October Freshwater Fly of the Month: Terrestrial Dave's Hopper
So many different hoppers, so many first names! How did this happen? Well we do know the story of Dave's Hopper, this months Freshwater Fly of the Month. The hopper is named for Dave Whitlock, a fishermen that we owe a great bit of gratitude to for his many creations. Not only did he create the Dave's Hopper, but also the Matuka, Mouse Rat, Redhead flies and about several dozen bass and saltwater patterns. His nymph and streamer patterns are old standbys at most fly shops. Many consider Dave's contribution to fly trying, in terms of pattersn, are broader and more numerous than the contributions of Lee Wulff, one of the most famous fly tyers of all time.
Dave's hopper is somewhat of a tradition to many western fly fishers. Many fishermen say that once you master spinning deer hair, this is one of the easiest hopper patterns to tie (reason enough to learn how!). This fly can be tied with all-black materials to create a cricket, or stonefly colors to imitate any of the stoneflies that inhabit the mountain streams. The hopper is tied with trimmed hackle legs that were knotted and bent to shape. Some of the later variations used knotted pheasant tail fibers, rubber hackle, and hair for legs. Depending on the area that you live in, and the terrestrials of the local area, feel free to use artistic creativity to add any features as you see fit.
Dave's Hopper casts like a bullet. The fly is the best in wind because it shoots through wind and tends to land right up tight to the bank more than the other bugs. It does hold some water, but then it seems to "punch" through blades of grass and fall in the water. This gives it great fishability. This fly can also be fished sunk (it's an old timers trick... but it works!). Try fishing it with a little piece of split shot under a Hopper-Cator, which will allow it to drift up under the grass and into the trout's mouth. Try it and let me know how it goes!