Monday, August 18, 2008

On the Hopper - Update

Photos have been added below.

I haven't always been one to fish hoppers. If you read enough fly fishing books (and I certainly have) you'll become convinced that beetles and ants will outfish hoppers 3 to 1. And while that may be true, there is something about a big brown coming up from a bathtub behind a boulder to inhale a hopper in (what seems like) slow motion that cannot be quantified by something like the number of fish caught in a day or an hour or a even a weekend.

This last weekend was such a weekend. My father, brother and I camped on the Madison and pitched hopppers every afternoon. The hopper fishing was best on Thursday, when the wind blew a gale up and across the river. If I hadn't been fishing from the north bank I wouldn't have been able to cast 10 feet. As it was the wind picked up the leader, fly and line and dropped it out in front of me with little effort other than trying to guide the landing into a likely holding area. And while Thursday was the best fishing, Friday brought the best fish: a 20-inch brown from a side channel that never got more than knee deep. My brother caught the behemoth on a hopper drifted just inches from a grassy bank. For my part, well I managed to net the thing without knocking it off the line.

In the evenings we fished caddis and mayfly spinners to rising trout in the dying daylight and the muted glare of a full moon. Needless to say, it was tough to report to work this morning after a weekend like that.

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