Thursday, August 11, 2011

Hammering the Hoppers!

You know that childish guy movie where there are a lot of fart jokes and blatant frontal nudity?  The one where inevitably the guy scores with the girl and his buddy asks about it and he does something really low brow and lets his buddy smell his finger.  Well smell my hand folks…. It smells like FISH!
Long way to go to make a lame joke but I can’t stop smelling my hand today because I hit up the local creek this morning and they were absolutely hammering the hoppers.  It made me think about how during the run off I focus on Carp but just how awesome a day on the stream where fish are just jumping out of the water to catch a grasshopper.  It is that time of the year here in Boulder where there are 3-4 inch hoppers abound and it is probably my favorite time of year to fish, hence the name of the blog.
Over the past few months it probably could have been called “Carp” talk but I figured I would re-focus and give you all some tips that I found out today and the past couple of quick trips to the creek.

Cast Poorly

It sounds funny but the most violent strikes I have had when fishing hoppers came off of some of the worsts casts possible.  I can’t tell you how many times I have casted long and into the grass behind the bank and said “aww man please don’t snag”.  I give it a little tug and the hopper gently leaps off the grass and into the water and BAM a fish slams it.  Think about it, grasshoppers are terrestrials so they will come from land.  If you cast on the land and simulate it falling in the water it can be VERY productive.  The best place to do this is to find a rock and cast on it then just gently let it fall off of the rock and into the water.  Your chances of snagging on a rock are slim and odds are you can cast into the rock and let it fall into a pool.  The trout love this.

Environmental issues

As I mentioned above grasshoppers are going to come from the ground obviously.  It’s not like a Caddis hatch where there are bugs swirling all around you.  A Grasshopper has to be looked at like going to the County Fair with your kid and letting them actually get a deep fried Oreo, it doesn’t happen every day and when they get the chance they gobble it up.  So take note about how a grasshopper would get into the water.  A low hanging tree branch, make it look like it fell out.  Is it windy?  Perhaps a cast in the middle of the water would be a good idea. My favorite though was this morning I was near a bridge over the water and a car drove over and I saw no less than 3 hoppers jump off and 1 landed in the water and was instantly slammed. When there is a bridge near by the whole water opens up.

Bring a buddy!

Hopper season in my mind is the best time of the year to get someone started on fly fishing.   The bottom line is when a hopper hits the water it is not graceful, it flails around and sometimes twitches and even swims a little upstream.  We aren’t talking about the perfect dead drift here and no leader in the water high sticking.  You can afford to make mistakes and in some cases a mistake makes it look more realistic.  When a fish decides to hit a hopper (usually not very long after it hits the water) then they absolutely hammer it.  The type of takes you see on TV.  Perfect conditions for getting someone interested in fly fishing. 

One last little bit of advice.  The largest fish I caught today did something I haven’t seen a trout do before…. It may be common but I haven’t seen it yet.  It actually wacked the hopper so that it went under and then came back and ate it.  I somehow had the wherewithal to wait till the take.  Watch out for this!
Take care all and happy hopper season!