The Morrish Hopper has been the best hopper pattern the last few seasons, and for good reason. The sculptured, 5-6mm thick foam body of the Morrish, and knotted rubber legs, imitates the natural silhouette and bulk of the natural hopper, perfectly. It floats all day and requires very little maintenance. This simple looking fly, simply works. Even though you can buy this pattern in many different colors, there are endless foam/leg combinations that you can come up with to customize the Morrish Hopper to your liking. I’ve had great results with flesh, yellow, cream or purple colored Morrish’s with rubber legs, or even thunder thigh legs. My favorite variation is to add a poly wing under the foam post for better floatation and greater visibility. The poly wing helps keep the Morrish upright with every cast, plus it makes for a great hopper/dropper setup. Below are a few variations on the Morrish Hopper that I like to tie up. Let me know some of your variations.
Variation #1: Thunder Thighs Hopper – Morrish Style
Body: Realistic Pre Cut Hopper Body, Tan/Olive
Kicker Legs: 1mm Foam with knotted super floss
Front Legs: Zebra Hopper Legs – Natural
Post: 1mm Orange Foam
Variation #2: Madame Morrish
Foam Body: Pre Cut Realistic Hopper Body, Tan/Yellow
Legs: Zebra Hopper Legs – Natural
Post: 1mm Yellow Foam
Variation #3: Salmor-ish
Foam Body: Fuzzy Foam – Realistic Salmonfly
Wing: Elk – Gray
Variation #4: Fuzzy Morrish
Foam Body: Fuzzy Foam – Golden
Post: 1mm Foam
Variation #5: Inked Morrish
Body: 5mm foam, Flesh/Gray
Variation #6: Hopper Green
Legs: Zebra Hopper Legs – Natural
Variation #7: Cicada/Beetle
Body: 5mm Foam, Black/Insect Green
Legs: Barred Rubber Legs, Olive/Black
Wing: Tape wing over poly wing
Post: 1mm Insect Green
Variation #8: Tan/Brown Morrish Hopper
Body: Realistic Pre Cut Hopper Body, Tan/Brown
Legs: Zebra Legs
Variation #9: Purple Fuzzy Morrish
Body: Fuzzy Foam – Purple
Legs: Zebra Hopper Legs
I wanted to let all of you know about a Kickstarter campaign going on right now that I would love to see funded. The campaign is trying to raise funds for the production of a new fly rod holder that was created by a local Livingston, Montana guy, Joe Clemons. I got to try out the prototype a little and love how versatile it is. You can use it in a raft, drift boat, back of your truck or attach it to your waist pack for wading. I hope you’ll go take a look and support the project! It’s about half way funded at the moment with just 16 days left and Joe is offering some great rewards ranging from getting the product itself to a fishing trip in Mexico.
What’s in my flybox for the Month of August? Hoppers, ants, spruce moths, tricos and beetles. Normally, my fly boxes are full of mainly hoppers for August fishing in Montana. This summer, with the low clear water conditions, fish are keying in on smaller insects like tricos and other small mayflies that are prolific during the early morning hours. I’ve seen numerous 20″ fish sipping on size 22 spinners on local freestone rivers the last couple of weeks. Fishing micro-patterns is a common occurrence for our tailwater fisheries, but not necessarily the norm for freestone streams unless you’re willing to seek out those large sipping fish in slow, lazy shady water. Chucking a plump hopper next to a sipping fish can sometimes draw a strike, but it’s usually better to present a small parachute fly, like a parachute adams or purple haze instead.
Ants and beetles are great searching flies for the month of August any time of day. If nothing else is happening, try fishing one of these smaller terrestrials. I’ve seen feeding fish, sipping on spinners, move a couple of feet to eat a black foam ant or beetle. If in doubt, whip a black fly out.
The bulk of my August fly boxes are still filled with hoppers of every size and color. Usually, size 10-12 hoppers are the go-to hopper size, but it pays to have a couple of huge size 2-4 hoppers to fish in deeper water, or out in the middle of the river when the fish aren’t taking hoppers along the rivers edge. Each year, and even day-to day, the fish seem to prefer one color of hopper over another. Currently, this year, goldenrod and tan hoppers have been the most productive colors. Last year, pink bellied hoppers were the clear favorite.
Keep me posted on what’s in your fly box. It’s always interesting to hear what’s working on your local streams.