Category Archives: Terrestrials

Chubby Chernobyl – 01/24/2023

Chubby Chernobyl 01/24/2023 Photo Album

Each year I resort to the chubby Chernobyl more frequently. My post of 02/12/2022 provides further background on my experience with this awkward looking fly. Links from that post can guide you to my introduction to gaining confidence in the chubby Chernobyl, but suffice it to say that large trout on the Yampa River favored a chubby with a tan ice dub body.

Angled Front

When I utilize a chubby in the surface position on a dry/dropper, and a fish grabs the trailing fly, I find the progressive submersion of the chubby wing to be quite seductive. I suppose that makes me weird, but I must confess to this predilection.

Clump of Five

After I counted my carry over supply from 2022, I determined that the chubbys needed replenishment, so I churned out an additional five for the upcoming season. I cannot wait to see the white wing disappear once again.

Fat Albert – 01/23/2023

Fat Albert 01/23/2023 Photo Album

Refer to my recent post on the pool toy hopper for a comparison of the pool toy hopper and the fat Albert. They are very similar. Check out this link to my report from 2022 for additional links and narrative on the fat Albert.

Refurbished Fat Albert

I continue to deploy the fat Albert early in the season, when I desire a large and buoyant top fly on my dry/dropper set up, and it does the job quite well and even occasionally pounds up an eager fish. The fat Albert also sees heavy usage during the end of June and early July, when I edge fish the larger rivers, as the snow melt remains high, but the rivers are clear, and the fish are bunched along the banks seeking refuge from the fast current. Again the buoyancy is a major plus, and the large yellow bodied foam fly also imitates the golden stoneflies that are prevalent during this time period.

Teeth Marks Make Them More Effective

As was the case with the pool toy hopper, I found five flies in my damaged fly canister that were missing legs, so I simply added legs to restore my inventory to adequate levels for the upcoming season. These flies will see action within a few months.

Pool Toy Hopper – 01/22/2023

Pool Toy Hopper 01/22/2023 Photo Album

The pool toy hopper is in all likelihood the foam fly that logs the most time on my leader other than the hippie stomper. If you search the web for foam hopper imitations, you will find hundreds of patterns. Imitating a grasshopper seems to be the fly tying equivalent of building a better mousetrap. It seems that every fly designer takes a crack at creating a better hopper. Are there better hopper patterns out there than the pool toy hopper? Probably, but this fly has served me quite well for many years now, so I remain loyal to it.

Very Clean Look

I also tie fat Alberts, and in all honesty the pool toy and fat Albert are very similar flies. For some reason I use the fat Albert in situations, where I am not primarily imitating a grasshopper, but instead I am using the surface fly as a strike indicator. I also tie fat Alberts with yellow bodies and pool toy hoppers with tan bodies. If I were to vary size and body color, perhaps these flies would perform in comparable fashion. Nevertheless, at my age and at this stage of my fly fishing career, I abide by the phrase, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”.

Waiting for Rework

The pool toy hopper was created by one of my favorite designers, Andrew Grillos, and I regard him as one of the foremost architects of foam flies. I actually took a tying class with Andrew, and this may also influence my bias toward the pool toy. For additional background information and links to a materials table and directions to tying instructions, follow this link, 02/04/2022.

Eleven Refurbished and Two New

When I counted my pool toy hoppers, I discovered that I had quite a few damaged flies to refurbish. Nearly all of them were missing legs, so I simply tied on some thread and added legs to create eleven refurbished hoppers. I also tied a couple from scratch to remain in practice.


Jake’s Gulp Beetle – 01/17/2023

Jake’s Gulp Beetle 01/17/2023 Photo Album

For some reason my success with the beetle has waned in the last several years, and this circumstance may be attributable to my tendency to favor a hippie stomper over the beetle. If fish refuse the hippie stomper, my next succession in downsizing is the beetle. My post of 01/16/2021 provides quite a bit of background on the beetle and my application to fishing situations.

Angled for More Depth

When I counted my supply of beetles in sizes 10 – 14, I concluded that I was adequately stocked, but I uncovered five foam and deer hair beetles that were damaged and unraveling. I stripped these down the the bare hook and supplemented my backup supply with five refurbished flies. I suspect that I will once again find myself in a situation where the beetle delivers on its promise, and 2023 could be the year.

Batch of Five

Sunk Ant – 01/03/2023

Sunk Ant 01/03/2023 Photo Album

I set a goal last winter to use sunk ants even more than in the past, and I actually followed through on this pledge during the 2022 season. I experimented with them on some large rivers during higher flows, and they were not extremely productive. However, when I knotted one to my line in a dry/dropper arrangement and tossed it to likely trout holding spots on small mountain streams, there was no mistaking the love affair between trout and ants. The sunk ant performed in admirable fashion.

Zoomed on a Black Sunk Ant

As one would expect, I lost a few along the way, and increased usage translated to more lost flies. I counted my stock of carry over ants, and I decided to replenish my inventory with size 14 and size 16 black sunk ants. I followed the pattern demonstrated by Kelly Galloup in his excellent YouTube video, although I substituted a black plastic bead for the rear bump instead of winding thread forever. Even Kelly remarks on the mind numbing exercise of forming the rear bump with thread. The feature of this fly that I admire the most is the method that he demonstrates to form the legs. If you are interested in tying some of these, definitely check out his video. Also, if you are interested in learning more about my experience with the sunk ant check out my post of 01/22/2022.

Lots of Ants

Fat Albert – 02/06/2022

Fat Albert 02/06/2022 Photo Album

In a previous post on the fat Albert or pool toy hopper a reader asked me what the difference was, and I was forced to acknowledge that they are very similar. Both contain three layers of foam and both possess rubber legs. The pool toy hopper displays more materials for the rear wing, but this is probably a minimal difference from the trout’s vantage point. I got stuck in the routine of tying mainly fat Alberts in size 6 with yellow bodies; whereas, I tie pool toy hoppers in size 8 with tan bodies. Who knows? If I tied smaller fat Alberts with tan bodies, I might discover that it produces during hopper season as well as a pool toy hopper.


My post of 02/04/2021 provides the key links to a materials table and anecdotes regarding my usage and introduction to the fat Albert. I tend to use this fly as an indicator in the early season prior to run off, and I also default to it quite often during the edge fishing time frame, when the rivers are blasting downstream at a rapid pace and leaving only the ten feet along the bank as a target area for casting. The large foam body is highly visible and very buoyant, and these attributes are conducive to its role as an indicator fly.

Opposite Side

I tie mine primarily with a yellow underbody beneath a layer of yellow foam, and I am convinced that the fly gets consumed as a golden stonefly adult in addition to a hopper with a yellow body. This may explain its productivity during the early season and during late June and early July, as these time frames coincide with golden stonefly activity.

Fat Albert Cluster

For 2022 I refurbished two with missing legs and made an additional three from scratch to up my fat Albert inventory to a sufficient level for the upcoming season.

Pool Toy Hopper – 02/04/2022

Pool Toy Hopper 02/04/2022 Photo Album

The pool toy hopper is another Andrew Grillos creation that I have grown to love. This is my favorite grasshopper imitation and a frequent occupant of the surface position on a dry/dropper configuration. I also tie fat Alberts, Charlie boy hoppers, and hopper Juans, but the pool toy is consistently my top producer. The fat Albert spends a lot of time on my line, because it is even more visible than the pool toy, but during hopper season the pool toy outperforms the fat Albert in terms of eats on on the surface.

Nine Damaged Pool Toy Hoppers

My post of 01/31/2021 provides a comprehensive update on all things related to the pool toy hopper with links to a materials table and directions to a source for tying instructions.

Brand New Pool Toy Hopper

I inspected the canister that I maintain with damaged and unraveling flies, and I discovered nine pool toy hoppers. This is an indication of my frequent reliance on this productive fly. These flies were missing front and back legs, and I was able to refurbish them without stripping them down to the bare hook. In addition to nine repaired flies, I made three new ones. I have reduced my tying of pool toys to tan bodies with tan underwings in size 8. Bring on the hopper hatch in 2022.

Zoomed In

Chernobyl Ant – 02/01/2022

Chernobyl Ant 02/01/2022 Photo Album

In spite of the surge in popularity of the chubby Chernobyl, I continue to value and stock the classic Chernobyl ant. I have very little to add to my writings of 01/23/2021, so I refer you to that comprehensive report.

Counting Chernobyl Ants

As was the case then, I counted my supply and determined that I possess more than adequate quantities of size 8 and 10 Chernobyl ants. I passed on tying more and moved on to the next foam attractor on my list.

Sunk Ant – 01/21/2022

Sunk Ant 01/21/2022 Photo Album

If you visit my post of 12/21/2020, you will discover that I added sunken ants to my arsenal of trout chasing flies during the winter of 2020-21. The aforementioned post contains a materials table and points the reader to an online video by Kelly Galloup that provides the tying steps for his sunk ant. The brief report also explains why I adopted sunken ants, and they now represent a significant weapon in my search for wild trout.

Size 16 Sunk Ant

I made five size 16 and five size 14 ants last winter, and after I counted my remaining supply, I decided to increment my inventory by another five of each size. During the 2021 season I enjoyed continued success with my sunken ants. They seem to be particularly productive on small high mountain streams, and this seems logical, since trees and bushes tend to be closer to the water, and this in turn suggests a high probability of the ever present ants tumbling into the creek. I recall days on Clear Creek, South Boulder Creek and Lake Creek where the sunk ant was popular with the local stream residents.

5 14’s and 5 16’s

My goal for 2022 is to utilize the sunk ant even more, and in doing so I plan to test it in larger rivers and in all seasons. Ants seem to exist in spring, summer and fall; so why should they not catch fish in all three seasons? I plan to find out.

Fat Albert – 02/04/2021

Fat Albert 02/04/2021 Photo Album

As is my custom during the cold winter months, I visited my fly storage containers and counted my supply of fat Alberts. I was pleased to discover that I possessed adequate quantities of size 8 fat Alberts with yellow bodies, so I quickly moved on to the next pattern on my schedule of flies to tie. I tend to use the fat Albert quite a bit in the early season, and I missed the latter half of April and most of May during 2021 due to my recovery from heart surgery. This perhaps explains the lack of shrinkage in my inventory of this popular fly.

Plenty of Fat Alberts in Stock

Click on the link to my post of 12/30/2019 for additional information about the fat Albert. The brief report provides a materials table and several linksĀ  that describe my introduction to this popular fly. In addition there is a link that takes you to a post that describes some of the successful usages of the yellow fat Albert. Hopefully I will be on the western rivers early during 2021, and the fat Albert will bounce along the currents and attract attention from hungry trout.