Improved Chaos Hopper
How To Tie The Improved Chaos Hopper. The Improved Chaos Hopper created by Craig Matthews of West Yellowstone, is a great late-summer realistic hopper pattern. This foam hopper has the right silhouette and just enough wiggle with its rubber legs to fool any trout late into the summer. I really like the Improved Chaos Hopper in smaller sizes like 10-14’s in its original cocoa color, or even tan, goldenrod or peach colors. Whenever I’m fishing low, gin-clear waters like those found in Yellowstone Park in August and September, or even the big rivers like the Big Horn or Yellowstone River where the fish have seen size 8-12 hoppers time and time again, I like to switch things up by tying on a size 12-14 Chaos Hopper. This pattern is easy to tie, very durable and buoyant, and looks and fishes great in extra-small sizes. Tie some up, I think you’ll be pleased.
Hook: Dai-Riki #280 sizes 10-14
Thread: UTC Ultra 140 or 70 Denier brown thread.
I use the UTC 140 denier for the larger size foam hopper patterns, and the 70 denier for any foam pattern size 14 and smaller.
Foam: 2mm cocoa craft foam.
Wing: Tan Crinkled Z-Lon
Legs: Square rubber legs from Blue Ribbon Fly Shop sold in tan, yellow and green. Pattern looks pretty good with med. round legs also.
Post: 2mm orange or yellow foam.
Step 1: Cut a strip of 2mm craft foam. Strip of foam should be width of gap of hook and 2″ long.
Step 2: Trim foam strip to a taper as shown. Taper should be about half the length of the hook.
Step 3: Build a thread base on the front 1/2 of the hook only. I build a 3 layer thread base, then stop thread at point shown above. Right where the thread is hanging is where the foam strip is going to be tied in.
Step 4: Pierce a hole in the foam strip as shown. The hole should be placed a hook length from the tapered end of the foam strip and centered.
Step 5: Remove hook from vise and slide foam strip onto hook through the pierced hole made in the previous step.
Step 6: Slip foam strip up to the thread base. Tie-in point is where thread is hanging in Step 3. Bind foam strip on top of hook with 2-3 firm thread wraps.
Step 7: Lightly stretch the strip of foam extending over eye of hook. Pull strip of foam against eye of hook. The hook eye should leave a mark in the foam. Use a bodkin and pierce a hole in the foam as seen in photo above.
Step 8: Tie in z-lon overwing. For the overwing, you will want two strands of z-lon extending towards the tail of the hopper. Either tie in two separate strands of z-lon at tie-in point above or double a single strand of z-lon over itself to form a two-strand z-lon wing. Trim wings to length of foam hopper body.
Step 9: Form bullet head of the hopper. Push eye of hook through the hole made in Step 7. Apply super-glue to exposed thread base.
Step 10: Fold over foam strip to form a bullet head and cinch down foam with 2-3 firm thread wraps. Notice there is no gap between bullet head and hook eye. Cut off remaining foam strip as shown above.
Step 11: Make a thread base for the legs. Use 5-6 wraps of thread for the base. Notice that most of the hopper is all tied in at the same spot on the hook, therefore, keep thread wraps to a minimum.
Step 12: Make the hopper legs by tying an over-hand knot in a 2″ strand of rubber leg material. Repeat for other leg.
Step 13: Tie in legs of hopper as shown. Legs should be parallel to body and the knot of each leg should extend to bend of hook.
Step 14: Bind down legs with 5-6 wraps of thread.
Step 15: Cut a thin strip of 2mm yellow foam for the post. The foam strip should be slightly narrower than the head of the hopper as shown above.
Step 16: Bind down foam post with 2-3 firm thread wraps. Notice tie-in point is right in the middle of thread base. Whip-finish at this point. Foam post should extend to barb of hook.
Step 17: Trim remaining foam post as shown in photo above.
Step 18: Top view of hopper.
Step 19: Trim legs to desired length. I trim the front legs to hook length, and portion of legs below the knots about half the length of the hook.
I hope you get lots of use out of this pattern this summer. Let me know how it works for you.