It is the second to last day of the trout season here in Wisconsin. Before I hit the stream. I stop at the fly shop in Viroqua and ask the kid behind the counter which flies are working. He looks up from his laptop and says—without hesitation—“Pink grasshoppers.”
I raise my eyebrows. “Pink?”
“Yeah. Here, let me show you.” He comes out from behind the counter and points to the shop’s selection of pink grasshoppers, neatly organized by size in four little cubbyholes, two cubbies for size 14, and two for size 12. I thank him and he heads back behind the counter. I grab one and look at it carefully. Yep, it’s pink foam on the underside, tan and orange foam on top, with black and tan rubber legs that quiver in the air as I turn the fly this way and that. Little black eyes, too. Very cute.
I am skeptical.
Just then a bearded guy wearing wet waders crashes into the shop and says, “Excuse me.” I move out of his way as he sticks his big fingers into a size 12 pink grasshopper cubby and takes out a big gob of the flies.
I look at the now-almost-empty cubby. “So those things really work, huh?”
He grins and nods enthusiastically as he walks to the counter. Over his shoulder he says, “Yup. I like the bigger ones because the little fish tend not to take those as much as the size 14’s.” The kid rings him up and he is gone.
Ten minutes later I am streamside and tie on a brand new pink grasshopper, size 12.
Sure enough, on my first cast (that actually goes where I want it to) there’s a noisy splash and moments later I’m holding a pretty little brown trout with a pink grasshopper sticking out of its mouth.
Well, this is exceptionally cool.
And so it goes for three hours as I work my way up this tiny little spring creek on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon. This is way better than mowing the lawn. This is even better than watching football.
I’m not sure how many fish I caught; quite a few. And I caught all of them on the same pink grasshopper that I tied on at the beginning of the day.
Who’d a thunk?