Ants, crickets round out menu
The dog days of summer in Arkansas can be dastardly hot. Fly fishing in the Ozarks during this time can be hot as the weather.
The tailwaters of Beaver, Bull Shoals, Norfork and Greer’s Ferry lakes, as well as the Spring River, are usually 50 to 60 degrees. That’s bonus wading when the air temperature hits the high 90s. As summer progresses, grasshoppers get bigger, fatter and juicer. Many that live in the riparian edges of a river find they have landed in that cold water where the trout lie and wait.
That’s where more astute fly fishers will be as well.
Grasshopper fishing is a time-tested angler tradition.
Although the term “terrestrials” is technically correct, practically any fly angler knows the term ’hopper.
Grasshopper-patterned flies are most effective where the river bank is edged by tall grass, bushes and overhanging trees, where the crickets miss their mark and inadvertently land in the water. The trout take full advantage of the terrestrial’s mishap.
Novice anglers can quickly master ’hopper fishing. They can throw away some of what was taught during those casting lessons. The presentation technique should replicate the “splat” with which a katydid might hit the water. Even the crudest of presentations will be effective. The “splattier,” the better.
These critters also are likely to land close to the bank.
Once the bug crash lands on the water, twitch it along the surface, creating a miniature wake. Twitch, pause, twitch, twitch, pause. Keeping the twitches short but pronounced. A ’hopper isn’t able to move four inches with one leg kick.
Fish usually assault these bugs with an explosion. Newer fly fishers have the tendency to set the hook as soon as the fish strikes. This can pull the fly away from the fish.
Grasshopper fishing is also effective for smallmouth bass. When the waters of Ozark streams warm and get lower, the fish tend to hold in the deeper holes. Here, the best chances involve fishing the surface of the deeper holes where the bass tend to be.