Trout Fishing With Poppers

Popper Fly

Popper Image by: Curtis Fry

A Fairly Well Kept Secret: Hooking Trout on Bass and Bluegill Poppers-

We all know what poppers are, but many have never attempted to use them for trout. When you think of fly fishing for bass, large poppers are likely the first fly that pops in your head (no pun intended); but for trout? Yep, and they work almost too well! I have managed to keep this a secret long enough, now I have decided to share this little morsel of information that will have the trout in your local rivers shuddering with fear.

How can I put the fear of god into trout using these “poppers”?

You will need a couple different sizes for starters. I usually carry a few smaller panfished sized varieties, along with some larger bass sized versions in case the trout are feeling frisky. Typically I will start with a smaller version to test the waters and gauge the trout’s reactions. I will cast them up close to the bank and do very short pops, speeding up and slowing down to find out what the fish prefer. Once you have figured out the speed and cadence that the fish want, you can up size to the larger variety to potentially increase the overall size of the fish. However often times the trout will not eat the big ones during the daylight hours, so you will have to wait until dark to bring out the “big flies”.

“Poppin” After the Sun Goes Down

It’s no secret that big trout strap on the feedbag after the sunset, but these poppers truly might have you and your buddies laughing like a bunch of schoolgirls! These trout most likely think the poppers are injured baitfish, frogs, mice or large stoneflies. Often times, the key to hooking big fish is to make some noise with your flies. However it can vary from day to day, so you should try toning down the popping noise if you aren’t hooking fish. Treat these poppers the same way you would during a night time mousing trip and you should do good. After all these flies look just like mouse patterns from below the water, they just make a little more noise.

Pop it Like it’s Hot – All Day Long! (Fishing the Poppers during daylight hours)

Red Popper flyDuring a hot and sunny summer day there are often times very few insects on the water. I can think of 2 very overlooked insects that trout will literally fight over; the damselfly and dragonfly! I have seen more huge trout jumping clear out of the water to eat these than I can count. It just so happens that poppers mimic these insects very well. I have had pretty good success dead drifting damselfly patterns, but when you add in the popping noise and erratic action of the popper, it can be too much for any trout to resist. A bright blue popper on a sunny day while bright blue dragonflies are flying all over? (in my best gangster voice) Fuuget about it…

These flies do a great job a mimicking hoppers, dying small fish and even little frogs and tadpoles.  Next time you are hard up for trout in the heat of the summer, dig into your warm water flybox and put on a show.


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