Nicholl’s CrickAntHopper

There are a number of larger attractor patterns out there.  Some of them, too large.  I was looking for a smaller terrestrial pattern that could resemble any number of insects that had attracting power and I just wasn’t satisfied.  Furthermore, on some of the streams I fish under difficult conditions, a 7″ brook trout may be the only difference between a thorough skunking and bringing a fish to hand.  Hence, the CrickAntHopper was born.  It could resemble any number of things from a caddis fly, a cricket, an ant, or a hopper.  The body is a translucent opal mylar and the red tag for a tail really helps draw the fishes attention.


I begin my thread just behind the eye and make wraps a third of the way down the hook shank before snipping off the tag.  Taking a four inch length of red floss, I double it over and cut it to make two two-inch long segments.  Begin tying both of them directly on top of the hook shank and end with the thread at the bend of the hook.


Cut the tag end off a scissor-blade width from the bend of the hook.  Advance your thread forward to where the initial floss tie-in point is.

Taking a five inch segment of flat opal mylar tinsel, tie it to the near side of the hook shank and make even wraps to the bend of the hook. Then, make even wraps forward to the tie-in point making sure there is a nice, even surface for the mylar to wrap around.

Take the mylar and make touching counter wraps while moving forward.  Counter wraps are used to not displace the floss tag at the end.  Once you get to the initial tie-in point, capture the tinsel with your thread and snip off the excess close to the shank.  Take your thread forward and then rearward to the one-third point of the shank behind the eye.


Cut a pencil-sized clump of deer hair from the hide and then clean and stack it really well.  Measure the hair so the tips extend just to the end of your tag on the hook.  Make a square cut to snip off the butts with your scissors.  This makes for a much cleaner burst of hair and you won’t have to trim the butts off after you already tied in your collar.  Tie in the hair so that the hook shank is exposed.  The hair should NOT cover the sides of the hook shank or the bottom.  Make securing wraps with the thread to create a bulbous head.


Using a small amount of dry fly dubbing, cover up the bulbous head and end with your thread between the dubbed head and the hair collar.


Take two round rubber leg segments, approximately 1.5″ long, and tie them in with two loose wraps of thread on either side of the fly.  You can stretch and wiggle them into position before securing them with one tight wrap of thread.  I position the legs so the shank of the hook will sit right in the surface film allowing the red tag and body of the fly to be visible from all angles.  Then, take another tight wrap of thread directly in front of the front legs.  To finish the fly, take two or three turns with a whip finisher between the front and rear legs.  Seat your knot and then snip your thread off close to the belly of the fly.  To finish things up, trim your legs to your liking.  I trim my front legs off an eye-length ahead of the hook eye and for the rear legs, I pull them back and snip them off at the end of the tag.

Between the rubber legs and the deer hair, this will float extremely well on choppy water, especially when dressed with some floatant.  Give it a try next time nothing is hatching and the bite is slow, you’re guaranteed to get some looks.


Nicholl’s CrickAntHopper

Thread: UTC 70 – Purple

Hook: Tiemco TC100 – Size 18

Tail: Red Floss

Body: Medium Flat Opal Mylar

Head: Black Dry Fly Dubbing

Wing: Deer Hair

Legs: Medium Round Rubber Legs – Black


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