I’ve been fly fishing for about 40-years now. During that half of a lifetime, I’ve learned a few things. One of the things I’ve learned is that trout are just not nearly as smart as the fishing guides would lead you to believe. Don’t get me wrong, there are rare occasions where the failure to present the perfect imitation will result in flat out refusals. But in most fly fishing circumstances, a fly has to look just-buggy enough, and be properly presented.
Hence, the “attractor.” An attractor fly is any fly that doesn’t mimic a specific Genus Species of water dwelling bug. Instead, the attractor relies on the characteristics of sparkle, color, movement, and shape to entice the trout. And they work. They work so well in fact that I catch the vast majority of my fish on them.
My latest favorite is a fly called the Chubby Chernobyl. Its large fly with big white tuft of poly yarn. It rides high on the water and makes for an excellent strike indicator when nymphs are suspended below it. I like mine tied with red thread. Red seems to work well as attractor.