Hopper Time

Print Article

Remember good Ol’ Buffalo Bob asking us, “Hey Kids, what time is it?

Well, it’s obviously not Howdy Doody time any more, but it is late summer in the Flathead Valley and that means Hopper Time.

Seems like last week there wasn’t a single grasshopper in the pasture, then all of a sudden there’s brown hoppers all over the place.

My wife was wondering what those hoppers were gonna eat in the garden.

I was thinking it’s time to pull out the Joe’s Hoppers and drag one across the river.

It’s no secret late summer is a tough time to catch trout. In lakes, the fish are deeper to escape warm water that holds less oxygen than cooler water.

The cutties in the river have seen umpteen flies, floaties, rafts, kayaks, canoes, and inner tubes drifted over their heads in the past two months.

But hoppers offer anglers a renewed chance to catch trout.

In nature, finding the most food energy by expending the least body energy is a key to survival.

Trout that have been living on tiny larvae, pupae and small adult insects all summer go nuts seeing a huge, protein-rich, grasshopper float by.

Spin fishermen can hook a live hopper through the thorax and use a “casting bubble” for casting weight.

Most fly fishers already have their favorite hopper patterns. I’ve found color and legs are triggers. Foam patterns work but avoid realist-looking, rubber molded flies.

If floating the flies doesn’t produce fish, add a small split shot, then hold onto the rod with both hands!

Jerry Smalley’s Fishful Thinking column appears weekly in the Hungry Horse News.

Print Article

Read More Outdoors

Whitefish not so easy to catch, say local fishing experts

November 13, 2019 at 7:47 am | Lake County Leader Where are the whitefish? Each fall, many thousands of lake whitefish migrate up the Flathead River system from Flathead Lake on a spawning trek. Lake whitefish are broadcast spawners, meaning when ...


Read More

Book by former HHN employee chronicles North Fork adventures

November 13, 2019 at 7:39 am | Lake County Leader A former Hungry Horse News employee has recently released a book detailing her family’s adventures in the North Fork. The “Montana We Knew” tells the story of the adventures of Brooks, her husband T...


Read More

Lawsuit looms over train-caused grizzly deaths

November 06, 2019 at 7:14 am | Hungry Horse News Two environmental groups have filed a 60 day notice of intent to sue Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway and the Department of Interior, claiming that too many bears are being killed by trains, a vi...


Read More

Hunting opener slightly below average, FWP notes

October 30, 2019 at 8:15 am | Hungry Horse News Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks reported nearly 2,700 hunters and 240 harvested animals at its five check stations across Northwest Montana’s Region 1. The overall number of hunters and harveste...


Read More

Contact Us

(406) 892-2151
PO BOX 189, 926 Nucleus Avenue
Columbia Falls, MT 59912

©2019 Hungry Horse News Terms of Use Privacy Policy