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ORVIS – Rigging and Fishing A Hopper And Streamer Dropper

The article titled “ORVIS – Rigging and Fishing A Hopper And Streamer Dropper” provides valuable insight into a unique fly fishing technique. The video, produced by The Orvis Company, delves into the unconventional method of using a dry/streamer combination to enhance your fishing experience. This rig allows for a high-floating dry fly to be used to fish a small streamer dead drift, and when the flies start to drag, the streamer can be given some action to cover more water. Dave Jensen walks you through the process of rigging up and fly fishing with this combination, offering helpful tips and techniques. Be sure to explore the other online learning resources provided by Orvis to further enhance your fly fishing skills.

Rigging and Fishing A Hopper And Streamer Dropper

ORVIS - Rigging and Fishing A Hopper And Streamer Dropper


When it comes to fly fishing, there are various techniques you can employ to increase your chances of success. One such technique is rigging a hopper and streamer dropper combination, where you fish a dry fly as your primary attractor and a streamer as a subsurface offering. This technique provides several advantages and offers a versatile approach for targeting different fish species in various water structures. In this article, we will explore the advantages of using a dry/streamer combination, discuss how to choose the right flies, explain the rigging process, and provide fishing techniques for different water structures.

Advantages of using a dry/streamer combination

Using a dry/streamer combination offers several advantages over traditional fishing methods. Firstly, it allows you to cover multiple feeding zones simultaneously. The dry fly serves as a visual attractor on the surface, while the streamer imitates a subsurface food source. By presenting two different flies, you increase your chances of enticing fish in both the surface and subsurface layers of the water column.

Secondly, this rigging technique provides an opportunity to experiment with different fly patterns and sizes. You can vary the types and sizes of both the dry fly and streamer to match the prevalent insects or baitfish in the water. This versatility increases your chances of fooling fish into taking the fly.

Lastly, rigging a hopper and streamer dropper can be effective in different water structures, from shoreline troughs to shallow tail outs and fast-water riffles. This adaptability allows you to adjust your strategy based on the specific conditions you encounter, providing a comprehensive approach to fishing.

Choosing the right dry fly

Picking the right dry fly is crucial for success when rigging a hopper and streamer dropper. The fly you select should resemble the prevalent insects or terrestrials in the area you are fishing. It should have a realistic profile, coloration, and size. Grasshoppers, crickets, and stoneflies are common choices for hopper patterns.

Additionally, it’s essential to consider the buoyancy of the dry fly. Since the hopper will be supporting the weight of the streamer, it’s crucial to use a buoyant pattern that can support the additional weight without sinking. Foam-bodied or deer hair hopper patterns work well in this setup.

Choosing the right streamer

Choosing the right streamer is equally important when rigging a hopper and streamer dropper. The streamer should imitate the prevalent subsurface food sources, such as baitfish or crayfish, to entice the fish. Consider the color, size, and action of the streamer when making your selection.

Depending on the water you are fishing, you may need to adjust the size and weight of the streamer. In faster water or deeper pools, a larger, heavier streamer may be necessary to get the fly down to the desired depth. Conversely, in slower water or shallow areas, a smaller, lighter streamer may be more effective.

Rigging the hopper and streamer dropper

Rigging the hopper and streamer dropper requires a few simple steps. Start by attaching a length of tippet to the bend of the dry fly hook. The length can vary depending on the water depth and the fish’s feeding behavior, but a general rule of thumb is to use a tippet that is approximately two feet long.

Next, tie the streamer onto the end of the tippet using a clinch knot or any other suitable knot. Ensure the streamer is securely attached to prevent it from becoming detached during casting or fighting a fish. Trim any excess tippet length if necessary.

Once the rig is complete, check the overall balance and adjust the weight and size of the streamer if needed. You want the rig to be balanced and have a natural presentation in the water. A hopper that is too large or heavy compared to the streamer will cause an unnatural drag, while a streamer that is too large or heavy compared to the hopper may cause the dry fly to sink.

Fishing techniques for different water structures

Now that you have rigged your hopper and streamer dropper, it’s time to explore different fishing techniques for various water structures.

Fishing shoreline troughs on hopper banks

When fishing shoreline troughs on hopper banks, focus on areas where deeper channels or troughs run parallel to the bank. These are prime feeding zones for fish and provide excellent opportunities for targeting large trout or bass. Cast your rig parallel to the bank and let it drift naturally along the trough. Pay attention to any subtle strikes or movements, as fish often take the fly subtly in these areas.

Fishing shallow tail outs or edge water

Shallow tail outs or edge water areas are often overlooked by anglers, but they can be productive when targeting trout or other fish species. The key to fishing these areas is to make a stealthy approach and cast your rig upstream or upstream across. Allow the rig to drift naturally with the current in these slower-moving sections, and be ready for aggressive strikes as the fly passes over the fish’s feeding lane.

Sliding a terrestrial and streamer through fast water riffles

Fast water riffles provide an exciting opportunity to slide a terrestrial and streamer through turbulent sections. Cast your rig upstream and let it drift through the riffle, imitating a hopper or other terrestrial insect being washed downstream. Keep your rod tip high to maintain control and stay in contact with the flies. Be prepared for aggressive strikes as fish often attack the flies in the surface or subsurface layers.

Fishing broken rock and shelves

Broken rock and shelves are common features in rivers and streams, and fish often hide in these areas, waiting for food to wash downstream. When fishing broken rock and shelves, cast your rig upstream or upstream across, allowing it to drift naturally over and along the structure. Pay close attention to any subtle movements or strikes, as fish may take the fly as it drifts close to the rocks or shelves.


Rigging and fishing a hopper and streamer dropper offers numerous advantages and allows for a versatile approach to fly fishing. By combining a dry fly and a streamer, you can effectively cover different feeding zones and increase your chances of enticing fish. Remember to choose the right dry fly and streamer patterns that match the prevalent insects or baitfish in the area. Proper rigging and fishing techniques for different water structures will enhance your success and make for a rewarding fishing experience. So go out, rig your hopper and streamer dropper, and enjoy the thrill of hooking into some feisty fish!

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