Driftless Trout Anglers

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William Schlafer  
#1 Posted : Thursday, July 6, 2017 7:03:11 PM(UTC)
William Schlafer
Rank: Super Fly

Joined: 7/24/2011(UTC)
Posts: 3,163
Location: Sussex Wisconsin

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With Hopper season upon us I've been replenishing my supply by tying up a few simple Hopper patterns. I prefer the Moorish Hopper style with a few variations. I use pre-made Hopper bodies purchased online which really speeds up the process. The smaller bodies with a size 10 hook seems to be the most productive on the streams I fish.

UserPostedImage

Many of the Hopper pattern instructions on YouTube call for a standard dry fly hook. Because the hook body is often embedded into the foam most have a unsatisfactory hook gap. Here's a comparison with a old beat up store bought Hopper, and one I tied with a hook with a wider gap.
UserPostedImage
UserPostedImage

Here's a comparison of different hooks. The one on the top is a standard dry fly Mustad R50 hook. The middle one is a TMC-200R Nymph hook. And the bottom one is a Daiichi 1130 Scud Hook. Although the TMC-200R has a curved body, it's gap is still no better than the standard dry fly hook.
UserPostedImage

In previous seasons I noticed I was missing some strikes while fishing hoppers and would occasionally would yank the fly right out of their mouth without a hook set. Last week I tried a Hopper I tied with the wide gap Daiichi 1130 and it seemed to perform much better.

The glue is still wet on this one.
UserPostedImage


-Bill
“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
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NE IA Drifter  
#2 Posted : Thursday, July 6, 2017 9:28:17 PM(UTC)
NE IA Drifter
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Bill, I like the look of the legs... let us know how they turn out this year. By coinincidence I was recalling it's time to start throw the hoppers and remembered your hopper ties from last year. Cheers!
William Schlafer  
#3 Posted : Friday, July 7, 2017 6:32:47 AM(UTC)
William Schlafer
Rank: Super Fly

Joined: 7/24/2011(UTC)
Posts: 3,163
Location: Sussex Wisconsin

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Thanks!

A few years ago I purchased a bunch of fancy looking complex hopper patterns from a expert fly tier/guide (at $4/each!). I still have a few of those, but my simple Hopper catches just as many Trout as those expensive versions. Based on some rough math, my Hoppers cost about $0.25/each to make.

Many of the instructions online for hopper patterns call for trimming and fussing with the foam body, making all kinds of complex thread ties and adding lots of knotted legs and other materials applied in tricky ways. It's not worth all the extra work when it's the profile that the Trout will see from below that matters most. Make it look like some kind of leggy bug, and they'll hit it.

Most strikes while fishing Hoppers come within moments of the bug hitting the water. Trout don't spend lots of time studying it, so there's not much to be gained by putting lots of complexity in your ties.

And there's always great satisfaction catching Trout with flies tied by your own hand.

UserPostedImage


-Bill
“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
West Branch  
#4 Posted : Saturday, July 8, 2017 9:03:01 AM(UTC)
West Branch
Rank: May Fly

Joined: 9/23/2012(UTC)
Posts: 183
Location: West Branch, IA

Those are good looking dressings that will float like a cork. As you well know, trout looking for hoppers will probably eat these. I'm ashamed to say that I almost always buy hoppers since it takes me too long to tie them. A couple of years ago I ordered dozens at cheap prices for a western trip. I still have a bunch that I'm ready to show to some fish. Hoppers are starting to fly around and the tout will be looking up. Some of my biggest fish of the year usually come during hopper season. Love the hoppers!
JGF  
#5 Posted : Sunday, July 9, 2017 11:25:44 AM(UTC)
JGF
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William Schlafer wrote:
Thanks!

Many of the instructions online for hopper patterns call for trimming and fussing with the foam body, making all kinds of complex thread ties and adding lots of knotted legs and other materials applied in tricky ways. It's not worth all the extra work when it's the profile that the Trout will see from below that matters most. Make it look like some kind of leggy bug, and they'll hit it.


Yep, hoppers are among the best examples of flies tied to catch fisherman. I think a lot of folks fish hoppers that are generally too large as well. Most few of the hoppers I see in the driftless are much larger than a #10 or 12 long-shank hook.

On another point, foam hoppers are great and I use them most of the time but sometimes a fly that doesn't float so high works better for me.

On missing fish on hoppers, a wider gape will certainly help but I'm convinced that fish simply miss or reject flies when they get close more often than people think. I've caught fish that have missed the fly 2 or 3 times before I finally caught them. I don't do that on many other flies.
MikeJuran  
#6 Posted : Friday, July 14, 2017 6:10:55 AM(UTC)
MikeJuran
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Joined: 2/13/2012(UTC)
Posts: 1,016
Man
Location: Chaseburg, WI

Bill, do you slice the bottom of the foam body and super glue it to a thread-wrapped hook? I have about 5 dozen of those bodies in different color patterns and will be at my bench this weekend whilst the wife has her work friends upstairs for a party!
Fly Me A River
William Schlafer  
#7 Posted : Friday, July 14, 2017 8:24:45 AM(UTC)
William Schlafer
Rank: Super Fly

Joined: 7/24/2011(UTC)
Posts: 3,163
Location: Sussex Wisconsin

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Was thanked: 92 time(s) in 78 post(s)
MikeJuran wrote:
Bill, do you slice the bottom of the foam body and super glue it to a thread-wrapped hook? I have about 5 dozen of those bodies in different color patterns and will be at my bench this weekend whilst the wife has her work friends upstairs for a party!


I do, but I don't slice very deep. Just enough to seat the hook in the body, and then lock it down with some Zap-A-Gap and a light pinch between the fingers. This keeps as much of the hook gap as possible open below the body. When I've finished attaching the legs and tie off the thread, I go back and seal everything with the glue. Makes the fly much more durable.

I gave a few of my simple Hoppers to a friend last week to try in Crawford county and he reported that they out fished his store bought Hoppers 2-1. Size appears to be the critical factor right now, with 10-12's out fishing the larger profiles.


-Bill
“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
MikeJuran  
#8 Posted : Friday, July 14, 2017 8:47:16 AM(UTC)
MikeJuran
Rank: Dragon Fly

Joined: 2/13/2012(UTC)
Posts: 1,016
Man
Location: Chaseburg, WI

William Schlafer wrote:


I gave a few of my simple Hoppers to a friend last week to try in Crawford county and he reported that they out fished his store bought Hoppers 2-1. Size appears to be the critical factor right now, with 10-12's out fishing the larger profiles.


-Bill

Make sense ... watched a trout rise to a real hopper that flipped in the water a week or so ago ..... that real hopper was even smaller than a 12, more like a 14-16..... and the trout missed the live one .... I think later in the summer different varieties/classes of hoppers come out that are larger ...

Edited by user Friday, July 14, 2017 8:47:55 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

Fly Me A River
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