Michael Valentiner's Grasshopper

Tied by M. Valentiner, mvalentiner@winternet.com


Hook Mustad 94840 sizes 6, 4, 2 (2X long hooks can be used, but where I live the hoppers don't get too big. 2X is more appropriate in western rivers.)
Thread Yellow
Tail Red Buckskin
Body Light yellow yarn or synthetic poly yarn
Ribbing Brown Hackle
Wing Turkey Wing treated with Flex cement or Krylon.
Head/Over Wing Deer or elk hair
Legs (optional) Pheasant treated with Flex cement or Krylon

@ Like many patterns, advance preparations of materials is essential. In this case, the turkey wing must be coated with Flex cement or Krylon, allowed to dry, and the wing shaped. Once dry clip a section of about 20 - 30 fibers of the feather close to the quill. To shape the wing, gently fold the wing in half and trim one end to create a rounded end that is symmetrical when unfolded.

1 Lay down a thread base at a point 1/3 of the way back from the eye. Tie in one end of the yarn and lay down a thread base the length of the shank to the start of the bend.

2 Tie in a small bunch of the red buck tail (6-8 hairs), so that it protrudes slightly behind the bend. For the protrusion, I use a distance no more than the length from the point to the bend.

3 Tie in the brown hackle pointing away from the eye.

4 Make the body by taking the tied in yellow yarn and wrapping it around the shank. Lay the wraps side by side gradually moving to the rear. Stop at the start of the bend where the thread should be hanging. Make a pinched loop with the yellow yarn that protrudes past the bend and over the red buck tail. Tie the end loop in at the bend and bring the thread forward to the point just ahead of where the yarn was tied in. Finish the body by wrapping the yarn forward over the previous wraps and tie it in and trim it off when you reach the thread.

5 Palmer the hackle over the body, tie it in, and cut it off when you reach the thread.

6 Tie in the turkey wing so that it extends over the yarn body and to the end of the body loop.

7 Stack a good clump of deer or elk hair measured to be 1 1/2 time the length of the body and tie them in so they extend forward, over the eye of the hook. Take a few wraps forward to secure them down and then bring the thread back. Now fold the hair over to form the bullet head and tie them down with a few wraps of the thread. The ends of the hair should flair over and to the sides of the turkey wing extending to the length of the turkey wing. Add the legs if desired by tying them in at the sides.

8 Bring the thread under the bullet head and tie off at right behind the eye. This pattern is a combination of a number of popular hopper patterns. It is essentially the Grasshopper pattern found on page 68 of the "Orvis Fly Pattern Index" with a "Henry's Fork Hopper" bullet head instead of spun deer hair. The bullet head is easier and quicker to tie than a spun deer hair head. I find this pattern to be an effective, durable floater. In August it is a good hopper imitation and the rest of the season it is a good attractor pattern.