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.

Meadow stream fish.

Meadow stream 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 .

Charlie Boy are cool if you want a splat and/or suspend a heavier dropper. On  very clear waters it's a no-no as the fish spurn foam or high floating hoppers.

Charlie Boy  Hoppers are cool if you want a splat and/or suspend a heavier dropper. On very clear waters it’s a no-no as the fish spurn foam or high floating hoppers.

Small fish - Big hopper

Small fish – Big 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.

Breakfast

Breakfast

Standard Stimi on a pastural Freestate stream

Standard Stimi on a pastural Freestate stream

Meadow fish on a standard Stimulator

Meadow fish on a standard Stimulator

Rubberleg Stimi

Rubberleg Stimi

Stomach pumps on Rhode's fish , even in late Autumn, revealed a suprising ammount of hoppers for this time of the year. This fish fell to a Rubberleg Stimmi

Stomach pumps on Rhode’s fish ,  in late Autumn, revealed a surprising amount of hoppers for this time of the year. This fish fell to a Rubberleg Stimi

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.

This fish was swaying in the head of the pool and several drifts of the Hopper over him , didn't move him at all.I stuck on a dropper and made a bad cast with the flies landing just behind the fish. Hearing the "BLIP" the fish spun around and instead of the hopper sucked in the nymph. The nymph was so far back in it's throat  , I think it was making space for the hopper too.

This fish was swaying in the head of the pool and several drifts of the Hopper over him , didn’t move him at all.I stuck on a dropper and made a bad cast with the flies landing just behind the fish. Hearing the “BLIP” the fish spun around and instead of the hopper sucked in the nymph. The nymph was so far back in it’s throat , I think it was making space for the hopper too.

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.

Creek fish

Creek fish

River fish

River fish

It's big but they like it

It’s big but they like it

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.

This fish was feeding head down , on a ridge, smack bang in the middle of a creek you could comfortable jump over.I waited for it to lift in the thin water and dropped the RL Stimi upstream not to spook it. As the fly drifted over the fish casually lifted

This fish was feeding head down , on a ridge, smack bang in the middle of a creek you could jump over in some places.I waited for it to lift in the thin water and dropped the RL Stimi upstream as not to spook it.I could see by the fish’s body language that it spot the fly and as the fly drifted over the fish it casually lifted and intercepted the fly. When I tightened up , all hell broke lose.

There were quite a few fish milling in a bend pool  , with the odd fish rising to a terrestrial. The fish I targeted kept on intercepting the dropper , when eventually eventualy

There were quite a few fish milling in a bend pool , with the odd fish rising to a terrestrial. The fish I targeted kept on intercepting the dropper. When I covered a decent pair cruising together, the one edged ahead and sucked in the Hopper. A bit of competition is always good.

This fish was special. I waited for it to cruise past me up into the head ,which was flowing in a narrow gap between a stand of reeds and a mud cliff on the opposite bank. I probably only had one shot and decided to rather bounce the fly of the cliff instead of trying to land it in the gap just in front of the fish.   as i shot out the cast and the fly travelled over the fish position , the fish turned into the direction of the travelling fly. The fly bounced of the cliff and as that Rubber Leg Stimulator land the fish pounced. It was glorious.

This fish was special. I waited for it to cruise past me up into the head ,which was flowing in a narrow gap between a stand of reeds and a mud cliff on the opposite bank. I probably only had one shot and decided to rather bounce the fly of the cliff instead of trying to land it in the gap just in front of the fish. as I shot out the cast and the fly traveled over the fish’s position , the fish turned into the direction of the traveling fly. The fly bounced of the cliff and as that Rubber Leg Stimulator landed , the fish pounced. It was glorious.

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.

IMG_0095

Two sizable fish among an afternoon of "hoppering"

Two sizable fish among an afternoon of “hoppering”

9 lb's of Hopper Fun. I was waiting for the cloud cover to move while getting ready to cast at a beast , when this fish made an appearance close to my hiding position. It ignored my Hopper pattern on it's first and second pass and I thought my pattern was not so good after all. On its third pass , I dropped the pattern with a plop just in front of it. The fish hit the brakes, slowly lifted , scrutinized for a second and then just sucked in the fly and carried on swimming. You can imagine the pandemonium when I set the hook.

9 lb’s of Hopper Fun. I was waiting for the cloud cover to move while getting ready to cast at a beast , when this fish made an appearance close to my hiding position. It ignored my Hopper pattern on it’s first and second pass and I thought my pattern was not so good after all. On its third pass , I dropped the pattern with a plop just in front of it. The fish hit the brakes, slowly lifted , scrutinized for a second and then just sucked in the fly and carried on swimming. You can imagine the pandemonium when I set the hook.