If you are a regular here at RiverKeeper Flies, you know I’ve been tying LOTS of flies. This past week is no exception. I was asked by a new customer if I could tie up some Thunder Thighs hopper patterns for him. What are Thunder Thighs you ask? Well, I asked the same question.
That’s close to 5 dozen hoppers. What would you call it? An infestation? The plague?
One of the reasons I agree to tie new fly patterns is because it’s a challenge and learning experience for me. Sometimes I can find information about a fly pattern through a Google search. Other times, customers send photos to me and I take my best guess. It always seems to work out, as I have happy customers.
Here is an image of my completed Thunder Thighs hopper.
I don’t fish hoppers on my home waters, the Metolius River. There are a few around, but I haven’t noticed hoppers on the water where they are availble to the fish.
That’s a different story on our fly fishing road trips to Idaho and Montana.
Last year was a great hopper season. We used them on the Madison and Henry’s Fork of the Snake River with good success. Fishing a Club Sandwich hopper pattern was very successful.
Here is a 19″ Rainbow Trout that rose to a hopper on the Henry’s Fork last summer.
So I know hoppers work and I carry a few in my fly box. But for some reason, I wasn’t aware of the Thunder Thighs hopper.
Well that changed a few weeks ago when a new customer asked me to tie this fly.
I found detailed tying instructions from Eric Paramore’s Hopperfishing website. He developed the fly in 2010.
You saw in the first image that I’ve tied several colors of Thunder Thighs hoppers – tan, pink, and flesh. They can be tied without the poly wing or substitute a foam wing for an Improved Thunder Thighs hopper. My customer asked for the poly wing, which is what I used for all the flies.
They are a little time consuming to tie. Here I’m creating variegated legs.
Before you ask, yes they do make variegated rubber legs, but you run a risk of breaking the leg when tying a knot.
The original fly pattern uses a material called Span Flex. I used Life Flex, which appears to be a very close substitute. It doesn’t break when securing an overhand knot.
Here are some body parts where I glued 2 pieces of 2 mm foam together to form the body…
And the aftermath…
I think the flies turned out very well and I tied several to fill the provider box.
This is a flesh colored hopper.
I added the fly to my Terrestrials Fly Patterns page. I’m looking forward to giving these a try this summer.
I continue to receive positive comments about the video links I’ve provided the last couple of weeks. I don’t plan on continuing this every week, but it seems appropriate as I’m not fishing due to the stay home coronovirus recommendations in Oregon.
I’m fishing virtually these days. I hope you enjoy the dry fly cutthroat fishing from Catch Magazine. (Consider subscribing to Catch Magazine. It’s only $12/year.)
Enjoy…stay home, stay safe!