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It seems like ranchers and farmers in the West can’t get a break. From drought, to hail, to floods, and fires, they’re always dealing with some natural disaster. In 2010, the impending plague involves grasshoppers. In fact, the United States Department of Agriculture predicts that certain states like Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming will see the largest infestation of grasshoppers in 25 years or more. Only an unusually damp and cool late spring might stem the impending problem. And that doesn’t appear to be happening. Unfortunately, the hoppers could negatively impact cattle grazing, as well as crop production, in a way [we all eventually pay for]( SB10001424052702304434404575150060526201230.html).

Leave it to fly fishers, however, to find a silver lining in all of this.


I’m not a grasshopper entomologist, but I think I can safely assume that the swarming insects will flutter en masse into rivers like the Bighorn, the Yellowstone, and The Snake. In other words, the trout don’t know it yet, but a veritable smorgasbord of protein is about to rain from the sky. In fact, we’re already seeing hoppers popping along some Colorado rivers right now, months earlier than normal.

There is nothing I like better than watching the slow, deliberate rise of a trout eating a grasshopper fly. If that’s something that floats your boat too, and you were thinking about a western fishing jaunt, I’d encourage you to plan for July and August 2010. It’s going to go off, maybe in epic proportions. And many a western community would appreciate the visit.