Cometh the summer cometh the hoppers: well sometimes anyway.
Hopper seasons over the last ten years have been a little hit and miss in some areas, for reasons not known. Then you have the breaking of the drought and abundant grass growth alongside many streams which again gets you all excited because you feel certain that those sorts of conditions are sure to bring about one of those legendary years.
Last season was just like that, plenty of grass and seemingly plenty of juvenile hoppers about, but it didn’t develop into a great hopper season again. Yes the hoppers developed and there were plenty of them about but the trout had not really keyed into them as a prime food source.
I can only surmise that as water levels and temperatures in many streams in the north east stayed at something like springtime conditions until well after Christmas, that the trout had plenty of other food to keep them occupied and the old hopper had become relegated into the secondary category.
So another summer is almost upon us, again the conditions look optimal for an outstanding hopper time, all we need now is some ammunition. So here we have another variation, adaptation, metamorphosis on a long line of previous hopper patterns. And this will continue to happen as more and more synthetic materials become available to the tyer more and more of the old trusted and tried patterns will undergo ‘fly lifts’ to bring them in line with 21st century materials.
Foam has undergone a radical transformation from a fly tyers perspective in recent years and the many new foam products, colour schemes, and preformed bug bodies and there application for use in many fly patterns has seen myriad ‘alternate’ looking fly’s emerge into the fly box.
In some ways all the new synthetics materials could be likened to the burning of the bra. Tyers are now liberated.
The benefits of using foam is its ‘floatability’. It sits high on the water and bounces along beautifully in the current, and for people who struggle with their eyesight it’s a nice easy fly to see.
Fishing the foam hopper is simplicity in itself providing the trout are on. Find a nice bouncy run of riffle, preferably alongside a nice grassy bank. Smack and I mean smack the fly on the water to alert all and sundry that hoppers are up and about and hopefully watch the commotion as your poor hopper gets smashed from the surface.
That’s how it is supposed to go in theory, unfortunately not always in practice.
Hopper fun is not always confined to streams either, as many lakes will provide some intense hopper action especially the likes of Eucumbene and Jindabyne. Both these lakes are nearing prime hopper levels at the moment, that is to say the waters edge is now flooding into grassy areas. Wait for a warm day, find a bank with an offshore breeze and fish your hopper along the line between the calm and the ruffled water. Trout can also be polaroided and cast to if you have a bank position with a view.
The following day in the early hours you can have some fun on the windward shore from the previous day where trout will often cruise looking to mop up the poor unfortunate hoppers who were unable to make the channel crossing and drowned enroute.
TYING INSTRUCTIONS and MATERIALS
|HOOK:||Kamasan B401 #10 or similar|
|THREAD:||Ultra thread Burnt orange 6/-|
|BODY:||Hopper body (med) by Wapsi|
|WING:||Golden pheasant tips under River Wing sheet material white speckled|
|LEGS:||2mm foam cut using the appropriate foam cutters|