This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is the Ken Morrish Hopper.

Morrish Hopper |

I recently listened to a podcast from Wet Fly Swing where Dave Stewart interviewed Ken Morrish. In the podcast, Ken talked about developing the fly in 2010. Knowing how deadly the fly imitates a grasshopper, I was astounded that Idylwilde Flies passed on the opportunity to market his fly pattern the first time he presented it to them. Their reasoning? It was a time when so many foam fly patterns were being developed and they thought foam flies were a fad.


He submitted the fly pattern a year later and they accepted it. As they say, the rest is history.

Idylwilde Flies no longer exists. It’s Philippines production facility refused to ship their orders in the spring of 2013. As reported by The Drake in October 2013, Umpqua purchased all the flies direct from the Philippines. It appears that’s how the Morrish Hopper is now being produced by Umpqua Feather Merchants.

Here’s what Ken writes in the Umpqua website:

I took some time developing this fly. I see the basic weakness in a lot of fly design stemming from the creator thinking they know what the natural looks like and then creating something that falls short. For the creation of the hopper I took live specimens from three different regions, stuck pins through them, and stuck those pins into my tying table. I looked at them and fussed with possible patterns for seven months until getting the first real prototype.

This is the best-selling hopper in the US for several reasons. First and foremost is the profile, which is spot on. The other key elements are limber rubber legs with angled joints, its specific density and how it sits deep in the film, two toned body and color selections, high-vis locator patch and its unusual ability to catch micro currents and move about unpredictably on the surface. Tan and pink in sizes 8-12 are generally the best sellers and most effective.

While these flies fish well on a standard dead drift, many anglers like to chug them a few times after landing or chug them continuously. Try it.

Umpqua now offers the Morrish Hopper in Brown, Purple, Tan, Green, Black, Golden, Pink; sizes 14 – 6. I’m sure you’ll find the Morrish Hopper at your local fly shop.

Here is the Wet Fly Swing podcast if you are interested in listening.

Ken is the Director of Travel Sales at Fly Water Travel in Ashland, OR.

Enjoy…go fish, stay safe!

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