Why Try The Foam Fly

Why Try The Foam Fly | Jackson Hole Fly Company

A beginners guide to foam flies and what patterns you need in your fly box.

Summer fly fishing is what every angler dreams of. The lush green landscapes and blue skies mirror the cool and clear waters that trout inhabit. The summer sun warms the waters so you can ditch your waders and enjoy the cool temps of the river. Summer is the best season for fly fishing because hatches occur frequently during this time and although the waters may get crowded there are always plenty of places to fish.

The “hatch” unique to summer is the “terrestrial hatch”,  grasshoppers, beetles, crickets, ants, etc. During a typical, summer day, they make their appearance during the warmest part of the day, after the morning bug hatches are well over. Although the trout will have moved to their holding lies in the bank undercuts, or under stream side trees and brush. Luckily this is where most terrestrials will enter the water.

Terrestrial flies are usually very easy to see on the surface and therefore need to be very buoyant. That’s where the fun of the foam fly comes into play. Foam flies are very versatile fly made with light-weight foam to increase buoyancy to make them float completely. They are less likely to sink, allowing you to twitch them in life-like movements. These patterns represent a big meal for a hungry trout. You will still want to use floatant to ensure that these flies stay suspended for longer periods but can be used in many summer fishing situations. Fishing a terrestrial pattern as a single fly, in tandem with another terrestrial, or with a nymph dropper can turn a slow day into one to remember.

How to fish with foam flies.

Foam flies are fished the same way as fur and feather dry flies. Cast above the fish and let the fly drift to and over the fish.

Cast slightly on the 'up', so the fly is a couple of yards above the target area, then give the line a short sharp pull. This should drop the fly onto the water with a nice plop.

If the fish is holding close to a bank, firing the fly onto the bank and then pulling it back into the water works well too.

Foam flies excel in rough pocket water, which is the water around boulders and rocks in swiftly moving streams or rivers. Let them rush down water chutes and drown at the bottom; it will reappear shortly, hopefully milliseconds before a fish.

5 JHFLYCO Foam Flies for Summer.

Chernobyl Ant Black

Chernobyl Ant Black

As summer progresses in the mountains, terrestrial bugs become more important components in a trout’s diet. Ants are among the first terrestrial bugs to make an appearance in the high country, and, as such, ant patterns can be fished effectively for most of the summer, including as “indicators” for subsurface nymphs early in the year when waters levels are higher.

Snake River Beetle

JHFLYCO – Snake River Beetle

Since clumsier beetles are known to fall into the river without necessarily being blown into it, try dropping a Foam Beetle in off the bank, that is, if you can do so without too much snag potential. Then, let it drift over a deep run with a high-stick and a little twitch, and see if it doesn’t bring fish up from below.


JHFLYCO – Jurassic

No foam fly discussion can really even get started without the inclusion of the Foam Hopper. When these hit the water on a hot and breezy summer afternoon, they bob up and down like a cork. This action usually provides enough natural twitch and faux grasshopper leg movement that you won’t need  any additional rod tip enhancements.


Pink (Mrs. Piggy) Chubby Chernobyl

JHFLYCO – Pink (Mrs. Piggy) Chubby Chernobyl

The Chubby Chernobyl is a great imitation of a hopper or stonefly. This dry fly pattern incorporates the perfect amount of flash, movement, and profile.

Tan (Southfork Stone) Micro Chubby

JHFLYCO – Tan (Southfork Stone) Micro Chubby

This dry fly pattern incorporates the perfect amount of flash, movement, and profile to imitate small hoppers, mayflies, or other terrestrials.


View all Foam Terrestrials

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