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The Beauty of Foam Hoppers

January 23, 2010

Sanchez foam wing hopper

Where do I even begin…

Livingston, Montana is a great place to fish hoppers late in the season.  Being a fishing guide and avid fisherman myself I have had many opportunities to try out every kind of hopper imaginable.  I love tying flies and coming up with my own variations on tried -and-true patterns.  Every summer I try to outdo the last with a better hopper.  When talking about foam hoppers what it eventually boils down to is that they are virtually unsinkable, fun to tie, and most importantly, from time to time fish mistake them for the real thing!

I’ve had fish eat tan, yellow, brown, black, green, goldenrod, peach, pink, and purple, yes pink and purple, foam hoppers.  Almost every color of buoyant craft foam available from either fly shops or craft stores, has wound up on one of my foam hoppers. Add to that the availability of leg material in small, medium, large, round, flat, barred, with or without glitter, etc… in every color you can imagine, you start seeing the endless possibilities of foam and rubber.

Hoppers have come a long way from the timeless deer hair creations, including Joe’s hopper, Dave’s hopper, and the fly that may have started the synthetic craze, the Madam-X with those silly white rubber legs. Hoppers don’t have white legs, but for some reason, white rubber legs drive trout nuts.  I can’t even count the number of trout I’ve fooled on white rubber legged flies like the Turk’s Tarantula, Madame-X, Sanchez Convertible series of flies, bitch creeks and yuk bugs.  Sinking or floating, white rubber legs, or any colored rubber legs, just attract fish. Combine the floating qualities of foam, plus rubber legs to a hook, what you get are fish.

Foam floats, rubber legs wiggle. Fish love it. Enough said

What do you think?  Do you enjoy fishing with foam hoppers as much as I do or do you refuse to fish with foam?  What are some of your favorite patterns and most successful colors?

12 Comments leave one →
  1. January 23, 2010 7:08 pm

    Those are some mighty fine lookin’ hoppers!

  2. S.Konley permalink
    January 23, 2010 11:24 pm

    Love the hopper talk and yes there is nothing like throwing a big foamy out there on a sunny warm august afternoon and watching a large salmonoid attack from the depths. To help those like myself who are not familiar with all the names (i.e. Joe’s, dave’s, turks, dirty sanchez) an index complete with photo would be super. Twitchy… twitchy…

    • January 23, 2010 11:41 pm

      Scotty, thanks for the feedback and good idea. Will be posting more info along with photos soon.

  3. June 25, 2010 6:19 pm

    NIIIIIIICE!!!!I love tying hoppers,don’t fish them a whole lot,though i do throw them sometimes.Love tying deer hair hoppers and after going through your site I have tied up a few to try in the late summer./some really great looking patterns.
    I mainly fish a limestone stream here in wv and midges and baetis and ants in the summer and fall usually work best.So i usually don;t fish the hoppers much,but boy do i love to tie them.Maybe I”ll try some of the patterns i tied up from ure site this year.

    • July 6, 2010 3:09 am

      Hope some of these hopper patterns work for you. The improved chaos hopper is tough to beat in small sizes (14-16) if your wv trout eat any hoppers at all. Always looking for good ant patterns here in Montana. Let me know if you have any killer patterns…

  4. September 9, 2010 5:29 pm

    Foam hoppers are the way to go. Especially for intermediate anglers as they don’t sink! They also make great indicators for hopper dropper rigs..

  5. October 11, 2011 11:17 pm

    Hi, i’m interested in found the Sanchez foam wing hopper recipe, can you send me one link to?
    Great work whit the blog.

  6. Ricklesss permalink
    May 11, 2012 12:00 pm

    The latest Fly Fisherman magazine (June/July 2012) has an arcticle by Dave Whitlock on Texas Hill Country Bass fishing. (It reeeally makes me want to go there!)
    On page 52 he has a recipe for “Dave’s Bass Hopper” that iuses a foam cylinder and also elk rump hair. (and it’s got rubber legs!)
    Anyhow, it looks like a great pattern! but I cannot find anything at all about it on-line; a better photograph, or tying instuctions.
    Maybe it’s one of his newest flies….maybe some day someone will post if they ever find more info. (or I will)
    I love hoppers!
    RIcklesssssssssssS in Oregon

  7. July 4, 2012 9:35 am

    The hoppers you tie are the best ive seen in a long time keep up the good work.

  8. July 15, 2012 3:34 pm

    your hoppers are sweet

  9. A H Lee. permalink
    September 11, 2012 6:56 pm

    Yea the foam flies are great but come on what happened to using what mother nature gave us to tie with calftail, dear, turkey and pheasant im just say’n

  10. Mike permalink
    January 7, 2015 8:42 am

    Very nice hoppers! I like fishing them for bass and bluegill.

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