Hopper Time on the Crowsnest
Paul Prentiss


When Bob Bush and I arrived on the Crowsnest River in Alberta in early August it was prime time for hoppers. Hopper imitations were the one flies that could elicit a savage strike throughout the daytime hours. Yellow was the number one color even though many of the insects were a brownish green. A lemon-colored or a cream/off-white abdomen may also have worked. Since my fishing partner had tied 6-dozen yellow bodied imitations I never changed. I might point out that he only provided used versions when I begged for a replacement!

Hopper patterns can generally be fished just as you would any other dry fly, and a fair share of the trout will take it. However, there are other occasions when the trout want to see some action. That was the case on the Crowsnest. As a simple test I fished one 50 yard section twice casting to each spot where you would expect Rainbows to be holding. The results with no action = 1 fish and those with action = 6 fish. More often than not no action presentations would result in a last minute refusal.

Whether fishing the pools, runs, riffles or rapids, put the fly as close as you can to any structure or overhanging grass against the bank. A foot away isn't close enough - the hopper must be on target to stand the best chance of getting a take. Moreover, keep your eye peeled for solitary rises. Regardless of what the trout may have taken, offer him a shot at the hopper.

I ended up using my new 6-weight Boron-X Winston 9-foot rod with a 12-foot leader and floating weight forward line because it could easily deliver the size 8 and 10 patterns to the opposite bank.

If you're interested in this kind of fishing be aware we are currently booking three trips in prime time for a maximum of 6 anglers - click here for more information.