I cannot tell you how many times I have been asked to make a video of how I tie the Huck Hopper. Well, I have finally motivated so here it is.
Over the years, I have sold a gazillion huck hoppers off the timhuckaby.com site. People adore this thing. I adore this thing. I have caught fish on the huck hopper all over the world. But, many of you fly tyers want to tie it yourself. I get it. Fly fishing incorporates a lot of pleasures intermingled with some frustration and even pain. And one of those pleasures is fooling a fish on a fly that you tied yourself.
I call my home water the Upper Kern River even though it is 300 miles north of where I live. I have taught many many people how to fly fish on the Upper Kern River. Shoot, my son Mark is a fly fishing guide in Bozeman and he cut his teeth on the Upper Kern. My favorite stretch of the The Upper Kern is within the Golden Trout Wilderness and is accessed by the Forks of the Kern Trail; typically with a backpack. What I call the forks is a 15 mile stretch of river above the confluence of the main fork, north, of the kern river and the little kern river. There is not a lot of altitude at the confluence, less than 5000 feet, and for that 15 miles and beyond the river and it’s surrounding area supports a huge population of many species of grasshoppers. Between teaching folks to fly fish losing hopper imitations to trees or simply just having the trout chomp and waterlog those flies I had a similar problem to Charlie craven. Charlie Craven’s “Charlie Boy Hopper” was my inspiration for the Huck Hopper. But, unlike Charlie, I was backpacking. I didn’t have the luxury of tying more flies at night. I would simply run out. I needed a durable solution that was easy enough to tie that produced results.
So, I started field testing my first prototypes on the upper kern and the results were spectacular. There was just one problem. I also needed a nymphing solution in a dry/dropper rig. The upper kern has deep runs where getting the fly down produces very well. But hanging two heavy nymphs below a fairly large, size 6 huck hopper would sink it. At the same, I reasoned that the upper kern river should never see a bobber. It’s too special. The Upper Kern River within the Golden Trout Wilderness is designated as a “Wild and Scenic” river by the State of California. It is one of the only places left in the world that supports a majority of wild natives: The Kern River Rainbow (KRR) is its own sub species of the rainbow trout. So, I started tying huge huck hoppers in sizes 2 and 4. I call them battleships. And to my surprise the kern river rainbows continued to attack them. In fact even the little KRRs would rise to those big huck hoppers, grabbing them by the legs and pulling them down to drown them. Big flies equals big fish and I started catching some monster KRRs. And those big huck hoppers could hold up even the heaviest of nymphs all day long. Doubles were now not a rare thing on the Upper Kern with a big huck hopper on top.
Credits to the great Charlie Craven for the inspiration: https://charliesflybox.com
And thanks to Par Avion for the music! http://www.VivaParAvion.com
The video includes fly tying techniques for the beginner. and details the materials I use and where i get them. but it also covers the background, history, why and how: