I fish a lot. Not as much some, but more than most, and while I love a good tale about the salmonfly hatch on the Henry's Fork or the Hex hatch up in Michigan, nothing quite gets me going like 'hopper season.
Say what you will about the blue-winged olives of the fall or the sqwalas of the Bitterroot every spring. I'm listening. And I'm interested. But come August in the Rockies, I've got one bug on my brain. It's big. It's a little clumsy. It likes the Dog Days, and when a fat hopper hits the water, there's nothing subtle about it.
Come to think about it, hoppers and I ... we have some things in common.
There are dozens of hopper patterns out there for the choosing, and this time of year, most of them will work on western waters. Classic grasshopper patterns like Joe's Hopper and Dave's Hopper have worked for years, but the inclusion of more synthetic tying materials--like foam, rubber legs and sparkle--have spawned a generation of hopper and terrestrial patterns with names like Chernobyl, Creatine and Hi-and-Dri. Trout don't seem to mind the newfangled patterns that float by sporting the wigglies and the flashies that come with today's more popular materials. In fact, in certain situations, it appears that these "new" terrestrial patterns are even better than their forefathers.
And, here's the kicker. Tying a really great foam hopper is simple. It's easier than just about any dry fly pattern out there, as illustrated by Matt Thomas, who manages to create a very attractive foam hopper in under three minutes (with a little help from video magic). Take a look at this video, and if you find the time, tie a few up and hit the water before that first freeze of fall gets the trout tuned into the those size 20 BWOs again.
And you're on your own for tying advice for those little suckers.