On the Fly: Hoppers and droppers are the ticket | PostIndependent.com
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On the Fly: Hoppers and droppers are the ticket

Justin Moore
On the Fly
Guide Christian Hill and client Kurt Hall with a nice Roaring Fork River brown trout.
Tony Derosier/courtesy photo

Nearly every insect is hatching from green drakes to PMDs, BWOs, midges, caddis and craneflies on local rivers, especially the Fryingpan River.

Along with the plethora of aquatic insects, local rivers have plentiful terrestrial grasshoppers around and are settling in to prime flows. Riffles that have been hidden are now starting to reappear and fill up with feeding fish. Areas that were not crossable have now opened, allowing you to hit every pocket to your heart’s delight. One of our favorite techniques is the classic hopper-dropper rig.

Fishing in this style is extremely productive for fishing shallow riffles. Recently, many of us have been fishing hoppers as our top fly, and seeing great success on the Roaring Fork, Colorado, Crystal and lower Fryingpan. Even though our hopper population is not as prevalent as other areas in the west, fish sure have been looking up and wanting a taste.



Most grasshopper patterns are tied using thick and buoyant foam augmented with polypropylene fibers, which keeps the fly riding high.

Chubby Chernobyls are excellent hopper patterns that float well, and can be easily seen. Another reason we enjoy fishing big hoppers (besides seeing such a large fly get eaten) is that they support heavier nymphs below without dragging your hopper under.



Jigged style flies, golden stonefly nymphs and Perdigons make excellent droppers. Not only are they heavily weighted to get down quick, but also ride hook up allowing it to bounce along the bottom with less snags. Fast and shallow riffles are often overlooked by many anglers, but this is where hopper-dropper rigs shine.

Make sure to dress your flies with floatant so they ride high in the swift water. Liquid-style floatants such as Shimazaki™ and Fly-agra™ are great for big, bushy flies.

The next time you hit the river, put that bobber away and tie on a terrestrial treat — and have some fun!

This report is provided every week by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374 or TaylorCreek.com.

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