After the first serious thunder showers of summer has rolled through , the flow of my rivers and streams pick up well….. sometimes to well. With some of my waters blown out at this time of the year I turn my attention to tiny meadow streams. The nice thing is about all the rain is that these insignificant little creeks gets a good flow and fish from the major waterways start nosing up these creeks. I follow their que and do a bit of nosing up some obscure trickles myself. The game involves a lot of hiking through grassland pastures , in hot humidity , with mozzies attempting to suck you dry , the constant irritation of cow dung flies and the possibility of getting fried by lightning as you hot foot it to your car ahead of a thunderstorm . But the big draw is the fact that you can sight fish to some decent fish cruising sub surface ……with HOPPERS. These grasslands are host to loads of hoppers which jump/fly out in front of you as you walk the banks. The fish are constantly on the lookout for terrestrials so hoppers , beetle, ant and general atractor patterns like work well. I like fishing hoppers best , ’cause for once I can throw a decent meal at the fish.
Hopper are such fun patterns to tie and there are hordes of cool foam patterns that can float all day without maintenance . You can splat ’em , plop ’em , pop ’em , twitch ’em ,tweak…..you get the idea. Sometimes that’s what it takes to get a fish to look up. I like Charlie Boy Hoppers cause you can scale them down in size to the Baby Boy Hopper .
A few years ago I discovered the effectiveness of Rubber Leg Stimulators tied with Tarrantula Legs. These thin rubber legs does their own spastic dance as the pattern floats down stream – a trait fish find irresistible. Standard Stimi’s also work well and is a very versatile fly for Dry-and-Dropper fishing in summer , covering a lot of possibilities including termite falls.
The only drawback of the Stimulator is that it is difficult to land it with a loud plop , if one is required. The problem can quickly be overcome by adding a weighted dropper to get the required “BLIP” sound needed to grab the attention of some fish.
Like every other hopper crazed fly tier I had to come up with my own pattern. I wanted foam so the pattern would float well ( but not so well that it sits on the surface ) and that it could plop (but only if I wanted it to).The tail also had to support a heavy “copper -dropper rig” without pulling the abdomen under to deep. Legs that do not tangle in the hook gape. I slapped together some great ideas of other talented flytiers , and in the process came up with a fish slapper myself.
Off coarse the best thing about this whole deal , is that you can sight fish. Going one on one with fish is such a thrill that some of these catches remain etched in your memories to be savored over time. You can understand why this game is addictive.
Hopper fishing is not only contained to the meadow creeks. Whenever I get the chance to sight fish on the bigger rivers and streams during summer , I would push my luck with a hopper. It does not always go down with the fish and then its time for beetle/spider like flies or , if they’re really snotty , small black goodies.But if it does……boy , its happy times.