**Featured in the July/August 2011 issue of Southwest Fly Fishing**
I have learned to like fishing in the summer. The days heat up quickly and the afternoon breezes blow all kinds of interesting food forms into the water. It’s time for some terrestrial fishing; specifically grasshoppers. While ants and beetles have always been a fall staple in my fly box, it’s the larger hoppers that can make for some exciting dry fly fishing along our western streams during the breezy days of August.
Using small discs of colored foam (Disc Foam), it is easy to construct a high floating fly that allows you to blend colors for the body. I make my discs using a steel golf shaft that is a remnant from my golf club repair days. The graduated steps up the shaft allow for slightly larger sizes of foam to be created. I cut the shaft at the desired spot, and then sharpen one end around the perimeter using a grinding wheel. This allows me to “punch” perfectly round discs from the foam in whatever diameter I choose. A common ‘hole punch’ provides the smallest size, and these work great as an add-on strike indicator.
The body is dubbed, and the foam discs are applied as you build forward on the body. The foam surrounds the dubbed body when viewed from underneath and gives a nice blending of colors.
I like the fact that I can tie a good floater without building a lot of bulk. I prefer a size 8-10 2XL dry fly hook (curved or std) for these flies.
The view from underneath:
This is a bit of a work in progress as far as colors and leg materials go. I may tweak a little bit here and there before all is said and done, but for now here is the pattern recipe:
DF (Disc Foam) Hopper
Hook: Size 8-10, 2XL
Tail: Red hackle fibers
Body: Dubbing color of choice, with 3 foam discs tied onto body as you move forward with the dubbing
Wing: Pearl Krystal Flash, turkey tail fibers, deer hair
Legs/Antennae: Rubber leg material of choice applied at start of thorax
Thorax: Body dubbing or peacock dubbing
Head: Foam disc of contrasting color tied so as to push the wing down into place
Favorite color combinations include:
Tan Dubbing/Yellow Foam
Tan Dubbing/Olive Foam
Olive Dubbing/Tan Foam
Yellow Dubbing/Tan Foam
Dirty Yellow Dubbing/Yellow Foam
Peacock Dubbing/Black Foam (for the DF Cricket)
Here’s the Tan/Yellow version:
I encourage you to play around with foam discs and see what you can create. This hopper pattern is a winner. I have had tremendous luck with the yellow, tan, and olive versions in size #8 and 10 this summer. Some of the largest cutthroat of the year have slammed this fly. I am making a permanent place in my box of terrestrials for these flies.
This design lends itself to imitating other insects: the DF Hopper, DF Cricket, DF (October) Caddis, DF Traveler (Sedge), etc. Stay tuned for more variations on display here.
I hope this serves to help in your own creations at the vise.