Intermediate Fly Tying:
Henry's Fork Hopper
By Al Campbell
Before we go too far, I'd like to finish our hoppers with a look at one
more great fly. We'll be spending the next few weeks spinning and
stacking hair, and leaving hoppers without tying the Henry's Fork Hopper
would be a crime.
Although it doesn't have a spun deer hair head, and spinning hair is
where we were and where we'll be going for a while, I think we need to
look at this fly before we continue along. Consider it a side step if
you will; a necessary look to the side as we travel the road of hair
spinning and manipulation.
The Henry's Fork Hopper uses a bullet style head. The head is still
created from deer hair, but instead of clipping and shaping the hair,
it's folded back and tied down to form a bullet shaped head. I think
you'll find this style of head useful and durable.
Mike Lawson gets the credit for creating this great pattern that uses
deer and elk hair for most of the body, wing and head. Since the hair is
hollow, the fly floats because of the buoyant characteristics of the
hair, not the way it rests on the surface tension of the water. If the
current pulls it under, it'll pop back to the surface because it's
buoyant. A great fly for turbulent water, but it also does very well in
You'll get a look at a new tool today. The Griffin bullet-head tool is
the best item I've found to help create bullet-head flies. Since
bullet-heads are fairly common in streamer flies, the bullet-head tool
has more than one application.
If you're looking for fast fish catching action, it's hard to beat a
Henry's Fork Hopper on a windy day in late summer. You won't need a
graceful landing for this fly to work, real hoppers hit the water with a
plop that quickly gets the attention of any nearby fish. Hang on, I've
watched fish clear the water by more than a foot to dive on a hopper that
carelessly landed in the water. I can handle that kind of action.
List of materials: Henry's Fork Hopper
Hook: Light wire terrestrial hook. Tiemco 2302 or equivalent. Size:
4 to 14.
Thread: Yellow 3/0 or kevlar
Tail: Elk or deer hair, folded over to create a rounded tail.
Under Body: Yellow thread or yarn.
Over Body: Hair, the same hair used to make the tail.
Rib: Copper wire.
Under Wing: Tan elk hair, tied sparse.
Over Wing: Grouse feather, treated with flexible cement.
(Traditionally a piece of turkey wing feather.)
Legs: Yellow, multi-colored, black or
white rubber hackle material.
Head: Deer hair, tied bullet style.
1. Tie down a copper ribbing wire to the hook bend.
2. Select a medium sized bunch of elk hair, remove the under-fur, even
the tips in a hair stacker and tie in by the tips.
3. Using a bodkin, fold the hair over the bodkin just behind the hook
bend, hold in place, and tie off about 1/3 hook shank length behind the
hook eye as shown.
4. Trim the excess hair at the front of the body. Also trim any stray
strands of hair or broken hairs.
5. Rib the hair down into a segmented body. As you get better at this,
you can take a wrap of wire behind the hook bend first to create a
tighter tail, but the fish don't mind this tail.
6. Tie in an under-wing of elk hair using the same procedure used in Al's
Hopper. Trim the excess hair and wrap the ends down with thread.
7. Tie in the feather over-wing using the same procedure used in the
Dave's Hopper wing.
8. Select a medium sized bunch of deer hair, comb out the under-fur, even
the tips in a stacker, measure for length (about 3/4 the length of the
hook shank) and make a wrap of thread around the hair before binding it
to the hook. (The tips of the hair should extend over the hook eye.)
9. Make another wrap of thread around the hook and hair, then cinch it
down to the top of the hook.
10. Trim the excess hair and cover the ends down with thread. Wrap the
tip portion of hair down with thread to tight behind the hook eye. Wrap
the thread back to the point where the wing is tied in, covering all the
hair in the head area as you go.
11. Push a bullet-head tool back over the hook eye and hair to a point
just above the point where the wing was tied in. With the bullet-head
tool in place, you can even up the hair around the hook.
12. Pull the bullet-head tool forward slightly and bind the hair down
with thread behind the tool. Use enough thread pressure to cause the
hair to flare and to form a bullet looking head.
13. Your bullet head will now look something like this.
14. Tie in a strand of rubber hackle on each side of the head as shown.
If the rubber hackle spins to a place on the hook it's not supposed to
be, just stretch it and move it back into place. When you let the rubber
hackle go, it will expand and stay in place.
15. Whip finish the head and cement. After the cement has dried, lift
the rubber legs above the body, hold them together as pairs (front and
back) and trim to length. The rear legs should extend to the back of the
body, and the front legs should extend slightly beyond the head.
16. Bottom and top views of the finished fly.
Experiment with different colors of deer hair if you like. Like other
hopper patterns, this one can also be tied in cricket, stonefly and
cicada colors. If you fish this fly you'll discover what Mike Lawson and
I already know; it catches fish.
Until next week my friends, practice and have fun.
See ya next week - Remember, I'm always happy to answer
your questions, feel free to
email me. ~ Al Campbell
Fly Tying Archives
[ HOME ]
[ Search ]
[ Contact FAOL ]
[ Media Kit ]
FlyAnglersOnline.com © Notice