HOOK: Size 10 – 14, size 12 being the most useful.
THREAD: Black 8/0.
BODY: Dubbed in three sections: Black, red, and black seal’s fur
RIB: Medium pearl tinsel.
LEGS: Knotted pheasant tail, dyed black, three on each side.
HACKLE: Black henny-cock.

This is a great general pattern to use at Hallington. The patch of red
and the pearl rib make this fly a good fish attractor all over the
north-east. It seems especially useful on peat-stained waters like
Hallington and Sweethope which is not far away. I would usually
fish this fly in combination with another different coloured hopper
such as ginger or fiery brown or maybe with a daddy-long-legs
pattern. At a distance the black of the hopper shows up well on the
water surface while the lighter coloured flies can sometimes be
difficult to see.

Hoppers are also very effective when retrieved sub-surface fished
with a midge-tip line or a floating line with a fluorocarbon leader.
Just let the flies sit on the surface for a while before starting a
steady figure-of-eight retrieve. The flies will be drawn under by the
leader/sinking tip and still attract fish under the water.

Above: The spoonings of an August fish

At this time of the year there can be a huge variety of flies and
beetles on the surface of the two lakes at Hallington, and the angler
is usually spoilt for choice. Watch out falls of flying ants, especially
in hot calm weather, as these will provoke a good rise of fish. For
the black variety, a dry hawthorn or black gnat is as good as
anything. For the red variety try a small fiery brown hopper or
similar. There can also be large falls of black gnats in August and
September so a size 16 black gnat should always be in your flybox.

For evening fishing at this time of year, I would choose to have a
couple of dry sedge patterns on my leader, because I find fishing
surface flies to be the most productive fishing method at Hallington
during the summer months. Obviously this depends a lot on the
weather and if there are fish rising, but generally speaking if you
pick your fishing days carefully, dry flies are often the best bet.

Phil Bilbrough