Easy as Cherry Pie


kline cherry 3Guest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, MT

Of the thousands of fly patterns available to today’s trout angler, many are productive throughout the season. The Adams, woolly bugger, pheasant tail nymph, copper john, sparkle dun and stimulator, for example, are generally just as effective in March as they are in October and throughout the season. If you can find feeding fish, these flies work. However some flies, just like cherry pie, are seasonal. Out here in Southwest Montana, my favorite seasonal fly is the foam hopper. Regardless of whether you are fishing a high mountain stream in a green meadow, the rough and tumble tributaries as they flow into the big valley streams or those big, wide valley rivers our region is famous for, in season, the foam hopper will produce.
kline cherry 1When runoff begins to subside in mid to late July, the weather is changing. Days are warmer and drier, morning frosts are no longer. Once green grass is turning brown and the wind is blowing new adult Caelifera (grasshoppers) into the edges of our rivers. While smaller fish may spread out in the rivers to gorge on tiny tricos, the better fish hold tight to deep banks with good current to wait for Caelifera meals. At the same time, the fruits of Prunus avium trees (cherry trees) are ripening ready to harvest for your favorite cherry pie recipe. If you are lucky you’ll get five or six pies from your best trees, enough to last into early September. By then the evenings start to cool and the first frosts appear. Frosts, especially hard ones, kill hopper season. The hopper fishing in high elevation streams ends first, but generally by the end of September, foam hoppers stop producing. It is a very seasonal fly.
kline cherry 2Just like cherry pies are easy to make—some pitted pie cherries, some sugar, flour and a bit of cinnamon in a flaky crust—so too is the foam hopper.
Although there are literally dozens of named foam hopper patterns, they all have one thing in common. Foam is a major part of the fly. My foam hoppers are a collection of quality materials and try to take the best aspects of all the foam hoppers out there.
My pattern takes advantage of the River Road Creations Beavertail Body Cutter. This body shape is very conducive to an easy tie and it’s effective fly. Other materials include quality barred round rubber legs, Troutsmen long strand simi seal dubbing, Whiting Woolly Bugger Hackle and of course, normal deer body hair. The foam can be any color from subdued tans and greens to bright yellows, peaches and pinks. The tie is simple. These can be tied on most any #10-6 long shank hook. TMC 200R or Dai-Riki 700, 700B or 270 are good choices. The tail is composed of four short strands of rubber, clipped to ~ ¼” beyond the hook. At the hook bend, tie in a large hackle by the tip. Dub a beefy body ~2/3rds of the way up the hook shank. Palmer the hackle over the body and tie if off. Take the foam beavertail body and tie it in at the first waist at the spot where you tied off the body and hackle. There should be two small sections of foam in front of this tie in spot and at least ¼” of hook shank remaining. Using a bit of super glue along the top of the body, press the foam down tight until it stays. Cut and stack a small clump of deer hair. At the same spot where the foam is tied in, tied in the deer hair so that the tips are about the same length as the foam body. Trim the butt ends close and add a small dab of super glue to secure them. While the glue is still wet, fold the first section of foam back over the same tie in point and secure. This will cover the deer hair butts and make a nice big head. (just like hoppers have). Add any indicator foam or fiber you might want for better visibility. Allow the glue to dry before tying in two rubber strands to form the legs. Secure the thread at the hook eye underneath the foam and cement as usual.
kline cherry 4In season, these flies work. They are durable, float like corks and are easy to tie – easy as cherry pie. I have a box full with me whenever the cherries are ripe.
Note from J Stockard: We stock the
River Road Creations Beavertail Body Cutterbarred round rubber legsWhiting Woolly Bugger Hackledeer body hairfoam and TMC 200R. You can find the Troutsmen long strand simi seal dubbing @ https://www.troutsmen.com/parts.asp?category_id=59.

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