Fishing The Hopper Dropper Rig

hopper dropper

Modern day fly fishing has evolved quite a lot and the use of the hopper dropper rig to catch trout has proven to be one of the most successful fishing techniques. It is used with increasing regularity, this particular technique was developed on western rivers where there are still abundant hatches in late summer.

It is generally one of the best techniques for getting trout into the net. The key goal of using the hopper dropper rig is to catch fish and using this rig will ensure that you are able to fish using both nymph fishing and dry fly techniques.

All of us dream of catching a big trout during the summer months on terrestrials, but the reality is the take can be few and far between. Often times, most of the fish are not actively feeding on the surface. Therefore, the best technique to guarantee fly fishing success is using the hopper dropper rig.

This rig can be very productive as the fly fisher can target two precise feeding zones with two different flies. Fish this setup along flats, current seams or tight to undercut banks. What it does is it maximizes the chances of your catch by employing both a nymph fished lower in the water column and the dry fly hopper fished on the water’s surface.

Rigging the Hopper Dropper for Fly Fishing

You will have to use a hopper that is made from thick foam in order to ensure that it has got the capacity to hold the weight of the nymph. It is considered best to use the most buoyant and thickest foam that you have in order to tie the flies. This will allow the nymph to float effortlessly.

We usually fish 7.5 foot 2X power taper leaders matched with 4X or 5X tippet. 18”-30” inches of fluorocarbon tippet between the hopper and the nymph is the norm, depending on river conditions.

Detecting the Strike

When fishing, watch the hopper closely. A take to the nymph can be subtle. Sometimes, the hopper seems to dart up current a bit or move unnaturally to the side. Sometimes, it will even stop; often these are indications that a trout has taken the submerged nymph. Sometimes, the fish will even move up in the water column to get a closer look at the fly. It is considered good practice to always keep your eyes on the lookout for flashing under the water’s surface. Flashing is a sure sign that a fish is near your rig.


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