The Henry’s Fork Hopper was created by Mike Lawson back on the 1970’s. Specifically, he created it for fishing on the Henry’s Fork river and specifically when hoppers were prevalent (a.k.a terrestrial or “hopper” season). Like many great flies, there is not much to it but it is put together in such a way as to make the fly represent a hopper well, fish well and catch fish. That means the fly has to ride on the surface but with about half the body below the waterline. Real grasshoppers do not float totally on the surface. They are mostly submerged with most of their body below the surface. The Henry’s Fork hopper mimics this by using elk hair for the entire fly which will help the fly stay on the surface but with a good bit of the fly floating just under the surface. The fly also has to cast well and be able to be presented well. The Henry’s fork hopper does this also. It is very aerodynamic and travels smoothly through the air. It does not twist up the leader when you cast it. It can be presented very delicately if the fish are spooky and with force if they are more aggressive and you want to get their attention. It is also an easy fly to tie. It is not a quick tie, it take me about 15 minutes to tie one. That said, the materials are easy to acquire, easy to manage and their application to the hook is pretty straightforward. Some steps may take a bit of time for someone new to the fly to get comfortable with but all in all a fun fly to tie. Lastly, it has to work and the Henry’s Fork hopper definitely does works. It’s popularity has spread from the Henry’s Fork to almost all other trout waters in the U.S., including lakes. Originally, Mike Lawson tied in some legs to the Henry’s Fork hopper and eventually stopped because he felt the collar does a good enough job at representing legs. However, most commercial patterns you find these days include some rubber legs tied in on both sides on the head. I think most people just can’t fish it as a “true” hopper without some legs on it. The Henry’s Fork hopper has become a popular fly for both coldwater and warmwater species. It is usually tied in sizes 10 & 12 for trout which just so happens to be a great size for panfish. Here in the Midwest our grasshoppers get a bit big so I tie the Henry’s Fork hopper on sizes 6 & 8 hooks for Smallmouth and Largemouth bass. The version of the Henry’s Fork hopper in the video is tied (more or less) as Mike Lawson tied it with the exception I substituted natural deer hair for the head and the collar as my natural elk hair was too short for the size 8 hook. You can also use all deer hair if that is what you have or a combination of deer and elk as I have. You can change up colors for all the materials if you want or need a different color. It think it would be fun to tie some of these with a bright florescent colored body and/or head just to see how they do. Some Chartreuse or pink or even Yellow would be fun. When you have a warm summer evening with a gentle wind blowing there can be nothing finer then throwing a nice hopper pattern along the grass and the banks and just letting it float along and do it’s magic. – Enjoy.
|Hook: Mustad 9672 (R74), #4 – #12
|UTC Ultra Thread, 140 Denier, Yellow
|Elk Rump Hair
|Elk Hair, Yellow
|Speckled Hen, Brown with Flexament to stiffen
|Elk Hair, Natural (or Deer Hair)
If you would like to purchase a few Henry’s Fork Hopper flies there are a number for sale (while supplies last).
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As always, if you have any questions about this fly (or any other) you can leave a comment on Dressed Irons or any of the videos I have produced and I will help in anyway I can. Enjoy!
Remember….. It’s Fly tying….. If you’re not having fun, You’re Doin’ It Wrong.