Having Hopper Thoughts

What goes better with late summer/early fall fishing in Colorado than the grasshopper? Yeah, you’re right, streamer fishing is right there too. But that’ll be in next month’s newsletter.

Without a doubt, grasshoppers are a primary food source for trout once the summer hatches have waned. Some might argue that grasshoppers are the primary food source. Regardless of their ranking, you’ll be missing out if you don’t try fishing a hopper pattern or two from now until there is a hard freeze.


Here are a few thoughts and generalizations about hopper patterns when you are fishing in Colorado.  There isn’t a magic hopper pattern but hopper imitations that sit lower in the water tend to out fish the “high riders.”  Hopper patterns that incorporate rubber legs work better than patterns without rubber legs. The smaller hopper patterns (#12-#16) tend to get more hook-ups than the larger hoppers (size 10 and smaller).  The Colorado summer is short and many of our hoppers don’t get the time to grow much larger than 1 1/2 inches. Obviously, you can catch a huge trout on a # 6 hopper pattern and a #6 hopper will entice many fish to take a swipe. I’m talking about getting more fish hooked up. And it’s just one guide’s opinion anyway.

The color of your hopper imitation can be important. There are so many choices these days, but it seems like tan, pale yellow, gold, and pale green are among the best choices. But we have been having success for a couple of years now with purple, black and red hoppers.  Bring a good selection of colors (and sizes) on your next trip. It shouldn’t take long to find out which hopper the fish wants.


The answer is, I’m happy to say, almost anywhere! Places you will find trout willing to eat a grasshopper: on an undercut bank, on a bank with enough water to provide shelter from predators, in a fast, shallow riffle, in a fast seam, in a slow seam, on an underwater ledge,  in the middle of the river. I could go on, but you get the idea. Probably the one place I wouldn’t throw a hopper in search of a topwater eat is in clear, shallow bank water that I can actually see isn’t holding a fish.

So grab your hopper box, throw in a couple of bead head nymphs to fish under your hopper, a couple of other dries appropriate for the season (Caddis, Parachute Adams) and, oh yeah, a streamer or two. It’s that time again on our Colorado Rivers

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