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Alien Bug
By Jay Lee

  During the warm August and September months hoppers are big part of the trout's diet in the Rocky Mountain area of the United States. Fishing with hoppers can be really exciting. No subtle rises here! Fish generally jump on it with great force. After several trips to the Rockies, I wondered whether the European trouts would like the hoppers as much as their American counter parts.

 Henry's Fork Hopper

Henry's Fork Hopper

  I have been experimenting with hopper patterns since my first visit to the Rockies in 1992. Back then hopper patterns were mainly based on deer hair, either spun (like Dave's Hopper) or bullet head hair style (like the Henry's Fork hopper).

  Other hopper patterns were using large parachute style hoppers like the Schroeder's Parachute hopper. Although these hopper patterns can be very productive at times, they all have one similar down side. They get water logged after a while and won't float very well. Another down side was they are very time consuming to tie. Yes, tying a neat Dave's Hopper can be great fun, but boy does it wear you out after tying five of those critters....

  Chernobyl Ant

Chernobyl Ant

  During the mid 1990's high density foam made it's debut as the main material for buoyancy on dry flies. In 1995 the odd looking fly called the Chernobyl Ant won the Jackson Hole One Fly Event. The basic idea is a 3 mm high density black foam strip tied in several different segments to form the abdomen and head. The addition of rubber legs at the side gave the critter a very lifelike action.

  Club Sandwich

Club Sandwich

  Foam as a tying material evolved to multi layered, very colourful and segmented extended body patterns like the Club Sandwich. Although these flies float like a cork and look more like a mutant grass hopper which stayed too long in the nuclear microwave oven I think they also are too cumbersome to tie. They also involve needing special form cutting tools as well to get the foam strips in a particular shape.

  Alien Bug

  Alien Bug

  Here's my foam hopper pattern I have been using for the past 6 years or so: the Alien Bug. This foam hopper is made of easy to get foam sheets, easy to tie, floats for ever and easy to track on the water. The basic ingredient is using two or three sheets of 3 mm high density foam. You can buy these sheets at your local hobby shop in many different colours.

  There are no rules for colours here. I like using bright colours like yellow or orange on top (for visibility) and more subdued colors like olive, brown or black for the bottom of the fly. To imitate the Salmon fly (Pteronarcys dorsata), the giant American stonefly use orange for the bottom to imitate the salmon coloured underbody.

  Before tying you need some preparation. Glue the sheets together using some sort of super glue. Cut the glued sheets into about 57 mm wide strips. For sizes up to hook size 10 I like to use two foam layers, for larger sizes use 3 layers.

  The ingredients:

Hook: Any hopper hook (#6-10)
Thread: Uni-thread 6/0 (yellow or orange, depending on the color of underbelly)
Body: Sandwiched foam (Two foam layers up to size 10, for larger sizes use 3 layers of foam)
Legs: Round medium rubber legs (I like them yellow or red striped)
Wing: Elk or deer hair
Tail: Red goose biots Indicator: tuff of hot orange or chartreuse (or even mixed!) indicator strand

  Since this hopper floats so well it's also a great strike indicator to fish with a (even heavily weighted) nymph as a dropper.

By Jay Lee 2015 ©



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