Re: How to fish a hopper, and some rigging questions
Hoppers...here's a few things I do:
Match the tippet to the fly. 2/3x will give a lot of control casting your fly if you are using #10-#6 hoppers. A hopper fish is not leader shy and you sometimes have to stuff the fly in tight to snags and banks. You'll need that extra tippet strength to yank your flies loose and if your not snagging your fly occasionally...your not getting in there tight enough. Caution...learn the roll flip or pull from the reel to free flies from snags, if you use the rod tip, you can break the rod.
On my bank, I will sometimes cast from well back (30 Ft. or so) across dry land and have only a few feet of the tippet land in the water. I will also make a cast, standing at the stream bank, upstream and have the fly line lay across the bank and grass and allow only the leader to land so as to not spook the fish all the way up the bank. You'll have to know how too do a roll pickup to make your next cast or you will fight a snag on every cast.
Hoppers need dry wings before they can become active...so this is sunshine fishin', but the trout hate the light so look for shade to drift your fly in...even if it's from a clump of overhanging grass, a limb, a bank, rock ledge, or a leaf casting a shadow through the surface. Best fishing will be with the sun in your face.Tall grass is a sure sign of hoppers and a brisk off-bank breeze will send the hoppers plopping into the water. A hard cast that tucks your fly and makes a splat on the water will get you fish and this cast can even be behind the fish...the fish will hear the fly splat and whirl around and attack it. Should you make a perfect dead drift cast and get no response after a couple of feet give the fly one twitch. A twitch will get a stubborn fish excited.
I move along...I pick the water to death with casts here and there and don't spend a lot of time in a hole with the hoppers. I go upstream even though I'll fish a cast down and across to the far bank. Be courteous on public water with lots of fisherman...hob-nailing from hole to hole won't make you any friends with the guy who's matching a hatch or dredging nymphs through the bottom of a hole...give a wide berth.
As far as flies go.....I use a Lawson's bullet head hopper pattern. I'm not concerned with legs and eyeballs and red tails and rely more on the presentation than the pattern. The pattern has to float and I have to be able to see it. When the trout are on hoppers it's bigness form and ugliness that count. Use whatever hopper pattern you have confidence in.
On leaders and tippets, no big deal here. Whats ever on the market will change and preferences will only be what is available. Modern stuff is up on the strength rating and quality control keeps suppliers in business...so buy what's in your shop and don't fret over it. If knots don't hold between dissimilar materials use a perfection loop to loop handshake connection. I use all nylon.
Multi-fly rigs I just don't get....so your on your own with that concept. I've always got along with one fly and that's the way my way is. I can understand the dry and dropper giving the ability to see the take on the the smaller fly but over the years I can't recall myself needing this presentation. Personally I have always found it a handicap if I couldn't see the dry fly I was fishing and have made adjustment to the flies I fish so that I can see them. Flies with white wings really fish well!...If you can follow the drift of your fly you can make adjustments on following casts to compensate for a bad presentation.....walk the fly into the fish zone casting a short cast at the target and inching your way with subsequent casts to the drift that you want over the spot you think holds a fish.
Finally .. on nymph fishing...it's just like fishing a worm. You bait up, add some weight to put it on the bottom and cast upstream carefully watch the drift of your line as it travels in the current and set the hook when the line stops or twitches.
and finally ..finally the secret is to spend more time on the water you fish... and cast well....it will instruct you better than a guide fellow Denver-ite.