A recent trip to the Grand River in Ontario confirmed what I should have taken as an article of faith — it's hopper time.
|Hopper pattern flies are a must for summertime trout.|
Unfortunately, this occurred to me too late, after witnessing a brown trout that had to be somewhere north of 20 inches, clear the water in a violent, slashing rise. Two things were unusual about this. First, it was a ridiculously hot day, which is why we had just spent all our time achieving a mediocre level of success by dragging tiny nymphs though a deep shaded pool and the attached fast water. Second, this trout was cruising in very skinny water in an area exposed to the sun beside a farm field.
My friend and I had to leave but not before we took note that grasshoppers were all over the tall grass and the wind was starting to pick up. In fact, it was actually blowing from that field towards the river. That's reason enough to tie on a grasshopper pattern.
Whether or not that trout was on the hunt for hoppers is something I'll never know for certain because, as I said, our schedule was tight. But, if I were a betting man, I'd put my money on it.
Hoppers are a late summer delight for trout. They're big, plentiful and essentially helpless once they touch down in the water. Big fish love them too.
A good hopper pattern should always occupy a place in an angler's fly box once the hot weather rolls around. A good pattern will be a passable imitation of the real thing in size and coloration. More importantly, they should float like a cork.
How to Fish the Hopper
Fishing a hopper pattern is easy. You simply splat it down in the vicinity of the fish you want to catch and twitch it just a bit every now and again. The twitch should simulate the futile struggle of a grasshopper caught in the surface film. There need not be anything delicate about the splat by the way. Hoppers hit the water hard and trout know this. Heck, it's practically the dinner bell.
Fish these things in water near or downstream from meadows where hoppers are plentiful or underneath trees where trout are stationed. It's one of those summertime tactics that gets the fish's attention. I think of it dry fly fishing on steroids. But don't discount it; it often makes a fool of big fish.