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Western Lady Hopper Tutorial

January 10, 2011


Here is my tutorial on how to tie the Western Lady Hopper created by John Gould.  The Western Lady Hopper has been around for a couple of years now, but some of the bigger trout eat it up like it’s the real thing or something they’ve never seen before.  The Western Lady has a very buggy look, with all of those legs, plus it sits a little lower in the water than most hopper patterns because of its hackle-wrapped body. Every summer I am surprised how many big fish, especially brown trout, I catch on pink bodied hoppers like the Western Lady Hopper and Pink Pookie. Try this pattern out, I think you’ll be happy with the results.


Hook: Tiemco 5262 size 10-12

Thread: Veevus 8/0 red thread

Foam: 2mm pink foam for the under-body, 3mm brown foam for the over-wing

Hackle: Brown hackle

Wing: Bleached elk hair

Post: 2mm foam in orange, yellow or white.

Legs: small round barred legs in gray, brown, or white.  Barred super-floss legs also work well for this pattern.

Hopper Hook Size 10

Step 1

Step 1: Form a thread base on hook.  End thread base at half-way point as shown above.

Foam Hopper

Step 2

Step 2: Cut a thin strip of 2mm pink foam for body of hopper.  Taper strip of foam to a point.

Hopper tying

Step 3

Step 3: Tie in pointed end of foam strip.  Bind down foam towards back of hook as shown above.

Foam Hopper Body

Step 4

Step 4: Tie in hackle, concave side facing away from you.  Bind down both foam strip and hackle stem to barb of hook.  Then advance thread forward to middle of hook shank.

Western Lady Hopper Body

Step 5

Step 5: Wrap the foam strip forward.  Lightly stretch the foam strip as you wrap forward to form a thin body.  Stop at mid-shank.

Tying Hopper Body

Step 6

Step 6: Tie off foam strip with 2 wraps of thread… one in front of foam strip, one behind foam strip.  Keep wraps to a minimum here because most of the fly is tied on at this mid point on the hook.

Pink Hopper

Step 7

Step 7: Trim off excess foam strip close to body.

Palmer Hackle

Step 8

Step 8: Evenly palmer hackle forward to mid point of hook. Tie off hackle with 2-3 wraps of thread.

Hackle Wrap

Step 9

Step 9: Trim hackle.

Pink Body Foam Hopper

Step 10

Step 10: Cut a thin strip of pink 2mm foam to be used for rest of under-body.  Notice strip of foam is about same width as gap of hook and 1″ long.

Pink Western Lady Hopper

Step 11

Step 11: Tie in foam strip on top of hook at mid-way point on hook.  Use 2 firm wraps of thread only.

Brown Foam Hopper

Step 12

Step 12: Cut a 2″ long strip of 3mm brown foam for the over-wing.  The over-wing should be about double the gap of hook in width or half the hook shank in width.  Taper one end of foam strip to a point as shown above.

Foam Hopper Tying

Step 13

Step 13: Bind down over-wing with 2 firm wraps of thread.  Tapered end facing towards rear of fly.  Tapered end of foam strip should extend beyond tie-in point 1 hook shank in length.

Elk Hair Foam Hopper

Step 14

Step 14: Tie in a small clump of elk hair, about a tooth pick in diameter at same tie-in point as step above with 3-4 wraps of thread.  Tips of hair should extend to point of brown foam strip.

Elk Hair Foam Hopper

Step 15

Step 15: Cut a thin strip of 2mm foam, about gap of hook in width.  Use any hi-vis foam color such as goldenrod, yellow or orange for the post.  I find that orange is the best color for most conditions.

Foam Hopper

Step 16

Step 16: Bind down post at mid-way point with 2 wraps of thread.  Post should extend back to hook bend.  Leave the remaining forward post as is.

Rubber Hopper Legs

Step 17

Step 17: Form back legs for the hopper by tying an over-hand knot in two strands of barred rubber leg material.  Back legs should be about 2″ in total length.  The two single strands of rubber legs will be used for the front legs, also about 2″ in length.

Tying in Rubber Legs

Step 18

Step 18: Tie in back legs of hopper on both sides of the hopper.  Notice the knots in the legs extend to bend of hook.

Western Lady Hopper

Step 19

Step 19: Advance thread forward to one eye length behind eye of hook as shown above.

Rubber Legs Hopper

Step 20

Step 20: Bind all three pieces of foam down with 2-3 firm wraps of thread.

Foam Hopper Tying

Step 21

Step 21: Attach front legs to both sides of hopper with 4-6 total wraps of thread.  Next, tie off fly right behind hook eye.

Foam Hopper

Step 22

Step 22: Trim legs and head of fly as shown above.  Also trim one of the back leg strands behind over-hand knots. This fly should be glued as well at both tie-in points and between the legs.  The store bought version of this fly also glues the brown over-wing down to the palmered pink body. Simply trim the hackle on top of body, apply super-glue and hold over-body down for a few seconds… this will help keep the body from spinning on the hook.

Western Lady Hopper

Western Lady Hopper

Elk Hair Wing Foam Hopper

Western Lady Hopper

7 Comments leave one →
  1. January 10, 2011 6:40 am

    Много добър скакалец за начинаещи . Благодаря !

  2. Loren Ipsen permalink
    January 10, 2011 4:16 pm

    Thanks, Eric. It is quite help to have sbs instructions to some excellent hopper patterns. Do you take suggestions? If so, I would like to see you tie a Jimmy Z hopper, a carnage hopper, or a Logan’s hopper.

    • January 10, 2011 5:02 pm

      Thanks for checking out the tutorials and thanks for the suggestions. I’ll be doing a Carnage Hopper tutorial soon.

  3. January 23, 2011 3:23 pm

    Good blog, it’s amazing the number of patterns of hoppers are good ideas to fishing the barbel in Spain.
    Greetings from Spain, add your blog in my links.

  4. January 26, 2011 12:06 am

    Good stuff.

  5. April 21, 2011 10:41 pm

    Nice photography and explanation. Much appreciated.

  6. March 29, 2012 6:32 pm

    Excellent tutorial!!!!! We fish hoppers a lot on our local systems here and they are hard to beat on the rivers. Thanks for sharing.

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