun would continue to find consistent success with the yellow stimulator and he explained that the steelhead would either take the fly on a short dead drift before going into the swing, during the swing, or on the dangle as the fly bobbed under (no hitch used).
I started experimenting by simply tying more yellow stimulators with a foam lip and those stayed on top and caught fish, but I didin't quite like the look so I kept tinkering. The idea of a splayed wing version came about and with ideas from other patterns being melded in. The whole deal with the indicator pieces of foam on top was my idea to enhance visibility of the pattern. The pattern was borne out of functional necessity.
While I have come up with many more color combos on this fly, including some that look more like the neon signs in Vegas, the basic yellow stimuwaker still remains a favorite of mine. With my more natural colored skaters, I tend to omit flash with the exception of the cactus chenielle thorax.
Life has been busy lately and I have several more blog posts in draft form that I need to complete. The early summer steelhead season has begun on my local water with decent numbers of fish coming over the falls. I crashed my drift boat into a root wad on my first float of the season a couple weeks ago and that story will be told. I've also been tying flies to fill orders and I also plan to get a set sent off the FFC.
Wishing all my fishing friends a wonderful summer steelhead season. The "skater season" has arrived!