Want to catch late-summer trout? Try drowning a hopper!
By late summer, most of the hatches of aquatic insects are done for the year, and stream trout begin to focus more and more on baitfish, crawfish, and terrestrials as their dominant food sources. That makes it a prime-time for grasshopper fishing.
One of the most popular of those river-dwelling terrestrials is the grasshopper. By late summer, it seems like just about every field and creek bank in the country is just loaded with grasshoppers, and they’re about as large as they will get all year. It’s inevitable that one or two will accidentally end up in the stream – and get waylaid by a hungry trout.
By mid-August, this bite is on full-swing across all of trout country, so don’t be afraid to load up on some grasshopper pattern flies, hard-bodied grasshopper imitators, or just catch a couple live grasshoppers and stick them in your bait box on the walk toward the stream.
Artificial “hopper-like” insects also work great. Try one with a lip to dive deeper into the stream where trout might be waiting it out for an insect to come by. The Rebel MicroCritters feature a hard bodied grasshopper imitator in their pack, equipped with a single hook on the tail to catch trout looking for an easy meal.
To fish a live hopper, one of the most effective ways is to fish it sub-surface, or “drown” it. To do so, simply catch a grasshopper (the most effective grasshoppers are mid-sized, don’t always focus on the larger ones) and thread it on a light split shot rig with a small hook.
To maximize your drift, try fishing the rig downstream, by pitching it into the water and letting the current guide it through the hole. It’s almost like fishing a nymph or streamer on a fly rod.
In fact, hoppers rigged weightless on weight-forward fly line are an excellent way to introduce someone new to the sport of fly fishing. It’s almost guaranteed to get bit, and you don’t have to be an expert caster to have some success.
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