Mini Hopper Tutorial

Mini-Hoppers
Mini-Hoppers

At a few requests, here are the fairly simple steps to tying the mini hopper. I cannot really take any credit for this fly as I have taken most of the ideas from other sources. Together it really does the trick as a summer terrestrial or caddis imitation pattern. Without further ado here we go:

Materials

Materials needed:

1. Dry fly hook (preferably #12-14)

2. 2mm foam (I have found just about any color I tie up produces. The brighter colors are nice for rougher water. I buy sheets of foam at the craft store for a fraction of the price posted at most “fishing” stores and the craft store has every color of the rainbow.)

3. Dubbing and matching thread (I prefer black 6/0 thread and Hare Tron Dubbin in black. The dubbing is mixed with some silver and has a nice sparkle to it. The matching color is nice, as you tie in most of your material in the same spot.)

4. Elk Hair

5. Barred Sili Legs (I have tied both green and orange and have not distinguished much of a difference between the two)

6. Super Glue (Makes life easier when your fly can stand up to the punishment all day or until you lose it in a tree)

1/4″ strip of 2mm foam
I usually add a dab of super glue before attaching the foam with strong thread wraps
Dub a body
Tie in Stacked Elk Hair
Tie in barred legs
One more dab of super glue before pulling back the foam and tying it all down
Whip Finish
Underside
Topside
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34 Responses to “Mini Hopper Tutorial”

  1. troutrageous1

    Wow. Looks like a relatively simple to tie pattern.
    Thanks for putting this together. Need to gather up some materials, but I’ll be putting this in my recipe box.

    Reply
  2. bsmith835

    Tie some up. It’s been a fantastic bug for all summer and it’s still producing on my small streams I visit. The tie is extremely simple and quick. Enjoy.

    Ben

    Reply
  3. Brandon

    That looks simple enough. I am headed up to Bear Flat next Monday afternoon, maybe I should tie a few up and give it a shot. I’ve been fishing nymphs and soft hackle wets all summer, but some dry fly action sounds fun. Looks like a trip to Sportsmans is in order. Good thing (or bad, if you ask my wife) I work so close to it.

    Reply
  4. bsmith835

    Good luck Brandon. Let me know how it goes. This fly is money up there on the Rim. Let me know how you do. Tight lines.

    Ben

    Reply
  5. Home Skillet

    I love the idea of the mini hopper. It probably has a little cross-over appeal for the fish too. It might even pass for a caddis pattern. I think it would work well on the Williamson River in late summer here in Oregon.

    Reply
  6. bsmith835

    Thanks HS. I think your spot on with your assessment of the mini-hopper as a crossover pattern. I have started tying it even smaller than my standard #12 and have seen success on the #18s. The nice thing about it is the material keeps this guy afloat all day long. Let me know how they work up there in Oregon. Thanks for stopping by.

    Ben

    Reply
  7. winonaflyfactory

    Agreed, this has me wanting to sit down at my vise. Pretty sure I’ve got the needed materials, I’ll shoot you a photo when I get a few tied up Ben! Thanks for the info.

    Reply
  8. Shane jones

    Hi Ben -hope your all well?

    Pleased to announce that the Mini-hoppers you tied us are still producing the goods here in Wales.

    Nice also to see you tying with a DynaKing – Still got the original jaws in mine after 15 years1

    Kindest.

    Shane

    Reply
    • azwanderings

      Shane,

      That is awesome to hear. Glad those mini-hoppers have done the trick across the pond. I look forward to getting back out and fishing with you guys again soon.

      Ben

      PS. I love Dyna-King

      Reply
  9. fshfanatic

    This little hopper is a killer, I believe it comes from an actual cadis that has been around for some time.

    I never go anywhere with out at least a dozen of these in my box.

    Reply
  10. Mike

    Me and a buddy tied a few of these before a big high Sierra trip and I wanted to say thanks for the tutorial. We caught a lot of large goldens on the mini hopper and it was an amazing trip to remember!!

    -Mike

    Reply
    • azwanderings

      That’s great to hear Mike. Glad you guys got into some fish and had a nice time. The Sierras are definitely on my bucket list to fish. Thanks for the kind words and congrats.

      Ben

      Reply
  11. Hal

    I just found your blog a few days ago and was looking at the patterns and found this one. Since I had all the materials I decided to trying tying some up. I’m new to tying and fly fishing, only been doing them for a little over a year.
    Well anyways.. my first attempt looked like a smashed hopper. The next one turned out great.
    Anyhow, tonight I went down to the pond and the panfish were trying to kill it. I was getting hits every cast, honest.. Not making hooksets but that’s another thing.

    Thanks for sharing this pattern.

    Reply
    • azwanderings

      Hal,

      Thanks so much. I really appreciate you taking the time to write and let me know about your success. It’s comments like this that make my day. The mini-hopper is a great little bug and it never ceases to amaze me how well if fishes in so many different scenarios. Thanks again and keep on tying.

      Ben

      Reply
  12. Mark Schaller

    Came across your tutorial as I was searching for some quick and easy foam patterns. Tied up a bunch of them with a little twist. I had a beavertail foam cutter and used one of those bodies. I would tie off the head on to the hook, pull it over and wrap it at the abdomen and leave the main body as the wing. They turned out great and I can’t wait to try them. Thanks for taking the time to post the instructions.

    Reply
    • azwanderings

      Thanks Mark. Glad you liked the tutorial and sounds like you made some awesome variations. Good luck on the water.

      Ben

      Reply
  13. Keith

    Have you added a 3rd set up legs to any of them? More or less success if so?

    Reply
    • azwanderings

      Keith,

      I’ve tied up some with extra legs and never really found it to be worth the extra effort for me with hoppers. Stoneflies though, I like lots of legs and movement.

      Ben

      Reply
  14. Paul

    Just wanted to thank you for this pattern. Tied some up last year and my 12 year old son and I killed the bluegills in ponds with this fly. It really produces. One evening the boy got into the crappie on this fly,he brought 38 crappie to hand with it.We also caught several bass on it. At the vise now making more for the upcoming spring!!!

    Reply
    • azwanderings

      Thanks so much for the kind words Paul and glad to hear that this pattern is doing the trick for you. Best of luck and good luck this spring.

      Ben

      Reply
  15. Sam

    I totally dig this pattern. I’ve tied nearly a hundred of them for local bass and bluegill in my Southeastern home waters. Both of my young kids have caught fish on this pattern and I never leave home without at least 20 or so in a box. I prefer a little flash and a slightly larger hook (sz8 stinger), but I think this is one best patterns I’ve ever fished. Love it.

    Reply
    • azwanderings

      Thanks Sam. Glad the pattern has worked well for you. Take care and thanks again for the comment.

      Ben

      Reply
  16. Rose D.

    I found your web site and love doing these little hoppers am very excited to get out and bring some nice ones in with them. I have 17 different colors. Thank you Ben

    Reply
  17. Hudson Haines

    I tied a few of these up a few weeks ago and finally got to fish them on a float for brim/panfish on the Neuse river in NC. The brim absolutely crushed them all day long. We tried orange, tan and green but it didn’t seam to make a difference, they loved them. I will put this pattern into my “permanent collection”.

    Reply
    • azwanderings

      That’s great to hear Hudson. Thanks for the report. Good luck on the water.

      Ben

      Reply
  18. Mike

    Love these little guys. Work great on wild browns in PA small streams in the fall. Thanks

    Reply

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