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  • Writer's pictureBrian Lansing

think big | it's hopper season

As we role into August, the dog days of summer are upon us in Central and Upstate New York. This means #flyfishing with terrestrials. This means big, fat, juicy, buoyant, high riding, foamy, elk hair covered, rubber legged grasshoppers. It’s hopper season for the next couple months.

Many streams are too warm to fish, but there are certainly exceptions. Creeks with cold water springs and a majority of the tailwaters are good to go. Each clear night that drops into the 50s means a possibility of fishable water temps on the freestones in the morning. Just keep an eye on the rising temps. Most streams become too warm again by 10 or 11am. This puts you back in the office by lunch, just in time to make that early afternoon board meeting.

Most of our streams, and many others throughout the country, are brush lined. Brush, tall grass, and trees line the banks tightly. This provides shade and hiding areas for our finned friends, but also provides the opportunity for meals, potentially large ones at that. What crawls on grass, weeds, brush, and trees? Bugs do, and all kinds of them, mostly #terrestrials. Ants, beetles, inchworms, caterpillars, crickets, and grasshoppers to name a few.

Grasshoppers are great option for late summer fly fishing in Central New York and Upstate New York.  These are some of the hopper imitations in my box.
a few of the grasshopper imitations in my box

Trout key on areas where they can hang in cover and see when something falls off the banks. Undercut banks are great places to look. Shallower water than you might normally fish could hold trout now if there is shade from a tree or bush and some boulders or cobbles they can hide in.

Is every #trout in the stream holding like this? I assure you, the answer is no. Is every trout looking up for a big grasshopper meal? Though I really wish this were the case, again, the answer is assuredly no. But, some of your bigger and smarter fish are. The caloric value and protein in a grasshopper is far superior to that of a size 18 caddis. Trout that realize this one big meal is more beneficial and efficient than 26 little meals are the fish that will take a peek at your fly. These are the fish I’m interested in. They tend to be larger and wiser. That being said, watching a 8” wild trout destroy your size 6 hopper is no less entertaining. Hopper fishing is fun. It's not often I see a trout sip a #hopper like a dry fly. Instead, they seek and devour.

Why else is fly fishing with hoppers and terrestrials fun and effective? They are easy to see. It is a reprieve from trying to keep track of your size 18 blue-winged olive. They are buoyant. Hanging a dropper off the hopper is also very effective. As I alluded to previously, not all fish are looking on top to eat. Tying a small nymph dropper is a great idea as you can watch and use your hopper fly as an indicator. When the hopper stops or goes under, fish on! Or…snagged on that moss around that stick and attached to that boulder…

Go fish.

Brian Lansing


As always, feel free to like, comment, or share! Please feel free to contact me with comments, questions, or guided trip questions.


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