Grasshopper

Common Names: Grasshopper, Hopper
Scientific Name: genus Orthoptera

In areas with lots of grass, hoppers can be abundant from mid-summer until the first frosts. If those grassy areas are near a river, then there's always a few hoppers that will fall onto the water--a medium they are ill-equipped to deal with. Once there, they have a difficult time getting airborne and will drift until they drown--or make a large and delectable meal for a trout.

Just because it's summer, though, don't assume that trout want hoppers, or even that they're around. Rivers with narrow riparian zones, such as Oregon's canyon-bound Deschutes, offer poor hopper fishing. Also, trout may be interested in food other than hoppers, even if the big bugs are present. In fact, trout eat far more terrestrial beetles and ants than hoppers.

But if hoppers are available, and if trout want them, then you can have some outstanding dry fly fishing. Often it's not enough to simply let your imitation drift down the river. You'll probably need to place it within inches of the riverbank. Also, it will probably help if your fly lands with a loud "plop." Trout associate the noise with a hopper that fell into the river; they'll probably come on-the-double.

In the Rockies, the hopper/dropper combo is a popular and useful strategy from mid-July through the first frost. Tie a 18-24 inch dropper leader off the hook bend of the hopper imitation, then put a nymph pattern on the other end of the dropper. The hopper acts as an indicator if a trout takes the nymph, and sometimes the trout will take the hopper. It's an effective two-fer.

 

How to Match a Hopper

Hatches are matched from Westfly's database of "standard" fly patterns.

Adult
Size 4-10 Madam X, Daves Hopper. Tan/yellow, olive/yellow, green
Bankwater with grass: standard dry fly
Adult
Size 4-10 Morrish Hopper. Tan/yellow, olive/yellow, green
Bankwater with grass: standard dry fly

 

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Characteristics

ADULT COLOR: Yellows, greens, yellow-greens, tans, browns

OTHER CHARACTERISTICS: Large head with prominent eyes. Boxy build. Large legs and wings.

 

More About Grasshoppers