It’s August and the middle of hopper season and I thought I’d share my terrestrial fly box. While walking to the van today to get some flies, I saw this hopper on the driveway. I think it was a sign from the fish gods!

Grasshopper |

For me, August is a month where I experience a lull in insect hatches. Sure, you might find Caddis hatching in the evening, but many of the Mayflies take a break. It might have something to do with the hot days, but I’m not a scientist. You might need to adjust your fishing time for earlier or later in the day. If you arrive at the river mid-day, you’ll swear there are no fish in the river! Have you ever heard the term “dog days of summer”?

I’m not suggesting you won’t catch fish, it’s just more difficult. At least that’s my experience.

Just to reinforce the point, have you stopped at a fly shop while fishing new water to find out the latest report and hear ”you’re between hatches”?

Regardless, I have found terrestrials work well for me in August. It isn’t a hatch, but the fish seem to rise periodically and take advantage of easy prey floating down the river into their feeding lane.

We used to fish the Madison River in August and found great success with ant fly patterns. Now we arrive in early July to fish the Caddis hatch. Towards the end of our time on the river when fewer Caddis were visible, I started using an ant and the fish ate it.

Here is a terrestrial fly box with several flies I’ve had success with.

Terrestrial Fly Box |

I’ll begin with a couple old school grasshopper fly patterns I carry.

And some favorite foam hopper fly patterns.

I like to fish Schroeder’s Parachute Hopper or a Morrish Hopper. But the Thunder Thighs Hopper is a close second since I learned about them and tied some for a customer.

When hoppers aren’t around or don’t seem to work, an ant fly pattern is an excellent option, especially when blind-casting on your favorite river.

I’ve been using Arrick’s Parachute Ant with great success, but the other two fly patterns work as well.

Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn’t include these…

Beetle Bailey is my take of the Hippie Stomper and for some reason, the Chernobyl Ant just works.

If you tie flies, here are a couple links to my RiverKeeper Flies YouTube channel:

What’s your favorite terrestrial fly patterns?

Enjoy…go fish!

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  1. Great reminder, thanks! I didn’t think about a terrestrial the other day when there was no action on the typical caddis or mayflys, not even on a dropper. I’m going to try tying one of those ant patterns you posted up there.

    Thanks! hope youre feeling better after catching that bug going around…!

  2. Have you tried a sunken ant with any success? Tied with a black bead of some kind for the fore body?
    Your post is timely because all of a sudden lately here in the southern Rockies I have had that exact same feeling, “Where did all the fish go?”
    I was having some luck with terrestrial dries as July hatches tapered off. Then in the first week of August, that bite dropped off seeming to coincide with the rocks along the banks were covered with exoskeleton shucks of large stonefly though none can seen flying around during the day. There is no discussion in local fly shops about the nocturnal short wing stonefly, Claassenia sabulosa. Have you encountered this phenomenon? I see some mention of it online mostly from Montana.

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