On a road trip to host some good friends and fish in Idaho, local Shasta Trout owner and fly fishing guide Craig Nielsen stopped to fish the Owyhee River in Oregon, on the recommendation of great local guides Fred Gordon and Alan Blankenship who spend time on the river every season. It is a desert tailwater known for big Brown Trout. Craig arrived late in the day as the sun set over the canyon rim to find most of the standard runs filled with anglers casting small and tiny flies on slick water to sipping trout. The reports were that the fishing had been difficult and few anglers had any sizable fish to report.
Fortunately for Craig, Fred had just returned from a trip to the Owyhee and recommended Craig try fishing a hopper dropper combination tight to the bank through a fast water section. The first fish to hand was a nice one, about a 15-17″ Brown caught midstream as Craig was working towards the far bank. After finding a dink just upstream, Craig arrived at the far bank and promptly hooked and landed a couple of Browns, each about two feet long on the hopper, fish worthy of entry into Shasta Trout’s “Hawg of Fame!” The following morning Craig repeated the performance on a similar piece of water with the same fly, a new one to us, but designed by a longtime friend, Ken Morrish, owner of Fly Water Travel! Morrish’s Hopper is easily the best hopper imitation we have yet to discover and recommend you find a place in your box for a few!