Welcome to Panfish!

Part Two hundred-seventeen

Hopper Noon

By Richard Sieger, Iowa

Went out the lake Thursday and Friday over my lunch hour plus a little. Wind was bowing about 15 mph and the temperature was about 80 degrees. I also decided that it was to nice to stay inside.

When I got out to the lake I decided that I would have to cast with the wind. Was getting my stuff when a big truck drove by and scattered some grasshoppers. A few got caught in the wind and blown onto the little pond on one side of the road. They had no more landed then the fish hit them. Being a curious person I walked along the edge of the road a few feet and the same thing happened. Now I am not always the brightest of individuals but this did get my attention.

I went back to my truck and tied on a hopper imitation on each rod and went down the bank to the pond. Hoppers went ahead of me and hit the pond. Fish took them immediately. As soon as I cast and the hopper hit the water nothing happened. I let it set, I twitched it, I pulled it under water and let it pop back up. I did with both the patterns that I had tied on.

I decided that I was doing something wrong and need to set down and figure it out. The wind gusted and one lone hopper landed on the pond. Nothing happened to him until he was near the shore where the little gills began to nip at him. A car then stopped behind my pick up and two people got out. The hopper flew and I was smart enough to cast at the same time. Several hopper landed at about the same time my fly did. Every hopper on the pond was hit with gusto.

The fish that hit my fly hooked himself. I ended up with a 14" channel cat.

Some friends stopped and they asked my if they could have the cat for supper. I said yes but they had to help me with an experiment. They would walk the bank and scare the hoppers into flying. When the hoppers headed for the pond I would cast. Every time we did this I caught a fish.

I ended up catching 11 bluegills over 9" long, 4 bass ranging to about 16" long and two channel cat. It was great fun because they really hit the fly. They hit so hard that they were all hooked when they hit.

At this point we had scattered the hoppers so much that it was hard to get very many of them together. I decided to see what would happen if I cast out two flies at nearly the same time in nearly the same place. It is legal to use two lines here in Iowa. I caught several more bluegills doing this. The flies had to be within about three feet of each other and had to land at nearly the same time.

On Friday when I went out again the wind had shifted 180 degrees so I decided to fish the main lake.

I decided to try with just one pole. As I moved down the hoppers would fly off and I would cast.

I caught several gills and bass doing this as I moved back and forth above the riprap along the road as it goes beside the lake.

I had a Iowa Conservation Officer stop to see what I was doing. I asked him if he wanted to try and he said yes. I got the other rod for him and we moved slowly along the bank catching fish every 8 to 12 feet. After a couple of passes along the road there were not many hoppers left to scare into the water.

When we would cast near the same place we would catch fish with just the two hoppers hitting.

We had kept a few of the gills for him to eat. He opened them up so we could see what they had been eating. We found that almost everything we could identify was hopper. They seemed to be keying in on them.

I am going to try this again next week on my lunch hours.

Hope you get out on the water. ~ Rick

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