Chubby Chernobyl morning mist and the White River _ all images Steve Dally

A SOGGY HOPPER is no good to man or beast: hard to see, hard to float and seemingly less tasty to trout.

Keeping your hopper in good shape and riding clean is part and parcel of the hopper game. We don’t mind you walking out with extra hoppers to cover sinkage but the more time you can spend with your hoppers in the right place means more brown trout. Good technique helps you not only keep your fly floating longer but fishing better.

So here is our guide to what you need, and how you fish, to keep your hoppers dry.

Shortcut to our Hopper Madness selection here.

When it all comes good Dale House


Summer pop-up storms, and even the late day mists can dampen your flies anbd out you behind the game. So grabbing a solid waterproof box like the FISHPOND TACKY PESCADOR FLY BOX. Plenty of room here for an assortment of ants, beetles, cicadas, and hoppers. Add the flip page as you need more capacity

Once tied onto your leader setup (usually a 2x or 3x leader) its time to waterproof your fly with floatant. A silicone floatant like Loon’s Aquel or Gink or the liquid Loon Fly Dip are solid choices for bigger patterns. Dry Magic is another of our favorites.

Pick up a jar of Shimazaki Dry Shake Fly Floatant while you are at it. Dunk your fly in the shake and bake after every fish, or if it starts looking soggy, to rejuvenate and get it back on the surface.

Apply floatant sparingly to wing and natural materials


It sounds silly, given you are chasing fish in the water. But there is a big difference between on top of the water and in the water.

Pulling your flies under the water is going to shorten it’s useable life. Mends, dragging the fly around obstacles, and bad fly positioning can all contribute to shorten the floating life. Save your fly by lifting it in the boat when moving from spot to spot, even short distances.

If you have to pull a fly around an obstacle on the bank, raise the rod tip and skate the fly on the surface, not a hard low pull through the water. Simpler yet cast the fly back behind you into the safe spaces in the middle of the river. Think on top of the water not in the water. Minimize your mends


A steep downstream cast, tight to the inside of the current closest to the bank, is the first step to minimize your mends.

The cast should finish with the fly our ahead of the fly line, but still angled into the bank, to pick up that closest current seam. A dry fly wiggle casts, which leaves some slack in small “S-curves” is even better.

This type of cast will prevent your leader, fly line, boat and 6′ (give or take) of fly fishing from spooking a rising brown, and prep you for the drift ahead.

Hopper Time Charlie Case


You will hear this plenty. Mend early to help your nice cast ahead stay ahead, with adjustments of the line. None of those big hard mends all the way to the bobber which is standard practice when are nymphing. Remember the name of the game is to keep the fly on top of the water.

Depending on the current/angle of the line setup its often a smart play to shift line from the main current close to the boat out into slower current closer to the bank _ remember you are only trying to move maybe half the line, and as soon after the cast as you can manage.

Don’t drift too long, pick up and reposition the fly back so its tight and drifting at current speed. Often we see anglers trying to fish a cast too long (nymphing hangovers again). Remember fly casting is easiest performed when in front of you, with back cast and forward casts at 180 degrees.

Trying to pick up a cast at 70 or 90 plus degrees to your position is making the whole task a lot harder (for rower and caster). These type of casts put more flies in trees than any other, with flies travelling out to the side of the cast or kicking at the end. Flies will still end up in trees, but way less if you do it the easy way


Everyone says it but we will mention it again. If you think you waiting long enough and missed a brown trout _ well the answer is wait longer. Quickish hooksets might work on the rare aggressive eats but more often than not wait long enough, then a little more.

And now you are allowed to let the fly go down deep, and set, hopefully on a quality White River brown try on fly.

Last view