Hoppers – to foam or not to foam

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This topic contains 5 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  magicmike 2 months ago.

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    For years I have tied and fished Schroeder’s Parachute Hopper. For this most part it is a very successful pattern for me. I have made subtle changes to the pattern over the years like tying a turkey quill abdomen, or adding a clipped dear hair head (much like a Turk’s Tarantula). Last summer I bought a number of foam hoppers that were very nice looking but did not produce like the Schroeder’s or Dave’s hopper.

    In my quest to whittle the winter away tying, should I try tying/fishing foam hoppers? What are your experiences with said patterns? Do they produce as well as the old standby patterns?



    Scotty MacFly

    Wow, uh, good question. You know, in my experience, from what I have witnessed as well, some people love foam hoppers, and some others really like Dave’s Hoppers. I personally like the look of Dave’s & have a few myself, but I have found with Dave’s, don’t go too big. About 3/4 of an inch is as big as I’ll go. Anything bigger I have not caught a fish yet.

    I say, stick with what works for you, but try another pattern once in awhile just to see how it goes.
    Like the saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

    All the fly patterns I tie, which ain’t many, are proven producers. I’m happy with that.

    So if foam doesn’t work for you, don’t waste your time I say.

    Personally, I know all the magazines go crazy with hopper articles for summer & fall, and people love to fish them. I never really had any great success with hoppers, so I began to use them as an indicator when I have a very small dry trailing behind that I can’t see very well fishing riffles & such. But I also feel the authors of those magazine articles will write anything just to get paid.

    I know there is a hopper pattern used on the Rio Grande near South Fork CO. that gets rave reviews, and I have wondered maybe some patterns work better in certain areas than other patterns. I can’t remember the pattern they use down on the Rio, but I’ll look it up & let you know.


    Scotty MacFly

    It’s called the Charlie Boy Hopper, which is a foam hopper.



    Same experience here Scotty – never did well with big hoppers. Even when the banks were crawling with 2” naturals only an imitation half that size or smaller would raise a fish.

    Big fan of the Dave’s Hopper but I’ll tie them with a yellow or green foam body instead of the poly yarn that the original pattern calls for. It struck me as a good compromise – Whitlock’s proven design plus the extra flotation of foam.

    I suspect the popularity of foam hoppers has more than a bit to do with their suitability as strike indicators. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. 😉

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by  Grsdlnr.

    Scotty MacFly

    Grs, I am so glad to know I’m not the only one who doesn’t do well with big hoppers. I have had fish slap at them when used as a indicator, and then take my smaller fly. I can only come up with the reasoning that there must be some micro drag, so they slap the hopper, and in turn slowing the drift down enough that they take my trailing fly. But I’m not certain of that yet 100%.



    Lots of good info. Thanks Scotty, I will take a look the Charlie Boy Hopper. I have never had great success fishing big hoppers, as a matter of fact I usually never fish one above a size 10. I do find that hoppers that are tied with a more sparse body, and a deer hair head or dubbed head fish better than foam.

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