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Henry's Fork Hopper

Created by Mike Lawson

HOOK: 5212, sizes 6-14

THREAD: Yellow

BODY: Light elk hair. Use hair about three times the length of the hook shank. Wrap with thread from where the wing ties in to past hook bend, then pull forward and warp to the beginning point.

UNDERWING: Yellow elk

OVERWING: Mottled brown hen saddle, wide and round. Treat with Flexament and shape with your fingers.

HEAD: Light elk, same length as hook shank. Tied bullet style with ends facing back, over wings, to make a collar. Trim the underside close to the body.

LEGS: Round yellow rubber. Tie knots in the middle. A tuft of orange yarn can be tied in on top of the fly; it's for visibility.

  henrys fork hopper


Grasshoppers are terrestial insects that often stumble into rivers in late summer. If you encounter lots of hoppers in the grass near the riverbank, tie on a hopper pattern and see what happens.

How to Fish

Dress the fly with floatant and use standard dry fly presentations. On small streams, you can fish a hopper anywhere in the river, but on larger flows you will do best to present the fly right next to the bank. On larger rivers, the best places to cast are along the margins, no more than 15 feet from the bank, and often only inches from the bank. Unless you're fishing from a boat, you may find it works best to wade into the river and cast back to the bank.

One effective tactic is to cast so the fly hits shoreside grass, then lands in the river with a distinct plop. This mimics the natural insect. To further imitate natural behavior, give the fly an occasional twitch as it drifts.

I've had excellent fishing on hopper patterns as late as October. One sunny fall day on the Frain Ranch section of the Klamath, grasshoppers were bouncing off my legs, face, and glasses as I walked through the thick bankside grass. Taking my cue from nature, I tied on a Henrys Fork Hopper and cast away. Anytime I put the fly on riffly water that was in the sunshine, was more than a foot deep, and had grass nearby, I was guaranteed a rise from a fat, wild trout.

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