The following hopper pattern uses the best of both synthetic and natural materials to create a durable, visible, buoyant and accurate grasshopper pattern. Foam is the ideal synthetic material with which to tie a hopper because it is highly buoyant and stays so even after it has been munched on by several fish. When tied in conjunction with natural materials, such as turkey, it adds even more depth and profile to the fly. Having worked well for me on just about all rivers during the hot hopper summer months, I’m sure this fly will prove a success for you as well.
Tying the Fly
1. Attach the tying thread to the hook shank and wrap it back to the bend of the hook, then tie in an Antron tag and trim to the length of the hook gap, or the distance between the shank and the point. Next, wrap the thread forward toward the hook shank, leaving the first third uncovered by the thread. Tie in the strip of brown body foam and wrap rearward until you’ve tied the foam down adjacent to the Antron tag. Tie in the piece of brown D-rib, then the piece of closed cell foam directly on top of that.
2. Wrap your thread forward two-thirds up the shank. Wrap the underbody foam forward and tie it off. After you’ve trimmed the underbody foam, pull the overbody foam forward and tie and trim it off. To finish the body of the hopper, wind the ribbing forward about five or six turns to create a segmented body; tie it down and trim it.
3. Tie in one rubber leg on each side directly in front of the body and trim to length–about the length of the body. Tie in a small clump of red Antron, separate into two equal parts and tie the wings down on opposite sides of the body. Trim the wings so that they extend just beyond the hook bend. To create an overwing, tie in the thick end of the turkey quill and trim it even with the Antron underwing.
4. Add the brown dubbing to cover the remaining amount of hook shank up to the eye. This will give your fly a head. Tie down the foam disc on top of the dubbed head. About one-third of the disk should extend over the eye of the hook while the remaining two thirds should extend over the turkey wing. Tie your thread off with a few half hitches directly behind the eye and add a small drop of head cement to ensure that it won’t unravel.