View Full Version : Hopper Patterns

Dead Drifter
07-22-2012, 11:57 AM
Just looking for some advise on using hopper patterns. I have always associated hopper patterns for fishing out west, and have never gave them a try in the park. Has anyone tried these with any real success in the park? At times on stream banks I will see a fair amount of hoppers, but nothing in the realm of what you see stream side in Yellowstone on a hot day in late June. I would just like to hear anyone else's experience with hoppers. What time of year, particular hopper patterns used, time of day, where to fish them,...etc? Thanks for the advise everyone.


Don Kirk
07-22-2012, 05:22 PM
The last time I checked, over three dozen species of grasshoppers have been identified with the confines of the GSMNP. Since much of the park is forested, flightless grasshoppers are most often common. They number just under two dozen. The most notable that I have encountered is the Carolina Oak Grasshopper (Dendrotettix zimmermanni) which I have always referred to in my park guide books as the “green chevron hoppers” that often come out in great numbers in late spring. Back in those days I tied what I called the “Hip’s Hopper.” It is a gaudy looking thing with a chartreuse body.
This time of year the winged hoppers are most common. These are rarely bright green. In fact, as summer turns into autumn, the hoppers in the park tend to get darker and darker in color. Hoppers are easy to imitate. You can even press a Muddler Minnow into service if you have no hopper patterns. I like big ones, usually on a size 10 to 8 hook. Back before I was old enough to read the GSMNP fishing regulations I caught wild hoppers to use for bait. Aside from them being illegal, hoppers are more trouble to catch than a nice trout. However, as I recall, the trout knew the difference in real and feathery hoppers.

Rob Johnson
07-23-2012, 12:44 AM
Joe's hopper size 12 or 14 has always been a killer fly for me on GSMNP streams. April thru fall it is one of my "go to" flies. Just looks like a bug I guess.;)

07-23-2012, 10:35 AM
I like Schroeder's hopper easy to tye and it is pretty durable.

Dead Drifter
07-26-2012, 05:20 PM
Thanks for the replies. This is just what I wanted to hear. Have any of y'all used Letort Hoppers? Lots of people swear by them. I always use Dave's or Joe Hoppers. These work great, but they are bad about twisting your line, and ultimately they are kinda fragile.


Cane Pole
07-26-2012, 07:36 PM
I posted this one on another thread but it's the best hopper pattern I have ever used. It has a deer hair under-wing and I use it religiously in the Smokies. I remember I tied one on for my wife one day when we went after Speckled trout and now that's all she will use.

There is a lime green hopper around that I used to catch as a kid. may be the same thing that Don Kirk referred to -- but it is killer and so I tie this pattern in lime green too.

When I go out west I like to use a big one like a #10 or a #8. It really is a great fly

http://i267.photobucket.com/albums/ii302/morrisro/Fishing/Trout/flies/th_P7260085.jpg (http://i267.photobucket.com/albums/ii302/morrisro/Fishing/Trout/flies/P7260085.jpg)

07-27-2012, 01:42 PM
Nice looking fly, would you post up some directions on tying it for me? Or if you rather send to email? branmidkiff at yahoo d o t com.

Cane Pole
07-27-2012, 07:18 PM
Sure - I posted the material on another thread before I realized we had a hopper thread. This is basically a Schroeder's Hopper with a slight twist.

I call it the Webb Creek Hopper because I started out drowning hoppers on that creek as a kid. Ok, Ok I know it's a Schroeders, but the deer hair technically makes it different ;)

Hook: Tiemco 200R - Size #14 & up
Thread: 6/0 color to match body
Post: white poly yarn
Hackle: usually grizzley or brown (or both)
Rib: copper wire
Tail: that's right a very short tail - deerhair
Body: tan super-fine dubbing (or lime green)
Under-Wing: deerhair
Over-Wing: turkey tail (x2 on larger flies)
Legs: Pheasant Tail tied in knot (intentionally tied bow-legged)

Start thread and build a base behind the hook eye
Build a parachute about 1/4 length of hook back from eye (or maybe a little closer - just eyeball it) I use poly-yarn but do not tie it in like most people. I just tie it in at the middle of the yarn and pull up both halves to form the parachute. Make really tight wraps to prevent it from spinning. Tie it higher than you would expect. (Saves a heck of a lot of bulk by not tying it in length-wise and then having to bury thread under the front to get it to stand up.)
tie in the hackle and wind up the parachute and back down
build thread base to tail
tie in a clump or deer hair as a short tail, but more importantly to add bulk for the body (hoppers are fat). I tie the tail rather short like a stimulator and try not to flair it too much.

it also acts to "lengthen" the body a bit. e.g. for green hoppers I use green deer hair

Tie in the ribbing
dub body rather fat to to post. I try to keep the width rather uniform like a grasshopper's body is (i.e. don't taper it - more like a cigar)
rib the body, tie off and wiggle the wire back-and-forth to break. (I was taught never to cut the wire)
cut a clump of deer hair as the underwing and measure so that it will be about a shank's length longer than the body (just be sure it's longer)

I cut the hair so that it will butt right up to the post and maybe just a tad more so that when I tie it in there I can work the thread between the butts somewhat (like a caddis). I realize this is not how most would do it, but I think it's easier and saves a bunch of bulk here.

cut a prepared turkey feather to be the same length as the deer hair (well really a tad longer) and tie it in right on top. It should be wide enough to come down half-way on either side for small (#14-12) flies. I tie in 2 wings for bigger hoppers.

to prepare it, I coat the feather with head cement (there's probably better stuff to use) to make it rather stiff
Also round the tail end of it with scissors - cut the tie in spot flat
tie it right behind the post on top of deer hair

tie in prepared legs behind the post (key: on top of the wing) so that the knee is about even with the end of the body

I tie a knot in pheasant tail fibers (3 or 4) with a pair of tweezers. Key: leave the fibers on the tail
I also coat the "shins" with a little cement because these ends tend to separate. I doubt the fish really care, however
Another Key: I intentionally tie them in so that they are bow-legged because I think the fish key on the legs
cut the shins about 2/3 the length of the thigh

Now dub the head. Key: be sure to wrap back over the wing slightly and look at the bottom of the fly. You want this to still be the same diameter/width as the body so that from the bottom you don't see any transition here

I try to make the head a little bigger and square but don't always succeed.
also try to end up at the front of the post

wrap the hackle down the post with each wrap under the previous one
Tie off the hackle by winding around the post trapping the loose end of the hackle which is still hanging with pliers attached

somewhat tricky - a rotating vise makes it easier. Don't want to trap and hackle fibers here - stay underneath

tie off behind the eye (sometimes I will add a smidgen more dubbing as a wrap to get me to the eye -- but not really necessary
Hope that helps. I think the deer hair really makes this fly. It floats much better and I think the underwing makes it look somewhat distressed (but who knows?) The smaller sizes work great in the Park, but it's really a hoot out west in the big sizes.

07-27-2012, 08:53 PM
Cool! I'm gonna give it try ( or 3, I'm not good with tying). I sure do appreciate that!! Talk to you soon.

07-28-2012, 09:25 AM
I change my Schroeder's a little, I use red thread, as some hoppers have a touch of red in them. For tails I use Moose mane.

Cane Pole
07-28-2012, 05:30 PM
Cool! I'm gonna give it try ( or 3, I'm not good with tying). I sure do appreciate that!! Talk to you soon.

You ought to try a Turk's Tatantula. I've tied 5 ... and 3 of 'em are in the trash can! ;) Some flies just aren't worth it.

I've got a PMX spin-off that looks like a Royal Wulff in the hind end. I call it a Royal PITA. :eek:

Rog 1
07-29-2012, 03:31 PM
Late summer and early fall these are my go to flies...I love to fish the PMX in green and yellow...and don't just limit yourself to the stream banks .... and don't be shy about using large ones either... I have seen days when it looks like big bream are smashing these flies in mid stream...this is what dry fly fishing is all about...you just gotta love it.

07-30-2012, 02:54 PM
You ought to try a Turk's Tatantula. I've tied 5 ... and 3 of 'em are in the trash can! ;) Some flies just aren't worth it.

I've got a PMX spin-off that looks like a Royal Wulff in the hind end. I call it a Royal PITA. :eek:

Good one! I do have a few Turks but they're bought. I mostly have stuck with the bream and bass poppers and a few BHPT's, stuff like that. I've bought everything else but I do enjoy tying. I just don't do it as much as I'd like.