The Doculator: Your remedy for hungry trout

The DoculatorIn fast water, on windy days, and up tight against the banks, the Doculator gets lightening strikes from trout time and again. I first realized how special, and often more successful than other stonefly patterns, the Doculator is on a June day during one of our abundant stonefly hatches in New Mexico.

The wind had knocked the naturals down and they were fluttering and struggling in the water. I had some luck with regualr stone patterns, but when I put on my new Doculator, I began to get more strikes.

The Doculator, with its relatively short hackle, sits lower than most stonefly patterns. I believe it was that lower profile that attracted more trout and aggressive strikes better than other stonefly patterns that day, and ever since.

Trout may strike the Doculator fast as a lightening bolt, but the inspiration for the Doculator didn’t hit me quite so fast, as it sometimes does for a new pattern. Instead, the Doculator evolved over the course of a couple of seasons as I tried to create the perfect stonefly imitation that works well in wind and fast water. As a guide, I tie thousands of flies and am on the water every day. This allowed me to develop the Doculator over a long period of time, so I was able to keep fishing it and refining it until I got a fly that’s just right and works great for the exact situation for which it was designed.

Windy conditions seem to favor the Doculator and get more strikes even more than calm days. On windy days, the adult stoneflies get trapped on the water. This makes them more susceptible to trout, and I’ve found the trout key in on them more at those times than any other. In addition to the lighter hackle that lets the Doculator float lower for a more natural profile, that bit of foam in the body makes the fly easy to see, for both the trout and you!

Over the last year, the Doculator has become my go-to adult stonefly pattern across the board. It just works—no special techniques seem to make it any more productive. But the “normal” techniques often get better than normal results. Try casting it tight into the banks, along root wads, willow trees, or boulders coming out of the water; give it a twitch or two as well, and look out. One great plus with fishing the Doculator is that it bounces off grassy banks and thick vegetation easily, and doesn’t seem to hang up like a lot of dry flies. This means fewer lost flies and fewer ruined holes or runs because you have to go in after a fly. Tie a beadhead nymph behind it to go after trout on top and beneath the surface; the Doculator holds standard beadheads well for a good natural drift. They’re also a great prospecting fly for days when there is no stonefly hatch or no hatch of any kind. It will bring trout to the surface.

Here in northern New Mexico, we’re fortunate to have an abundant, wildly varied trout population: Rio Grande cutthroat, rainbows, and brookies—I’ve gone after all of them with the Doculator, and they all like it. I’ve fished the pattern extensively. It was one of the two main dry flies I used on my recent trip to Chile, and it worked as well for the trout there as it did here in the United States. The Doculator shines in any stonefly conditions. Buy a selection today and fish them to find out why you should never be without them again.

Doc Thompson, Owner of High Country Angler, is an Orvis- Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide and 2006 Orvis Fly Tier of the Year. www. flyfishnewmexico.com