Yamaha Outdoor Tips — Five Patterns for Summer Fly-Fishing

Want a great pattern for summertime bass and panfish?  Try the popping bug. (Steve Hickoff photo)

Want a great pattern for summertime bass and panfish? Try the popping bug. (Steve Hickoff photo)

By Steve Hickoff

It’s satisfying to catch fish with a pattern you’ve tied. It’s even better after riding your Yamaha ATV or SxS to your favorite fishing water. Carry these five in your fly box.


Cross a big nymph with a streamer—this is the result. More specifically, this big fly—often tied on a 6-10 size hook—imitates many a prey species, from a stonefly nymph to a crayfish, leech, even a small baitfish. Versatility rules: you can fish it on either sinking or floating line as the water depth and speed dictates. Olive, brown and black are popular colors.


Popping bugs—a.k.a. “poppers”—have a dished-out froglike face. Twitch your rod tip or jerk your line a little on a still summer pond, and an audible plop or pop can be heard. As top-water options, poppers can be fished slow or fast. Cast it. Let the ripples fade. Twitch the popper. Even make it dive a bit. Watch for the wake of a bluegill or bass moving out from a lily pad. They seem to inspect a popper first, then strike.


Can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, the saying goes. It’s no secret adult mosquitos inhabit places we fish. As a dry-fly pattern imitating this pest, cast it upstream above rising fish. Allow drift without drag. Get ready for action. Use a floating line with a tapering leader to add realism. Sizes range from 12-20. While this imitative pattern represents a mosquito, it also can appear to be a mayfly. The visual upside: it’s fairly easy to see this surface-floating dry fly and as a fish rises to strike.


As with popping bugs, hoppers can be fished with a kick-and-swim retrieving movement. They imitate grasshoppers. The water surface plop draws strikes. Hoppers are tied in widely varying styles. Where stream banks are grassy and overgrown in summer, this live terrestrial will accidentally fall in the water. Trout often strike the imitation of this real insect with a fury, as do pond bass and bluegills.


Yep, you could dig them, but then you’d be bait fishing (equally effective, of course). This worm imitation might push the envelope of “fly-tying” sensibility, sure. Tie it pink, red, tan, olive, or whatever other color suits you. There are times when fish—trout and bass alike—will take them. Use this option when you’re searching for fish in a sub-surface setting.