How To Tie: Morrish Hopper

Morrish Hopper
The Morrish Hopper is one of the most realistic and effective foam hoppers you can tie.

During hopper season, there is nothing I’d rather have in my fly box than a Morrish Hopper. While this ultra-realistic “fly” can be tied in several color variations, including the classic Tan and Olive, I have gone crazy and made some that are even purple and yellow – and they catch just as many fish as the natural colors. Don’t let the Morrish Hopper fool you, it definitely is not as hard to make as it looks.

Tying this fly takes some prep work, which is why I try and bang out a bunch of bodies and store them with my tying materials for when I get the urge or necessity to tie more.


Hook: #06-12 Tiemco 5212
Thread: Tan UNI 6/0 or UNI 8/0
Body: (2) Brown 2MM Foam and (1) Tan 2MM Foam
Top Body: Orange 2MM Foam
Legs: MFC Speckled Centipede Legs
Glue: Brush On Zap A Gap, 3M Super 77 Spray Glue

Step 1:

Using the 3M Super 77 spray glue (Zap A Gap will work in a pinch), glue the two brown sheets of foam together and let dry. Once dry, glue a piece of tan foam to the stack. I usually let the glued foam cure over night. I have rushed it before and ended up with tacky glue on my tools.

Step 2:

I really like the River Road Creations Ken Morrish Hopper Foam Body Cutter (or you can just cut the foam with scissors) for mass producing the bodies. Once the bodies are stamped out, take your scissors and round off the corners of the body, taper the tail, and cut a notch in the butt of the hopper.

Step 3:

Time to bust out a razor blade. Make a vertical cut through the tan foam, about an 1/8″ from the head, then a diagonal about an 1/8th from the vertical cut, resulting in a small notch that creates a nice hopper head. Next, cut a slit down the middle of the body with the blade cutting fully through the tan layer. You want to make sure it is deep and long enough for your entire hook shank to sit in.

Step 4:

Wrap thread around the hook and then bring it forward, leaving about 1/4 of the hook space between the thread and the eye. Next, coat the threaded hook with Zap A Gap. This will help keep the foam in place while working on the hopper. After the glue is down, slide the foam over the hook, with the eye of the hook in the notch at the head. You’ll have to position the body quickly, as the glue doesn’t take much time to set. Pinch the body for about 30 seconds to ensure everything is solid.

Step 5:

Time to start some thread wraps. Make a single wrap just ahead and behind the diamond, with the thread jump on the top of the body. Now, place the orange hot spot as evenly as possible on top of the hopper and make a wrap. It is important to note that thread wraps shouldn’t be too tight, otherwise they will cut through the foam.

Step 6:

Next, for the rear legs, take two pieces of the MFC Centipede Legs and tie an overhand knot in them. Put a dab of Zap A Gap on the knot to keep it from coming undone. Now, tie the leg on one side of the hopper. The knot should be just shorter than the body. Next, cut one of the rubber legs at the knot and both extra rubber legs at the tie-in point. Repeat these steps for the other rear leg.

Step 7:

With the legs in tact, fold back the hot spot and jump the thread forward to where you secured the body at the head. It is now time to tie in the front legs. First, take a single rubber leg and tie an overhand knot. Next, tie it in, with the length about the same as the back legs. The front legs will intersect the back legs about halfway between where you tied them in and the knot. Once the legs are tied in, you can fold down the hot spot and secure it with a wrap and whip finish.

Step 8:

Trim the legs to an appropriate, proportional length. Once you have adjusted the legs to where you like them, drop a dab of Zap A Gap where the legs are tied in. Finally, take Sharpie marker and dot an eye on the hopper head.

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