Improved Madam X
HOOK: Dai Riki 270, size 6-10
BODY: Orange sythetic yarn
UNDERWING: Golden pheasant fibers
MIDDLE WING: Clear Raffia treated with Flexament and curved over body
WING: Deer hair tied bullet style, with ends pulled back to form wing
LEGS: Black rubber tied on with bright green thread. Front legs are short, back legs are long.
Imitates grasshoppers, which can be common from late July through early fall. Grasshoppers are terrestrial insects, but they often fall onto the water from streamside vegetation. They represent a large and easy meal to trout.
This pattern is a variation of the Madam X and offers some improvements. For more, see the article Hoppers . . . At Last.
Vary the body color and thread to match the insects that are available. Common natural colors are lemon yellow, chartreuse, dark brown, dark gray, and dark olive .
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.
1. De-barb hook, put in vice, start thread.
2. Wrap body with yarn up to the point where the rubber legs will be tied in.
3. Tie in golden pheasant tail fibers. The tips of the fibers should be even with the back of the hook.
4. Tie in Raffia wing material at the point where the rubber legs will be tied in.
5. Tie in stacked deer hair in front of the point where the rubber legs will be tied in; hair is facing forwards.
6. Wrap head about twice as thick as body. Whip finish and trim thread.
7. Pull deer hair back over body and hold down with a couple of wraps of new thread.
8. Tie in two strands of rubber, one on each side, to form legs. Front legs are short, back legs are long. The same thread holds down the deer hair wing.