Hopper fly patterns are a ton of fun to fish. They’re not always the ticket, but when fish are looking for them, big fish are not shy about munching on them. Summer and fall mark hopper time in the northern hemisphere when the nymphs hatch and begin the first of five or six stages of development. As grasshoppers mature they get their relatively powerful wings. They’re so strong that they will swarm in certain species. In fact, grasshoppers and locusts are more or less the same thing, or rather, locusts are a type of grasshopper. With this in mind, it makes sense to design a hopper fly pattern with wings on the larger versions (4 – 8) and less bulky proportions on the smaller versions (10 – 12). This hopper fly pattern, the Mr. Peanut Hopper is more intended to imitate an adult with wings.
It’s called the Mr. Peanut Hopper because it has always reminded me of the Mr. Peanut character, particularly in the yellow version. This pattern is great in fast to moderate water and has taken fish in moderately flowing slicks as well. You can try fishing the fly near or over the fish, but often, smacking the water of the fish’s periphery will alert the trout to the hopper pattern through the lateral line and may trigger a strike. Grasshoppers kick when they get in the water, and the head of this fly allows it to push a lot of water. The pattern also has some nice legs that give the pattern a wide profile, and the legs will move in the water if you strip the fly with little pulses. Both the legs and the wing add to the wide profile, but the fly has a rather tall profile as well, with the result that the fly has both vertical and horizontal bulk when drifting in the water. I like the yellow color as well, but in other conditions where the yellow might put the fish down, you can use more subdued colors.
The fly uses two-toned strips of foam cut to 1/4 of an inch. You don’t have to use two-toned foam, but it really makes the fly look nice. Whether or not if affects catch rates, I don’t know. The foam makes the fly really durable and buoyant while being relatively easy to tie. You’re a lot more likely to risk losing the fly on an undercut bank when the fly takes you less time to tie. You can add a bit of flash before the wing if you like, and this is probably a good idea if you will be fishing in still or slow waters as an additional attractant. The elk hair is just a great all-round material and is quite durable. It represents the splayed wing of the grasshopper quite well. I love the legs, since they are wide and provide a lot of movement just like the natural does when it’s in the water. Just launch a live grasshopper into a pond or river and watch how it moves.
Give the fly a shot and see how it works for you. I think you’ll be happy with this simple yet effective hopper fly pattern that looks good and catches fish to boot. Let us know what you think.
- Hook: Tiemco 5262 #6 or 5263 #8
- Thread: UTC 170 (cream or yellow)
- Body: Two-Toned 1/4” Foam Strips (yellow/dark brown, tan/black etc.)
- Wing: Elk Body Hair
- Flash (optional): Krystal Flash etc.
- Legs: Brown Rubber Legs (medium brown)
- Lacquer: Zap-a-Gap (brushable)