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)