Hopper Fishing TipsJuly 26, 2014
All Hoppinâ€™ No Stoppinâ€™ â€“ Tips for Late Summer Hopper Fishing
Tips for Spooky Trout and Hopper Fishing:
The fishing has been quite good over the last couple of weeks and the fish are turning towards hoppers mid-day. In the coming week or two weeks the fish, especially in the Lower Yakima Canyon, tend to get more selective on the flies they will take. Once the summer stonefly hatch subsides they get a bit less aggressive. Which is good, they were like piranhas for a week there. I think every big fish in the river was caught at least once!
The trout will start to swirl and short strike a bit, don't take it personally as they do it to live hoppers as well. I have tossed real hoppers in the river to see what the trout do and for some reason they like to swirl and boil around the real thing, sink it, and then devour it. While fishing, watch for this and try your best to use some restraint when they do this, don't set the hook! Try to wait and give the fly a small twitch just after they swirl, often they will follow it and take it with full force! It is super fun to watch and very satisfying.
As the trout move from feeding on Caddis and Stoneflies, both of these hatches slow down in August, the trout will begin to forage mid-day on Terrestrials. The will often feed sporadically throughout the day even in direct sunlight on hot days.
Loop Knot. This allows the fly to swivel, wiggle, shake its booty, and hooks up apprehensive trout because the fly is loose.
Longer tippet. Seems simple enough, but more than anything what this does is allow the fly more freedom of movement. Trout get lethargic from the heat and if there is any micro-tension on it at all they will attempt to eat but the tension will keep it out side the grasp of those hungry jaws. You can use Rio Fluoroflex Plus on big bugs like hoppers (small flies will sink using Fluorocarbon tippet). Fluoro is designed for nymphs but can work for spooky fish on hoppers.
Less floatant or less buoyant flies. The lower that fly sits the more vulnerable it is to the trout. This might be tougher to track and fish but be assured that the fish that do come up are more likely to get hooked! Try flies that donâ€™t have foam. A Daveâ€™s Hopper with just a â€œdabâ€ of floatant can be a killer.
Hopper Dropper. Try a dropper very tight to your dry fly on 5X Fluorocarbon. The closer the nymph is to your dry fly the tighter to the bank you can cast it. I have crushed fish running a nymph only 6â€³ from my hopper before. It is just enough for the fish under the grass to see it and move out.
Fish Obscure Water. Find spots that are overlooked. While there might not be â€œa lotâ€ of fish in these places you can only catch one at a time!!!!
Smaller flies. Try terrestrial insects other than a hopper. Anything that resembles a big flying ant or a Bee is tough for these trout to pass up. It might mean a few less looks but I am willing to bet it will hook more fish. The Tupac Stone (pictured and linked below) is a very natural terrestrial pattern that tempts the pickiest of fish.
Save your Chubby for night time. Chubby Chernobyls are great for aggressive fish. Not so great for spooky fish. Save them for late evening fishing when the fish are more aggressive. During the day you will see tons of refusals and short strikes on these big fluffy bugs.
Look for opportunities. Donâ€™t cast blind, you can â€œblind castâ€ but donâ€™t cast blind! LOOK for spots and target zones that your fly will â€œdraw inâ€ and fish under the blades of grass. Not every spot offers these floats but an experienced guide and angler will spot these grass tufts or opportunities every couple hundred feet. Prioritize these casts. Not all will yield fish but some will!