Grasshoppers are insects of the order Orthoptera, sub-order Caelifera – at high population densities they are often called locusts.
They protect themselves from predators by camouflage; when detected, many species attempt to startle the predator with a brilliantly coloured, usually red, wing-flash while jumping with their strong hind legs and also flying, usually for a short distance. They range from large 10 or so cm specimens down to diminutive 15 mm hoppers. Those found locally around our waters are generally on the smaller side.
In flyfishing speak they are simply, hoppers. I have fished a lot of varieties over the years, but probably the one that really got my attention some 15 or more years ago was when Ed Herbst and I were having a lot of discussion about the trout attracting merits of triggers and movement in flies, that he introduced me to his pattern, otherwise known as you guessed it, Ed’s Hopper – I have used it ever since.
My interest in hoppers was revived this season because for whatever reason there seemed to have been a population explosion especially of the LBJ variety (Little Brown Jobs). I set about designing a simple pattern to tie, mainly because Ed’s Hopper is (apologies to ED) a little finicky. I say LBJ, but as you will see it includes yellow and red – this for the reason that I noticed these colours on the naturals in flight and while struggling on the water. It must be said though that the naturals displayed either a flash of red or yellow, never both. But, I combined them to help see the fly on the water and I think the colours were something the trout associated with these sizeable bits of protein – they didn’t care, I don’t think, if both colours were on the same imitation. It certainly has worked and this little hopper has been my go to dry fly this summer – as a searching pattern it is in my opinion in a class of its own, well maybe a very close second to the Wolf Spider.
Seeing that fly tyers have named their hoppers, Dave’s, Ed’s and the like, I have stuck with tradition and called mine and hopefully not sounding too pretentious, Pete’s Hopper – not that I’m looking for any credit but rather sharing what I believe is a little gem.
If all else fails there is always this option!!
All images and copy in this post are copyright Peter Brigg Photography © 2015. All rights reserved