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rangeley grasshopper at a maine fly shop

Rangeley Grasshopper

I have a great story about this pattern. I had my first fly tying lesson when I was about 12 years old and I remember it clearly. It was a woolly worm and it was at the long gone fly shop in Oquossoc called the House Of Tall Tales. During this past winter a customer emailed and shared with us a picture of a grasshopper fly that he remembered from his past from his visits to that same fly shop. When I saw the picture I also was brought back to my youth and the many hours spent fishing the beaver bogs with that same grasshopper. For months I told myself that I needed to search my father's old fly vest with the chance that maybe one of these flies still existed. Sure enough after a brief search through that old vest that I coveted as a child I found it and in great shape. It matched the same pattern recipe that was found in the 1952 Fletcher's Fly Shop catalog. In the past it was just that old hopper that caught countless beaver bog trout but for now on I guess I will call it the Rangeley Grasshopper.

Hook - dry fly 10-14

Thread - brown

Tail - red duck quill under yellow yarn

Body - yellow yarn

Rib - red thread

Wing - mottled turkey quill

Hackle - brown

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David Pierce FFICI - March 9, 2022

I tied and fished this same fly thru the 60s and 70s with great success. It was a favorite in the bogs and ponds of western Maine. I mostly used orange wool yarn rod the bodies. David Pierce FFICI

Pete Yarrington - July 1, 2021

I may have been the person you were corresponding with about Polly Damon’s grasshoppers last winter. I had been pulling together my memories and flies from mid 1970s Rangeley – my own ties and those I have of Rangeley area tiers, like Bud Wilcox, Dick Frost, and the Damons. I did not have any Polly’s grasshoppers left though. I have always remembered that pattern that we bought from her and Oscar, so I sat down to tie some from memory. It was one of those patterns you always carry in your memory that never fades. The grasshoppers we got from her were #12s and 14s I think, yellow bodies with red ribs, and the set of the turkey wings and ginger-brown hackles were, in my memory, perfect. I remembered trying to tie them back then, and I could do it OK but hackling them over the step-down from the body/wing tie-in to just behind the head was hard! I did finally master it, I think, this past winter, and got the flies to look like what I remembered from so long ago. Thats the pictures I sent you.
What a wonderful thing to now find your write-up of Polly’s Rangeley Grasshopper on the shop web site. Thank you. I’ll be in Rangeley this September and will stop in. After almost 5 decades, I’ll try that pattern again on Rangeley River, Quimby Pond, and Kennebago!

Bob Lauer - August 9, 2020

I fished the Rangeley area from the mid-seventies through the eighties, and spent a fair amount of time and a fair amount of money at the House of Tall Tales. And I remember as Paul does that Polly offered her Grasshopper in red, orange, yellow and green. I always thought rather than imitating a grasshopper the fly more accurately imitated a caddis fly. Caddis fly hatches were plentiful from June to mid-July on the Rangeley rivers particularly The Rapid. Your posting this fly now is somewhat ironic. I just gave all my trout flies to my younger son including about a dozen Polly Damon Grasshoppers.

Larry grant - July 14, 2020

I tied and used a version just like this, never knew the name or where it came from. It is a really good version and simple enough to tie.

Paul George - July 14, 2020

Hi Brett , as I recalled that very same time period in life ,and also being fortunate enough myself for some expert fly tying mentoring at the House of Tall Tales , in or about the same age as you , I remember a few variations with this pattern that Polly offered , the yellow one you highlighted , and also a green / red / and orange bodied combinations with also a variety of different ribbing colors and turkey quill or mallard wing , and in similar fashion ravaging my old childhood vest for any original remnant , lucky to find a couple ,(although not in very good shape (no doubt to some upper meadow Cupsuptic River Culprits ) , it was always a “go to” fly for most of the area , and nice to see you finally attribute (unofficially /or ?) a name for this effective Rangeley Grasshopper Pattern , it just seems perfectly fitting in every way …. Regards > PG

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