Sunday, August 22, 2010
Bug Of The Month - Hoppers!
Grasshoppers (Order Orthoptera) include over 1,000 species in North America and over 23,000 species worldwide. Here in the northern Sierras we have a good variety of short horned grasshoppers (Family Acrididae) that include the Pallid-winged hopper above. This is the most common hopper next to a freestone creek or river, they love to soak in the warmth of a granite rock. They are so well camouflaged against these gray polished boulders that many predators overlook them, then at the first chance they have to escape, they hop on out of there with their powerfully muscled hind legs. Windy days prove to be an advantage when hopper fishing, naturals fall victim to the gusty winds that hammer the stream side foliage and fall into the water. For a trout there is nothing like a hopper to eat, It's about as close a trout gets to a BBQ porterhouse steak that you and I enjoy.
The Madison River in Montana gave me a PHD in hopper skills and tying the right pattern, We use to chum up some very large fish with captured naturals to study the takes. The really big fish did not even break the water's surface, they just sucked it down in a little whirlpool. It took me three years of trying different hopper patterns and getting refusals from trout before I came up with my own foam hopper, "The Simple Sandwich". The results that summer on the Madison was one of dreams, one day consisted of 19 fish over 20"! For a day like that you need to cover many miles of productive holding areas next to the bank, carefully plan your attack, and have the right fly. I now tie this pattern from a size 14 - 8 in many different colors and combos, for myself I like the tan/brown/tan sandwich with brown legs, and cahill colored 6/0 Uni thread. This pattern sits flush in the surface film, is very buoyant, and bombproof.
Now is the season to fish Hoppers and other terrestrials that sit waiting for action in your fly box. Go Now!