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)
Just wandering could I use two sheets of foam and glue them together and if so what glue would you recommend
Yes for sure. I don’t do a lot of mass gluing, so when I do glue foam together it’s Zap-a-Gap. There are lots of super glues that you could try, but experiment. Let me know if you have any revelations!
Thanks a bunch,
How thick is the foam you use for Mr Peanut?
Sorry for the late response! If you mean the width, it’s a tiny bit over 1/4″, and if you mean the thickness–like you said–around 1/8″, maybe a tad bit under. Hope this helps!
Why you dissed the bass? I have it on good intel; they love big juicy winged hoppers. If they are flying along the shore (the hoppers, not the bass, bass jump, not fly) then a big hopper is a real bassy treat.
Great videos, I am becoming a fan.
I agree on the hoppers and bass. Big terrestrials definitely bring up a lot of different species. Good to know about the flying and bass thing as well. But seriously, I like a very wide gap for largemouth and smallmouth. I’ve lost some really big fish when the hook has hit the bony parts of their mouth rather than going around it. So, if you wanted to use this pattern for bass, I would personally tie it on a tube. Thanks for the support, Nick!
Justin I am having a hard time getting into the fish here in Ohio. With an inch and half of rain expected the next day or so what would you suggest as a setup for Great Lakes Steelhead in NorthEast Ohio. I have been using an indicator with white sucker spawn and then a nymph not even a strike in the last 4 trips out.
It would really depend on which trib you’re fishing. First, make sure that you’re as close to Pennsylvania as possible because they have way more fall spawners, so you’ll get some of their fish in the Ohio tribs. Second, cover a lot of water until you locate fish. I have found this to be really important in Great Lakes steelhead and brown fishing. Third, try lower down on the river, like really low until you get rain. Fourth, pattern fish, that is, experiment in different types of water until you find what type of water fish are in. Fish will almost certainly be in current this time of year still. Fifth, experiment with eggs and beads in a few different colors and go larger until you find pods of fish and are forced to go smaller. Sixth, throw smallish white minnow patterns as well, and see which patterns the fish are keying on. Seventh, swing buggers or larger patterns to locate fish and pick off the more aggressive fish. Eighth, set the hook regularly if your indicator is doing anything different at all. Ninth, stay on the bottom and have confidence in what you’re doing. Tenth, fish smaller tribs, so that you can cover most of the water. If no one around you is catching fish, then there might not be any fish there. Good luck, and feel free to email me if you’re still stuck.
Great tying instructions Justin; but brother you need to lose the superfluous attempt at theatrical humor – bloody irritating, at least to me. I doubt I’m alone. Not being mean-spirited, just honest…
Knowing the quality of human being you are Dan, I appreciate your take on this. Humor can definitely alienate people, no doubt, and I’m always open to any advice you have. Hope you and Cindy are well!
Not to disrespect Mr. Blanton in the least but I really enjoy the humor in your excellent videos. To me, silly, “pun-ish” (if that’s a word?) and self-deprecating enough to really make these video not only instructional but also entertaining! Will try my take on your hopper pattern on smallies on the Juniata River soon. Have had fun there with these type patterns in the past, especially during low, clear water. Thanks
Thanks for chiming in. Humor’s always a risk, and you can never please everyone in anything. I do appreciate Dan’s honesty, and he’s one of the most generous people I’ve ever met. This just wasn’t his cup of tea.
As far as the fishing goes, I just watched a video on smallies on the Susquehanna River. Needless to say, I was measuring the distance from my city to the river. The water looked awesome, and I know the Juniata’s got some awesome fishing as well.
Hoppers for smallies, particularly in the late part of the season in skinny water is getting more and more popular because it is so effective. This seems to be across fisheries and time zones as well. I like the Mr. Peanut Hopper because it’s got a pretty good head for making a bit of commotion as well. Thanks again for the comment, Kent, and let me know how the pattern works for you.
Great video! Enjoyed your humor!!! I’ll try it cause fish sure like hoppers.
Thanks, Larry. When fish are on hoppers, it’s tough to beat. Let us know if you have any ideas for future videos or articles.