By Mike Hogue
Chaos! Oh no Agent 99 they are back!......... No this is not really a line from that old TV show Get Smart. It is actually a fly that I like. When I told my wife about the fly she told me the Get Smart joke. Gees Laura you are getting about as Cheesy as me. As I explained to Laura, I happened across this fly a few years ago when I was out in West Yellowstone on a fishing trip.
I had been attending the FFF National Conclave and I was determined to see and fish a few of the really great spots. I went into Blue Ribbon flies and talked with Craig Mathews one of the owners of Blue Ribbon. I asked Craig what flies he suggested and he said that the Chaos Hopper was one of the best flies he had been using all summer. Wow! I just had to get one of those. As luck would have it, I never fished that fly out West and it sat in box taking up space next to some other equally useful flies I had never gotten around to fishing.
Some time later the Chaos Hopper appeared in the Flies of the West which is a book of patterns put together by Schollmeyer and Leeson. The author credits Roman Nyman as the inventor. I have no idea where or how this thing was invented but it is definitely interesting. Craig Mathews himself has this to say this about The Chaos Hopper.............." This is the best hopper pattern we've ever fished."
I never really matched the 2 together for some time. I guess I just overlooked this for awhile. As more time rolled on, I ordered a set of really cool wing cutters made by River Road Creations. I figured this must be something I needed because I saw Doug Swisher with a set. Anyway, I ordered a set not really sure what to make.When they arrived I started punching out foam to see what the cutters could do. Then it dawned on me. Of course I'll make the Chaos Hopper!
Above: The River Road Hopper Cutters
A couple of things strike me about this fly. You can make a ton of these with very little foam and they couldn't be easier to make. While they look a bit dorky and I can assure you that yes Toto these really do catch fish. When I first started fishing the Choas Hopper this year, I was at Fall Creek. I went down there unsure of what to fish. So I figured well, I'll try this as I think they will be able to see it. See it, they DEVOURED IT! The first night that I fished this hopper, I caught 10-15 trout, and 4-5 really big smallmouth on my 3 weight. On another trip I went to a creek in a deep gorge and caught another 30 plus trout. On yet another trip I caught some more really big smallmouth. So while my Chaos Hoper is a bit different than Blue Ribbon's it is still pretty neat. As an added bonus this was a really big hit with the Catskill Fly Tyer's Guild. It is now part of the Mark Ramero collection of really interesting flies.
Tying the Chaos Hopper
Hook: Kamasan B401, size 12
Thread: 6/0 Black ( or you may match the body color if you wish)
Under Body: If you wish dress the hook shank with twisted Crystal Flash or Pearly
Body: Pre-punched hopper bodies out off thin sheet foam
Wing: Gold and Brown Antron
Legs: Knotted Round Rubber legs.
I begin by punching out a mess of bodies. This pretty easy with the River Road wing cutters ( see set above) . Just press and push the foam out like little cookie cutters. ( If you don't have a set of cutters you may simply cut a strip out in a straight strip about 1/8" wide using a straight edge and a razor blade.) Next I start the thread in the middle of the hook......if I don't use any sparkle for the body. I lay the foam on top of the hook and make about 4-5 wraps. Next I mix equal stands of antron by finger pinching the yarn to mix. I tie the wing in and clip to match the body length in the rear and cut it close to the tie in point in the front. I knot a set of legs and tie one on each side making sure that they are more less on the top sides. If you tug gently on each leg you can position it in the spot you like. Then I tie the head off. I clip the foam to the length I like for the head. I add a drop of glue to the back and one on the bottom side. If you don't glue this one down, it can roll making a big mess.
The completed Chaos Hopper looks like the one at the left. The splayed out legs give the fly its action and its motion in the water. I like to make these in green and cinnamon. You might try yellow, tan, brown and all black. You can mix or match the legs and wings as you see fit.
I dressed this hook with braid a bit and I found this one to be one of my best color choices. For more info on the wing cutters, e-mail me and I'll tell you how to get a set.
For more Info Contact:
Mike Hogue / Badger Creek Fly Tying / 622 West Dryden Road, Freeville, NY 13068