Jun 5, 2018
So, I had all sorts of plans to tie examples of all the flies I talked about in this episode ... but then, I went fishing. I knew you'd understand. I also figured there are plenty of resources on the net with these recipes so I'll just give you links to them. So, here goes:
Here's a typical run of the mill grass hopper.
Note how well camouflaged it is. It is one of the band winged hoppers - as you can see from this overhead shot:
These guys are really adapted to live in dryer environments - like overgrazed pasture, sandy or dirt eroded areas, or, where I always see them - my dirt driveway. Of course, they don't feed on dirt, but they feed on vegetation near there, and when they are disturbed they preferentially land there to blend in.
But, as you know, hoppers come in all sorts of sizes and colors. Here is a green one.
Note the short wings - I suspect this is an immature. Never the less, my point is that not all grasshoppers have natural turkey quill wings, yellow bodies and red butts.
Speaking of which, here is a picture of Art Winnie's Michigan Hopper, tied as he ties it, with split red duck quill tails:
Tail: Red Duck Quill, tied in a ‘V’
Body: Yellow Chenille, tapered.
Wings: Mottled Turkey Wing, tied flat, down
over the body.
Followed by one of the red legged grasshoppers (who, honestly, is a little less red after 40 years on a pin).
Grab some hoppers next time you are out and look at the legs - see if my hoppothesis makes sense (sorry, I couldn't resist).
Grouse Locusts or Pygmy Grasshoppers are tiny:
Note what looks like wings over the back of the hopper is actually an extension of the pronotum.
A better picture, showing relative scale is here:
In terms of patterns, one of my current favorites is Ried's Irresistible Hopper:
Which I like because it is simple, floats well, and is easily modifiable to what I want, color and size wise:
Body: Yellow Deer Hair, spun and clipped.
Wing: Dark Deer Hair, tied across the back,
extended well beyond the bend of the
hook. Crisscross the thread over the
front half of the wing to secure it to
Hackle: Grizzly & Ginger, mixed.
Joe's hopper is a classic:
Which my favorite is a version of that which simply has a spun deer hair body - where I often leave out the ribbing and the tail.
If you are into foam hoppers, you gotta check out this site:
Here is your run of the mill katydid:
A little bleached out after 40 years, but then I've lost a bit of color during that time too...
Here's a live one, which is much more representative of the color:
Note on the first picture, the curved structure leaving the abdomen - that is a male, and those are the claspers used to hold onto the female. In the following picture, the structure is brown and thicker - that is the ovipositor, which on this species is curved. In contrast, look at this conehead grasshopper:
That ovipositor looks like it is designed to lop off the heads of medieval knights. But no, actually, just used to lay eggs.
As expected, katydids come in all sizes and shapes:
Tie what you see locally and, honestly, what is easy to cast. These big guys can be three inches long!
In terms of patterns, I just use hopper patterns and tie them with chartreuse bodies and green wings.
Crickets also come in all sizes and shapes - we typically tie to imitate this standard field type cricket:
Although as you can see, they are not always black:
And sometimes they can be quite small:
A lot of folks just tie a dark version of a hopper pattern to match a cricket - think of the Letort Hopper vs. the Letort Cricket - which is exactly the same, just using black materials.
But I have to admit, I really love Davie McPhail's Davie's Cricket:
I love that fly.
But there are also lots of different types of crickets too - that may not be relevant for fly fishing, but you'll bump into them. For example, here is a tree cricket:
Which, if you weren't careful you'd almost mistake for a small katydid.
And a mole cricket. Note how the front legs have been modified for digging:
Alright - with that I'll leave it off. Hope you found this episode useful and I'll talk to you next time.