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How to tie the Pink Pookie Hopper

April 19, 2010

Foam Hopper


The Pink Pookie foam hopper created by Dean Reiner out of Hatch Finders Fly Shop in Livingston, Montana in one of the more popular hopper patterns in the Livingston-Bozeman area… and for good reason.  The Pink Pookie just flat out catches fish.  This hopper pattern, with its foam bullet-head and foam wing, floats like a cork.  The pink foam body of the fly seems very unnatural for imitating actual grasshoppers, yet the trout see something in the color pink that they identify as being food. Whether the pink foam is an attractor-color to the trout or just the right shade of color is hard to say.  If you’re looking for that ” something different” hopper pattern try this one out.


Hook: Dai-Riki #730 sz. 8

I like to use 2xl nymph hooks for most hopper patterns.  These hooks are very durable.

Thread: UTC Ultra-Thread 140 Denier or Veevus 8/0 in Red for a contrast color or Pink.  I usually tie most of my hoppers with a contrast color thread.

Foam: 2mm craft foam.  Tan foam for the wing, pink for the belly.

Under-Wing: Natural deer hair.

Post: 2mm craft foam – Orange

Legs: Medium yellow/black barred rubber legs

Thread Base

Step 1: Create a thread base on the hook.  I usually do a 3-layer thread base.  Building a 3-layer thread base seems to keep the hopper body from twisting or rotating on the hook. Stop thread at hook point.

Foam Cutters

Step 2: With Foam Cutters: Using foam cutters, stamp out 2 pieces of foam.  I use a small foam cutter for the pink belly and a medium sized foam cutter for the over-wing.


or Step 2: Without foam cutters: Trim out 2 pieces of foam and taper the ends of the foam as desired.  The smaller pink strip of foam is just under a 1/4″ in width and 2 inches long.  The tan over-wing strip is 1/4″ wide and 2 1/2 inches long.  Foam cutters just quicken this step a bit.

Step 3: Remove hook from vise and slide the pink strip of foam onto the hook.  Pierce foam strip 1 hook gap from tapered end of foam strip. The hole in the foam should be right above hook point as pictured above.

Step 4: Bind down foam strip with 4-5 firm thread wraps.

Step 5: Begin forming segments on body: Advance thread forward on hook only to just in front of point of hook.  At this point, bind down foam with 4-5 firm thread wraps.

Step 6: Form next segment in body.  This segment should be just less than half-way to eye of hook.   Bind down foam with 2-3 thread wraps only. At this 3rd segment, we will tie in deer hair, over-wing and legs, so keep thread wraps to a minimum here.

Step 7: Advance thread to just shy of hook eye as shown in photo above.

Step 8: Bind down foam with 2-3 thread wraps.  Next, trim remaining foam as close as possible just behind hook eye.  You can push single blade of scissor behind hook eye as shown above and saw foam piece off against the blade or with fine point scissors, just trim foam strip right behind hook eye.

Step 9: Cover trimmed ends of foam with thread as shown above.  Try to keep thread wraps to a minimum here.

Step 10: View of completed under-body.

Step 11: Advance thread back to 3rd body segment as shown above.  Cross the thread over the top of the foam body.

Step 12: Take over-wing and lay it on top of pink foam with tapered ends of foam even.  Next, mark the foam with your fingernail just beyond end of hook eye as shown above.

Step 13: Flip foam piece over.  Tapered end should now be extending over eye of hook.  Line the fingernail mark in foam up with just beyond hook eye as shown above.  At this point, we will bind down foam over-wing.

Step 14: Bind down over-wing with 2-3 firm wraps of thread.

Step 15: Advance thread over top of pink foam to hook eye.  Lightly stretch tan foam over-wing and bind down foam at point shown above with 4-5 thread wraps.

Step 16: Trim butts of tan foam at original tie-in point as close as possible.

Step 17: Advance thread back again to 3rd body segment.

Step 18: Stack a clump of deer hair and tie in so tips of hair extend beyond pink foam under-body. See photo in step 21 for length of under-body, deer hair, and bullet-head.

Step 19: Bind down deer hair with 4-5 thread wraps.  Again, keep wraps of thread to a minimum here.

Step 20: Apply some super-glue to butts of deer hair for durability.

Step 21: Lightly pull foam over-wing back over body of hopper.  Bind down foam over-wing with 2-3 firm thread wraps.

Step 22: Cut a thin strip of 2mm orange foam.  Strip of foam should be narrower than bullet-head of hopper.

Step 23: Bind down foam post with 2-3 wraps of thread, then trim post to desired length. Post shown in photo above is about 1/4″ long.

Step 24: Tie in rubber legs on hopper with 3-4 wraps of thread.  Length of legs is about 2″.

Top View of Pink Pookie

Trout’s view of Pink Pookie

Ask me in the summer what the fish are biting on…

12 Comments leave one →
  1. August 19, 2010 1:37 am

    Great looking pattern! Thanks for the step by step.

  2. September 9, 2010 5:26 pm

    The pookie rocks! My favorite dry in August on the ‘stone

  3. May 15, 2011 10:06 pm

    I don’t have any experience with “hopperfishing” and “hoppertying”. I like this one from the photograph so I tied a few. It was very nice to do. I hope to catch some nice trout with it when I visit Paradise Valley in the middle of August with my family.

    • May 16, 2011 2:06 am

      The Pink Pookie and the Chubby Chernobyl are great flies in the Paradise Valley area in August. If your thinking of fishing in Yellowstone Park, tie up a few Chaos Hoppers as well.

  4. Kelley Hamby permalink
    June 2, 2011 5:16 am

    Probably the best how-to-tie site I’ve seen. Photos are awesome, instruction are the same. Thanks, and keep up the great work.

  5. maxepi permalink
    January 24, 2012 8:48 pm

    Very good site. Bye from Italy.


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