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Heatherfly Hopper


Allan Liddle prepares for tackling upland wild brown trout in high summer by tying his Heatherfly Hopper

Tying Allan Liddle's Heatherfly Hopper

  • 1


    Run thread down and form butt.

  • 2


    Form dubbing 'rope'.

  • 3


    Dub body and run tying tag rib.

  • Tie in legs.

  • 5


    Trim ends.

  • 6


    Tie in deerhair wing.

  • 7


    Trim waste off wing.

  • 8


    Tie in hackle then take two turns.

  • 9


    Trim hackle level below.

  • 10


    Finished fly varnish head.

  • 11


    Set aside for varnish to dry.

  • 12


    Ready for battle.

As I write it is August 14 and so I thought it would be a good time to offer a pattern imitating an insect that every upland wild trout angler hopes makes a significant appearance, the Bibio Pomonae, or as we anglers normally call it, the Heather Fly.

 Appearing around July through to September (sometimes October depending on the weather) it really peaks in August and is easily identified due to its flat black profile and bright red legs.

Closely related to the Hawthorne Fly which appears much earlier in the year (April/May) the Heather Fly is a favourite on our wild trout's menu and plenty patterns to imitate abound; there won't be an angler in the land that doesn’t have at least one of these in their fly box.

 The most common and well known of these is the Bibio itself and although tied specifically as an imitation for this insect (as the name suggests) but itself is a cracking year round nondescript pattern which has stood the test of time.

 Decent as a dry pattern the traditional Bibio is, albeit improved with a couple of 'tweaks', Hoppers are in my opinion much better and again there's many different dressings in this style of fly designed to imitate this insect I’d just like to offer one that's stood me in good stead throughout the later half of the season whether Heather Flies have been present or not.

Hook: Partridge L3A TDH Dry Lightweight or E1A Dry Fine Size 10-14
Thread: Red Uni 6/0 or 8/0
Tag: Tying thread
Body: Black seal/hare/green glister mix (small pinch of glister to ensure it's not too 'overbearing').

Legs: Pre knotted pheasant tail dyed red (tie them high on the back in a single bunch, you can always pick them out once finished with dubbing needle, however fishing will do this for you).

Wing (optional): Sparse bunch Roe deer hair (careful not to let it 'splay' or worse 'spin' when tying, keep thread flat helps prevent this)
Hackle: Two or three turns black saddle cock trimmed level below.

The fly has a great 'low riding' profile which trout find so appealing. Fish it static or near static to rising fish with confidence. Gink the hackle, wing and legs only in light ripple, or the whole fly when it's windier.

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