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How to Catch Big Trout: Use These 8 Proven Hopper and Cricket Patterns

You can put the trico and midge boxes away now. For the rest of summer, the dry-fly action is big, violent, and explosive. Stick to the grasshopper and cricket patterns here and follow these tactics, and you might just catch your biggest trout of the year.

1. Dave’s Hopper (sizes 8–12; tan, -olive, and yellow) is the most ver-satile of all hopper imitations. It can be fished dry or wet.

2. Foam bugs like the Big Eye Hopper (sizes 6–10; tan, olive, and yellow) have a strong outline and ride high. They are ideal for float trips.

3. Schroeder’s Parachute (sizes 10–12; olive and tan) has a realistic, low-riding body and a parachute for visibility in broken water.

4. Ed Shenk of Pennsylvania invented the Letort Hopper (sizes 8–12; yellow) years ago, and it remains a great smooth-water pattern.

5. The Letort Cricket (sizes 6–16; black) is another Shenk brainchild. Base the fly size on the crickets hopping beside your driveway.

6. Use foam crickets like the JD Kicker Cricket (size 12; black) as a high-floating surface pattern with more built-in action.

7. Originally styled to mimic a sculpin, the Muddler Minnow (sizes 6–14) makes a great sunken hopper pattern.

8. Clip the tail and the abdomen hackle to turn a Woolly Bugger (sizes 6–10; black) into a drowned cricket. 

 

From the August 2012 issue of Field & Stream magazine.

Joel Sartore/National Geographic Stock (Grasshopper)

 

Comments (8)

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from Sayfu wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

All sounds good but for the first one. And I have addressed that this season. Early hoppers, hoppers in late July, are SMALLER hoppers in general. Fishing a 2xl long shank #12, and even a #14 are much more realistic looking. Lots af anglers will be pounding the banks with those oversized hoppers...fish smaller for more success. Depends on your river, but the bright yellow bodied commercial hoppers you see often do not get it. The cream bodied, tan bodied hoppers will fish much better. I have a great, easy to tie hopper pattern that is as good as it gets. No need to make it complicated.

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from tkbone wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

Cricket patterns are way underfished because they're harder to see and thus not as fun as the bright colored hopper patterns. I also prefer the patterns with rubber legs because the built-in action is way better - crickets make all kinds of ruckus when they hit the water.

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from idahoelkandflyguy wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

Sayfu, would you be willing to share the pattern?

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from Sayfu wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

Sure...I use a 2x long Mustad dryfly hook, the 94831 hook. The new Mustad Signature hooks are outstanding hooks, and they cost much less than the Japnese hooks. But a similar hook none the less. I use the red hackle fibers for the tail. Lately I've been big on the synthetic three strand macrome' yarn. It comes in good, buggy, pastel colors, light yellow almost cream colored, an amber, drab green. I'd like to have a brown, and I was going to the craft shop today to see if they had it in brown. It comes in a skein, and you can easily separate it, and use the thickness that you want. I've been using it in place of dubbing because you can wrap it tighter, and keep more water out making it float better. I use a strand of the light amber I call it, or the pale yellow (I don't like the real yellow bodied hoppers.) I tie it in, and also an amber, or whatever big old hackle you have that isn't dark at the back by the tip so I don't have to work with the longer hackles....wrap the strand up to the 2/3 point. Give yourself a decent distance to work with at the front. Secure it off, and now the big hackle up through the body. Now trim off all the hackle leaving short stubs no longer than the hook gap. Now a rectangular piece of the thin, tan foam (1/8" foam I believe it is) Don't cut it too wide, maybe 3/8" wide? 1/2"? Hopper looking width anyway, and have enough length to extend just back behind the hook, maybe to the end of the not long red tail hackle..not to far back, or you miss takes. And have about a 1/2" extend beyond the hook eye. I use yellow thread, or cream thread if you have it, and I like the flat 140 deneir thread made by UNI that you can wrap down on foam without cutting through it. Hold the foam over the hook with the thread behind the eye, and wrap it down, adjusting, wrapping back to where the body ended. Now I use CRAZY GLUE on the theads. Crazy Glue has the small brush that applies the glue easily, The bottle doesn't clog, and I can get the stuff in WalMart, and is cheaper than the flyshop stuff. There isn't enough tie down area to keep the foam from twisting with just wraps, but Crazy glue does the trick. Now that it is wrapped down good I dub over those wraps, and you can use a 1 1/2 " of that yarn, and dub it on the thread. Once the end of the yarn starts to get wrapped. you can grap the end of it, and the thread, and dub it as one piece securing that fairly tight if you want to. End up with the thread at the end of the body/trimmed hackle, and how bring over the front flap of foam, and tie it down at the end of the body forming the bigger head. I then add rubber legs, and not the fat rubber, but the medium diameter rubber that better suits that sized hopper, or use that flex floss that is great. I don't leave much of a length forward maybe a 1/2" to 3/4" of an inch, and then longer legs back and out to the side. It is easy to tie them in at the foam tie down point. You can lay them in on top, tie them down, and then adjust them to the side of the head securing them better when in place. I put a drop of head cement where they are anchored down at the sides.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

This design makes for as easy a hopper as I have ever tied. It floats well in the water, and floats low in the water. In the smaller hook sizes you can use the same design for a beatle pattern using black, and black dubbing. I use a deer hair wing over the black body, and then the rubber legs that works very well. Trim off the foam leaving a flap to hold the wing down in place. If you want to see it better you an cut a small, thin piece of hi-vis foam, and secure it in the middle "V" ing it up as a sight indicator if you want. I see now I forgot to include the deer hair wing over the foam body. on the hopper The foam body gets trimmed in back to appear "v" trimmed, or not quite "v" trimmed. The deer hair extends back slightly over the foam. And you can feel free to dub rather than wrap the yarn wrap like I have been doing lately. Tight lines.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

Idaho...Did you get it I hope..takes a lot of print to lead a person through how to tie a pattern. Were you familiar with that technique of tying foam in? Where you from in Ideeeeho?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

Idah-holligan...where's you at?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from tuna0410 wrote 1 year 16 weeks ago

The big eye hopper is a great pattern... Have caught a lot of fish with that one... Also you can tie a Chernobyl Ant in darker colors to imitate a cricket. Had a lot of luck doing that. And by the way I always by my foam from craft stores. You can sheets in crazy colors and any size you want. Plus they are much cheaper I just purchased some 2mm 8 1/2x11 sheets for like 40 cents a sheet.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from Sayfu wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

All sounds good but for the first one. And I have addressed that this season. Early hoppers, hoppers in late July, are SMALLER hoppers in general. Fishing a 2xl long shank #12, and even a #14 are much more realistic looking. Lots af anglers will be pounding the banks with those oversized hoppers...fish smaller for more success. Depends on your river, but the bright yellow bodied commercial hoppers you see often do not get it. The cream bodied, tan bodied hoppers will fish much better. I have a great, easy to tie hopper pattern that is as good as it gets. No need to make it complicated.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from tkbone wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

Cricket patterns are way underfished because they're harder to see and thus not as fun as the bright colored hopper patterns. I also prefer the patterns with rubber legs because the built-in action is way better - crickets make all kinds of ruckus when they hit the water.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from idahoelkandflyguy wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

Sayfu, would you be willing to share the pattern?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

Sure...I use a 2x long Mustad dryfly hook, the 94831 hook. The new Mustad Signature hooks are outstanding hooks, and they cost much less than the Japnese hooks. But a similar hook none the less. I use the red hackle fibers for the tail. Lately I've been big on the synthetic three strand macrome' yarn. It comes in good, buggy, pastel colors, light yellow almost cream colored, an amber, drab green. I'd like to have a brown, and I was going to the craft shop today to see if they had it in brown. It comes in a skein, and you can easily separate it, and use the thickness that you want. I've been using it in place of dubbing because you can wrap it tighter, and keep more water out making it float better. I use a strand of the light amber I call it, or the pale yellow (I don't like the real yellow bodied hoppers.) I tie it in, and also an amber, or whatever big old hackle you have that isn't dark at the back by the tip so I don't have to work with the longer hackles....wrap the strand up to the 2/3 point. Give yourself a decent distance to work with at the front. Secure it off, and now the big hackle up through the body. Now trim off all the hackle leaving short stubs no longer than the hook gap. Now a rectangular piece of the thin, tan foam (1/8" foam I believe it is) Don't cut it too wide, maybe 3/8" wide? 1/2"? Hopper looking width anyway, and have enough length to extend just back behind the hook, maybe to the end of the not long red tail hackle..not to far back, or you miss takes. And have about a 1/2" extend beyond the hook eye. I use yellow thread, or cream thread if you have it, and I like the flat 140 deneir thread made by UNI that you can wrap down on foam without cutting through it. Hold the foam over the hook with the thread behind the eye, and wrap it down, adjusting, wrapping back to where the body ended. Now I use CRAZY GLUE on the theads. Crazy Glue has the small brush that applies the glue easily, The bottle doesn't clog, and I can get the stuff in WalMart, and is cheaper than the flyshop stuff. There isn't enough tie down area to keep the foam from twisting with just wraps, but Crazy glue does the trick. Now that it is wrapped down good I dub over those wraps, and you can use a 1 1/2 " of that yarn, and dub it on the thread. Once the end of the yarn starts to get wrapped. you can grap the end of it, and the thread, and dub it as one piece securing that fairly tight if you want to. End up with the thread at the end of the body/trimmed hackle, and how bring over the front flap of foam, and tie it down at the end of the body forming the bigger head. I then add rubber legs, and not the fat rubber, but the medium diameter rubber that better suits that sized hopper, or use that flex floss that is great. I don't leave much of a length forward maybe a 1/2" to 3/4" of an inch, and then longer legs back and out to the side. It is easy to tie them in at the foam tie down point. You can lay them in on top, tie them down, and then adjust them to the side of the head securing them better when in place. I put a drop of head cement where they are anchored down at the sides.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

This design makes for as easy a hopper as I have ever tied. It floats well in the water, and floats low in the water. In the smaller hook sizes you can use the same design for a beatle pattern using black, and black dubbing. I use a deer hair wing over the black body, and then the rubber legs that works very well. Trim off the foam leaving a flap to hold the wing down in place. If you want to see it better you an cut a small, thin piece of hi-vis foam, and secure it in the middle "V" ing it up as a sight indicator if you want. I see now I forgot to include the deer hair wing over the foam body. on the hopper The foam body gets trimmed in back to appear "v" trimmed, or not quite "v" trimmed. The deer hair extends back slightly over the foam. And you can feel free to dub rather than wrap the yarn wrap like I have been doing lately. Tight lines.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

Idaho...Did you get it I hope..takes a lot of print to lead a person through how to tie a pattern. Were you familiar with that technique of tying foam in? Where you from in Ideeeeho?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

Idah-holligan...where's you at?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from tuna0410 wrote 1 year 16 weeks ago

The big eye hopper is a great pattern... Have caught a lot of fish with that one... Also you can tie a Chernobyl Ant in darker colors to imitate a cricket. Had a lot of luck doing that. And by the way I always by my foam from craft stores. You can sheets in crazy colors and any size you want. Plus they are much cheaper I just purchased some 2mm 8 1/2x11 sheets for like 40 cents a sheet.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

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