A good drowned hopper: The Hopper Hammerdown wet fly

Sometimes grasshoppers forget that they can’t swim. These would-be Weissmullers end up in rivers — and trout readily eat them. While I love fishing high floating foam-bodied hoppers or big bushy Stimulators, not all hoppers get eaten moments after they take a dip. Some get stomped while they struggle in the film, and others become snacks after they drown and sink. That’s the meal ticket I’m punching with the wet fly Hopper Hammerdown, presented here by popular demand.

The Hopper Hammerdown is a soft-hackle. No, wait, it’s a winged wet. Ah, the heck with it — forget labels, and let’s just call it something that looks alive and good to eat. The inspiration for this pattern came from Dave Hall’s Golden Stone Hammerdown steelhead fly. The Hopper Hammerdown first appeared in the May/June 2014 American Angler (RIP) article “Match Game — Matching the  Hatch with Wet Flies.” And here it is.

The Hopper Hammerdown drowned hopper

Culton_Hopper_Hammerdown copy

Hook: 2x or 3x streamer hook, size 6-10
Abdomen/Sub-Thorax: Yellow or bright green fur dubbing
Rib: Small gold oval tinsel
Hackle: long, webby, brown
Wing: Natural deer hair spray
Over-Thorax: Natural deer hair pulled tight
Head: Natural deer hair finished caddis-style






6 comments on “A good drowned hopper: The Hopper Hammerdown wet fly

  1. Brain Larson says:

    Do you use a tag to tie down the real or tie in another thread and finish to the front and then come back to the second thread to tie the wing down at back?

    • Steve Culton says:

      I think you have a typo (real?) — no worries, I think I understand your question. It’s the same thread on the bobbin. I’m working tail to head. So: tie in the wing with a few tight wraps. Move the thread forward underneath the butt sections. Move the butt sections out of the the way, and tie in the hackle, dub the body, then wind the hackle. At this point the thread should be where you’re going to make the caddis-style head. So take the butt sections, grab them tight, pull forward, and bind them down. Does that make sense?

      • Brian Larson says:

        I was thinking that originally and then saw someone tie a similar fly using the thread tag. I Have tied a few with a separate thread tied I at the back wing tie down area. I am using orange just to add a bit of color contrast. The deer hair I am using does not flare much, making it more difficult to keep it out of the way.

      • Steve Culton says:

        I always encourage people to do things the way that suits them best. So if you’re a tag guy, have at it!

  2. […] Here’s a “Little Things” freebie: big, chunky hoppers/crickets/Chernoble ants/wigglies this time of year. You may not get a strike, but if you do, it’s going to be a good fish. Shown here, my Hopper Hammerdown soft hackle. […]

  3. […] swinging wets in some faster water, then on using an indicator in some slower, deeper water with a large drowned hopper and a nymph dropper. We blanked, but Mike, who was now dry fly fishing, stuck one more fish on a […]

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