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Mini-Hopper

At a few requests, here are the fairly simple steps to tying the Mini-hopper. I cannot really take any credit for this fly as I have taken most of the ideas from other sources. Together it really does the trick as a summer terrestrial or caddis imitation pattern. Without further ado here we go:

Materials

Materials needed:

1. Dry fly hook (preferably #12-14)

2. 2mm foam (I have found just about any color I tie up produces. The brighter colors are nice for rougher water. I buy sheets of foam at the craft store for a fraction of the price posted at most “fishing” stores and the craft store has every color of the rainbow.)

3. Dubbing and matching thread (I prefer black 6/0 thread and Hare Tron Dubbin in black. The dubbing is mixed with some silver and has a nice sparkle to it. The matching color is nice, as you tie in most of your material in the same spot.)

4. Elk Hair

5. Barred Sili Legs (I have tied both green and orange and have not distinguished much of a difference between the two)

6. Super Glue (Makes life easier when your fly can stand up to the punishment all day or until you lose it in a tree)

Thread Base

1/4 inch strip of foam

I usually add a dab of super glue before attaching the foam with strong thread wraps

Tie in stacked elk hair

Tie in barred legs

One more dab of super glue before pulling back the foam and tying it all down

Whip Finish and Trim up the Foam

Underside

Topside

Slice of Heaven

It has been a little over a year since my uncle dug my grandfather’s old fly rod out of his garage and passed the beautiful Fenwick on to me. My first fly fishing trip in Arizona was to a small stream on the Rim that holds a great population of wild rainbows mixed in with a few browns. This stream was not the ideal place to put my meager fly casting knowledge to use, but the lessons were quick and many, and before long I was generally staying out of the trees. I returned to this stream on Saturday with my good friend Jake and we hiked down in to the creek in search of those willing rainbows.

The day started cold with the temperature hovering at a brisk 46°, but I cherish the days when I am not constricted in a set of waders, so I chose instead to wet wade. Cloud cover kept the temps low and the heat of the day only reached the mid-60s. The overcast light seemed to really turn the fishing on and rainbows were attacking dry flies from the moment that we stepped into the cold creek. All of the fish we caught were the wild rainbows that call this creek their home. Their spots and colors were extraordinarily beautiful and unique to each specimen and each fish showed its spunk and tenacity with they way they  would fight and jump. I did bring one brown in full spawning colors to the net but quickly released the healthy fish without a picture. We spotted several browns that were going through the spawning motions and attempted to leave them alone.

A disapproving eye on my casting ability...

Fall Colors

Fall colors were in full swing with the trees creating a beautiful backdrop to fly fish. Wildlife was in abundance as we walked the creek. Several whitetail does showed up to watch my ugly casting and try and figure out what fool would be standing in the frigid water waving a stick around. They stuck around for a little while, apparently unconcerned and realizing that I was not after them. I could not help but smile and chuckle, thinking about all of those deer hunters trucks on the top of the ridges, knowing most of the deer are going to be sneaking around in the lower canyons and creek beds. Another interesting sighting of the day was a coatimundi who was slowly making his way along a ridge above the creek. I had only seen one other coatimundi in Arizona and find them a fascinating creature, cherishing any sighting of these bizarre animals.

The Prize

Several very big fish were lost throughout the day. Jake missed a bigger brown and I also missed a large fish. While casting to a dark pool nestled up under a tree trunk, I made the perfect cast that bounced my mini-hopper off the tree and deposited my fly a few inches from the bank. A massive nose broke the surface and slowly and  nonchalantly slurped the  dry fly. I waited and as he turned I lifted the rod and felt the bend, but as he turned, one powerful kick left my fly rod limp and flyless. Moments like that break a fisherman’s heart, but are one of the reasons I will go back again and again. Most of the rainbows in this creek do not get much bigger than 10 or 12 inches, but I did land the beauty above who pushed 14 or 15. After a spirited fight, the fish posed nicely and showed the beautiful spots that mark most of this stream’s inhabitants.

Rim Rainbow…

Looking back and seeing how far I have come and how much I have learned since I first set foot in that creek over a year ago is a little more than amazing. I am thankful for every chance that I have to get out into God’s creation and experience all the beauty that radiates from his handiwork.

Destination fishing...

The Fly Box

The winner of the fly box is Troutrageous. Email me your address and info at benjaminsmith835@gmail.com and I will get that out to you ASAP. Thank you guys for all of your kind comments and encouragement and thank you for making the first year a success.
Ben

 

The Box

 

October 24th will mark the one year anniversary of this blog. I started this site out as a means of communication with my family and as an alternative to some other social networking sites. Over the past year, it has grown and I have gained some faithful readers and friends through this site. I decided in honor of the “one year” mark I would like to do something, however small it may be, to give back to those who faithfully check in every week to see where I have been wandering. I tied up several of my favorite flies which always produce for me here in Arizona and will work just about anywhere trout are present. These flies will be enclosed in a Flambeau fly box that is fresh off the store shelf. It is not much, but I hope someone can use the flies and have the same luck I have had.

A few simple rules.

1. Leave a comment in the comment section. Let me know what you think of the blog and anything else you might like to see posted. Comment on your favorite flies, where you have been fishing, or anything fishing related.

2. Leave your name or some identifying information.

3. October 24th,I will use http://www.random.org/ and have a number generated and a winner will be declared.

4. Once a winner is selected I will get the box and flies mailed out to you ASAP.

5. I will only mail to the U.S.

 

The Flies

 

The flies included in this box are the flies that brought many a fish to hand during the summer and will continue to do the same throughout the fall. As I have repeatedly stated, I am not a master fly tier but have put large amounts of love into these flies. I have included:

– Simi-Seal Buggers

– Hopper Juan Variants

– Sparkle Parachutes

– Mini Hoppers

Each of these flies has a short bio in the My Fly Box link at the header of this page.

Thank you very much to everyone who makes it a habit to stop by and leave kind comments on a regular basis. There is always an open seat in my truck if you make it out to Arizona and want to fish some small streams. Good luck to everyone and tight lines.

Ben

Cold Early Morning

As I turned off the truck, I looked at the outside temperature display to read a brisk 35 degrees. My friend Jake and I had left early from the valley and were the first on the water. We had seen multiple trucks on our the dirt roads into this particular Rim stream, but the drivers and passengers of those other vehicles were decked out in their camouflage for elk season. By 7:30 we were coffeed and geared up and stepped foot in the crystal clear waters to begin our day, but were dismayed as the catching of fish started extremely slowly. By 9:30 the fish became eager to take the dry fly and many different insects began filling the air. Small mayflies, caddis, crickets, grasshoppers, and butterflies were in ample supply on the banks and rocks lining the creek.

Standard Creek Resident...

 

Most of the fish brought quickly to the net and released were brown trout who put on marvelous displays of acrobatics after taking the flies we offered. We changed flies often from parachute adams to small caddis flies but were rewarded on most well presented drifts. We fished up the stream about a mile or more until the sun was high in the sky and headed back to the truck. After some deliberating, we decided to hike down from our present location and fish back up to the truck and try and tempt some of the creeks bigger fish during the evening feeding time. The decision was crucial and the evening bite made the entire day a complete success. Each pocket of water held hungry browns and the larger pools produced multiple fish each time.

More of the same...

 

One particular pool stretched around 60-70 yards long and Jake had the honors of fishing the banks while I watched from a distance. He was throwing a brown balloon caddis to match the caddis flies that were being attacked throughout the evening. As he worked his way slowly up stream, a fish attacked his fly and took off up stream. The bend in his fly rod told us this was not the ordinary 10-12 inch fish we had been catching all day. After a short fight, the fish was netted, quickly photographed and then released. The brown measured somewhere between 16-17 inches and was Jake’s best fish to date. Smiles were all around and we continued working the rest of the pool with several other good fish brought to hand.

Jake's Fish

The day ended as the sun dipped and the canyon light began to fade. Many fish had been brought to hand and seeing a larger fish landed by a friend is always worthwhile. As stated before, most of the fish caught were around 10-12 inches with several beefier ones pushing 15, all browns save a few rainbows. Our fly selection consisted of parachutes, caddis, and hoppers, although it seemed that the evening bite was focused on those dark brown caddis flies. It was a great day to be out in God’s creation with a friend and I look forward to pulling on my boots and stringing up my fly rod again soon.

Twilight

Bacon wrapped quail with a garlic clove tucked in the breast...Nothing else to say but delicious...

Opening Day

The second day of quail season found me side-hiking a hill trying to keep my feet under me without making an enormous amount of noise. This is much more difficult than it sounds in the cactus filled canyons outside of Phoenix. I was joined by my good friend Austin early in the morning and we bounced our way through a mesquite filled wash to a canyon located off the beaten path. This particular canyon is located inside a wilderness area which is means no quads or ranger which in the end means not too many other hunters are going to be wandering into this area. When we exited the truck on the wilderness boundry, our ears where filled with the coos and calls of quail all around us. After loading up at 6 am, we stumbled over and flushed more birds than we could count.

First bird of the day...

Birds began to fall quickly to our 12 gauges, but it appears I am not the better shot. Austin limited out while I ended the day with 5 birds in the vest. In my defense, I piled up several birds but was unable to find them (even as I write this I know it sounds weak).  In a desert where every crevice and rock is guarded by a wide array of thorned plants, quail have a unique way of escaping underground never to be found again. By ten o’clock, the sun was hot and we were running out of water, so we turned our course back to the truck.

Wilderness Area...

The little canyon was simply brimming with birds and the early morning was perfect weather for hiking and shooting, but unfortunately the Arizona desert heated quickly under a hot October sun. I appreciate the close proximately to home that quail hunting affords me, but I think that I will be waiting till the weather abates and the fishing turns off. Hopefully, I will be pointing the truck towards the Rim in the near future and take advantage of the cooling fall weather to chase some bigger browns on those crystal streams.

Final Bird

The Canyon

With the lack of fishing lately, I find myself yearning to be on the water. Living smack dab in the middle of the desert means that I must find my solace at the vice. I am not the only one who enjoys tying flies and playing with feathers and fur. Budder Bear is always nosing around and wanting to see my meager handiwork.  A few more foam flies that I’ve been messing around with:

Chernobyl Variation

Chubby Chernobyl

Good Boy