It’s simple to tie and is probably my best large top fly producer, so why do I keep trying to find a replacement? Every year I experiment with a new foam hopper concoction, but I continue returning to the simple classic Letort hopper. This year I’m trying the Grillos pool toy. Last year it was the Charlie Boy hopper.
The problem with the Letort hopper is buoyancy. The large deer hair wing is very visible and it supports beadhead nymphs up to size 14 rather well; however, after fishing a couple pockets or runs it requires drying. This usually involves sopping up excess moisture using my shirt and then dipping in the white dry shake powder. It works, and I’ve been known to spend whole days following this routine, but I continue to seek an imitation that fools trout as well as the Letort hopper, but offers superior buoyancy.
In spite of my efforts to phase the Letort hopper out, I rely on it heavily so I tied twenty size 10 models with nice full wings. I viewed a YouTube video and adopted the clipped deer hair head refinement that the tier demonstrated. The ones I made recently look great, and I applied head cement to the wraps before tying down the deer hair, so these should be extremely durable.
I’m convinced that the narrow body profile and yellow body color of this fly enable it to serve double duty as a hopper imitation as well as a golden stonefly adult. I’ve had great success with this fly in late June and early July when golden stoneflies are prevalent on western streams. The Letort hopper remains in a prominent position in my fly box.