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Terrestrials / Hoppers

Hopper and other Terrestrial Fly Patterns

Although the ‘hopper’ (grasshopper) pattern is rightly considered a classic late Summer dry fly by many anglers, it is often forgotten that other land-based or ‘terrestrial’ insects like crickets, cicadas, beetles, ants, spiders, bees and caterpillars make up a significant – even dominant – part of the diet of many river trout whilst aquatic insects are still in season, let alone at other times of the year.

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More about Hoppers & Terrestrial Flies

There are two very good reasons to keep at least some Hopper dry flies, if not one or two other terrestrial patterns, in your fly box. First, many smaller or warmer waterways do not support large populations of aquatic larvae. Second, even if you are fishing a body of water with significant seasonal hatches, land-based insects such as grasshoppers, crickets and beetles can still form the bulk of trout diet from May through to November, because they present the opportunity of a bigger meal instead of a mere bite to eat.

There are many reasons that land-dwelling insects end up in creeks, streams, rivers and lakes. Although beetles and some ants can fly, they are often very clumsy. Other insects can fall from bushes or trees, be blown into the water by the wind, or be washed in by the rain.

How to fish Hopper / Terrestrial Patterns

While beetles or flying ants can end up mid-stream, grasshoppers, crickets and cicadas are more likely to end up in the water close to the bank. Think about how this particular insect would come to be in the water. And don’t expect to see signs of trout feeding: remember, grasshoppers, beetles and the like present a more random (albeit fairly common) opportunity for a meal. One winning technique on a warm but breezy day is to find a stretch of water with overhanging vegetation, cast your fly so as to make a slightly more distinct ‘plop’, then gently tweak to mimic the struggle of a drowning insect.

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