Keep yourself busy this winter by restocking your fly boxes with these essential western trout patterns
No fly vest is complete without some sort of hopper, and the Letort is a classic dating back to 1960. The head can make this fly a bit challenging for the novice to tie, but once you master spinning deer hair, it’s fairly simple. I have a real affinity for big cutthroat trout, and this highly buoyant fly is ideal for fishing the fast-flowing freestone rivers that cutties call home. As August rolls around, terrestrials become a major food source for trout in these rivers. If you cast a Letort Hopper close to the bank and allow it to drift freely downstream, it’s usually not long before a greedy cutthroat inhales it.
While the Letort is a near-perfect hopper imitation, in a pinch it can also be used to imitate a big caddisfly. It can even be fished wet to make a serviceable minnow imitation. There are certainly better caddis- and minnow-imitators, but if the Letort is all you have, it will work.