Up until 2013 the yellow Letort hopper was my “go to” top fly in a dry/dropper configuration, and it maintained that status for a very good reason…it caught a lot of fish. However, I grew dissatisfied with the fly’s penchant for absorbing water in the large dubbed body, so I began to experiment with foam creations such as the Charlie boy hopper, pool toy hopper, and more recently the fat Albert. These large terrestrial patterns displaced the Letort hopper, as they performed better at supporting nymphs in a dry/dropper configuration, and they also attracted fish from time to time.
For a material list and a glowing report on the Letort hopper’s effectiveness prior to my conversion to foam check out my 12/9/2011 yellow Letort hopper post. Another post simply titled yellow Letort hopper provides additional insight on this terrestrial fly. My love affair with the old classic provoked me to tie a large quantity, and my inventory remains quite adequate given my reduced usage. I often wonder if more time on the line could return this fly to its former glory, and occasionally I knot one on my tippet. The ploy yields a fish or two during the season, but I suspect that my commitment and confidence are lacking, and this results in diminished production from the old favorite.
I counted my large supply and determined that I possessed in excess of forty in my combined fly storage containers. I decided to sort through my six canisters with damaged and unraveling old flies, and I was surprised to find seven models in varying states of disrepair. I sat down at my tying counter and refurbished these hopper imitations, and in most cases I salvaged the body and tied on a new turkey wing segment for the underwing and a new deer hair wing. Perhaps 2019 will be the year that I recommit to the Letort hopper, but I suspect that will not be the case. I do feel that a size 10 yellow acts as a reasonable imitation of a golden stonefly, so perhaps I will select the Letort hopper more frequently during prime golden stonefly activity in late June and July.