Whiskey Creek Fly Fishing

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Sofa Pillows, Stimulators, and Such

March 25th, 2009 · 2 Comments

The sofa-pillow is one of the first stone-fly patterns. Created by Pat Barnes in West Yellowstone, the story goes that a bunch of fishermen were visiting from Texas. The lone-star fishermen were having difficulty fishing small flies. So, Pat took out some streamer hooks and created large, bushy, easy to see fly. The name came from an exclamation that the fly is as large as a sofa pillow.

(photo from Fly Anglers Online)

As time went on, Pat improved the sofa pillow, adding a deer hair tail, palmered body hackle, and deer hair wing instead of the squirrel. Lots of imagination went behind the new name, Improved Sofa Pillow.

The next evolution went, strangely, east.  Jim Slatterty, a fly tyer and punk-musician in New Jersey tied this fly to simulate a fluttering stonefly. He named it the Stimulator. He added the deer hair wing (parallel development?), the dubbed front half, which gives another opportunity to add color, and the more sparsely hackled thorax/front half.

The Stimulator was made popular in the west by Randall Kaufmann.


(Photo from TroutFlies tutorial)

Why the history lesson?  I’ve been experimenting with these patterns for a stone-fly pattern to try out this spring.  Check this space tomorrow for the new pattern.

Tags: Fly Tying

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Anthony Naples // Mar 26, 2009 at 4:39 am

    Nice article. I enjoy the historical background. Looking forward to seeing the pattern you come up with.

  • 2 Updated Sofa Pillows // Mar 26, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    [...] Sofa Pillows, Stimulators, and Such [...]

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