By Mike Hogue

Late summer and hot weather is the ideal time to fish hoppers. The hot dry weather usually breeds tons of hoppers and big trout go bonkers over the things as do bass and bluegills looking for a nice snack. I thought I'd spend a little time talking about quills, bodies and legs which you can use in making hoppers. In the pattern section I'll show you how to make a special hopper leg which was developed by my friend Larry Young. Larry is a fly tyer obsessed with hoppers and his style of legging is the best I've ever seen.

Wing Materials

Wings can be made of several materials. By far the most popular is the quill wing. Quills are generally come from wild turkeys, or white turkeys which are silk screened and dyed. Some folks prefer to use peacock secondary quills as they have a little darker color to them. I know one tyer that uses golden pheasant tails for both the legs and the wing. Below are scans of different quills.

Mottled Oak Turkey

Natural Oak quills are by far the first choice for wings as they imitate the natural color of hopper wings. The mix of tan, gray and brown is a natural mix of colors. These feathers are unfortunately pretty expensive since there are only about 4 pairs on every wild wing which can be matched. Muddler tyers also like this feather for the muddler wing.

Wild Turkey

Natural wild turkey tails have a mix of red-brown and dark brown. They are used for a darker wing since the oak is a lighter color. These feathers are reasonably priced since a wild turkey has a large fan tail.


Silk Screened Turkey

White turkey quills are wing feathers which are silk screened in several colors and dyed to match the natural hopper colors. These feathers are an affordable alternative to natural feathers and increase the number of choices available to the tyer.



Cinnamon Flecked Quill

Charcoal and Hopper Green Flecked Quills


Hopper Yellow Flecked Quill

Brown N' Gold Flecked Quill


Legging Materials

For hopper legs you can use several materials. One long time favorite is the golden pheasant tail. Ring neck pheasant tails are also popular. Round rubber legs clipped in a double section are my favorite.

Golden Pheasant Tail

Round Rubber Legs in Hot Green, Yellow, Gray, Brown


Body Materials

The traditional body material for hoppers is poly yarn. Poly yarn is popular because it is lighter than water and floats when wet. Mike's Fun Foam in thin sized sheets makes a hopper float higher. Fun Foam comes in several colors. Rainy's float foam is also popular for hopper bodies. It comes in white, black, orange, yellow.


Above: Sheets of Mike's Fun Foam used for making hoppers

Deer hair dyed over white or natural is used for making heads either as a bullet head or spun head. Deer body hair can also be used for bodies or as a tail.

Deer Hair: Green Chartreuse, Yellow, Olive, Dun, Red

Refer to the patterns section for Hopper Patterns




For more Info Contact:

Mike Hogue / Badger Creek Fly Tying / 622 West Dryden Road,

Freeville, NY 13068

Phone: 607-347-4946