The cooler air temp and lower humidity has made it a bit more manageable to get out during peak hopper hours. Heath and I have been fishing together since I began fishing for trout just over three years ago, he has been a sounding board for ideas and tactics, when we fish together we often stick close to one another and analyze flies, locations and presentations. The stream we fished was running gin clear and as we hiked downstream the five foot tall grass gave up the awe that is the plague. Hoppers, thousands in all colors and sizes, so many it bordered on the ridiculous if not the absurd. Rigged and ready we split up for a couple minutes, me with my Brown/Tan #10 Foam Hopper and Heath with what looked to be a #16 EHC. I took one on the second cast, a plop gave way to an aggressive strike from a 13inch brown. I fished back up to Heath and watched as his small EHC took a smaller Brookie, somewhere along the way Heath swapped to a hopper of his own and we progressed upstream. A short time later I heard something to the effect of “this is my first fish on a hopper.” Whaaaa?? A bit of floatant and a couple minutes later he fooled another, then another and another.
The rest of the afternoon was about as enjoyable a time I’ve had fishing since spring, taking turns casting big dry flies and enjoying the takes, splashy rises and sometimes awesome refusals. I eventually swapped to a #6 Brown/Yellow Foam Hopper simply because I was curious if the larger offering would produce larger trout. It produced one very nice fish that was improperly hooked and thus not landed, it also produced many, many taps and tugs from smaller fish. They were hitting the larger food item despite the fact they couldn’t fit it into their mouths, almost comical. Heath scored a rather nice looking brook trout to take the fish of the day and despite the fact that we had more time to fish we opted to head home. The heat was bearing down on us as a bit of cloud cover broke and we had gotten everything we came for. Fish the Driftless Area, Fish it Hard.
Post Note: A quick observation. How does a hopper end up in the creek? I figure one of three main ways, 1st the wind. 2nd, a disturbance in the grass like you or me… or cattle. Third, the random poor decision. I feel the first two are far more likely. So then it leads me to question: If cattle have recently come through and perhaps “primed” the creek by causing a handful of hoppers to become lunch will you have more luck as an angler because the fish have just had a consequence free meal? Or saw more hoppers in the creek in a shorter amount of time? Thinking out loud here.