Tying the Leopold Stimi

The Leopold Stimi is pretty much just a stimulator with a foam body and foam extensions on either end of the hook. It acts as a great attractor fly and does a very good job as the hopper on the hopper-dropper set up, it can even handle some pretty hefty droppers and still float high. The story behind the name is that it was first tested in the Aldo Leopold Wilderness of New Mexico chasing Gila Trout.

While I know this isn’t a new pattern, this is my spin on it and it seems to fish pretty well for me!


Hook: size 10 long shank dry fly hook

Thread: color of your choice 70 denier (I used grey and olive for these flies)

Foam: Thin cut strip approximately 1 cm wide

Body Thread: Orange and yellow silk floss

Body Hackle: Size 18 Whitings grizzly hackle

Wing: Natural deer hair

Front Body: Tan/Brown Natural Dub (optional)

Front Hackle: Size 14 Whitings grizzly hackle (optional)

Legs: Rubber legs, dealers choice on the color but leave them long (optional)

Begin the thread at the back of the hook right at the bend
Tie on cut foam with around 1 cm sticking off of both ends of the hook
Wrap securely and wind thread to the back of the hook
Tie in body thread (orange) and hackle (size 18) to the back of the hook
Wrap tying thread up to behind the foam “head”
Wrap body thread to the front and secure with a few wraps of tying thread
This look was created using a staggered body thread (yellow) over the base thread (olive)
Colors created using multiple body wraps alternated to the front of the fly.
Wrap hackle to the front of the fly and secure with a few wraps of tying thread
Tie in deer hair wing case that is cut to match the end of the body wrap before the foam “tail”
Firmly tie in legs in front of the wing
Build a dubbing ribbon
Wrap dubbing around the legs and end at the front of the fly, right before the foam “head”
Bottom view, whip finish and you’re done!
The hackle alternative to the dubbing loop
Wrap size 14 Whitings hackle forward and secure with a few wraps, whip finish and you’re done!

This fly has endless ways to substitute colors (foam, body thread, hackle, dubbing, legs and even the base thread). What I like most about it is the added length of foam that make for a more realistic head and the much improved flotation of the foam body. If you tie some up I would love to see some pictures of the flies and the fish they bring you!

Not the best picture but a little Gila with the Leopold Stimi in its jaws
A little Colorado River Cutthroat fooled by the fly

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