Peeper Popper

The patterns of these bass flies are simply irresistible.


The flat surface on the head of this fly pattern makes a nice disturbance in the water when stripped gently. Let the Peeper Popper sit and then strip once. When you can hear the gurgle, then you're doing it right and the panfish and Bass will hear it as well. Smallmouth bass love these fly patterns. Fish it early or late when the water is dead calm.
Sizes: 8.
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Overall: Show Rating Distribution 4.2 / 5 based on 8 reviews


7 of 8 reviewers would recommend this product to a friend.

  • 5/5

    Great for bass - 7/18/2014
    By: from Charlotte, NC

    I ordered one of these and it worked great! I had not been able to get the bass to bite anything but they went right after this. Too bad I had a weak tippet on and lost it quickly. My only issue with them is their availability seems limited

  • 5/5

    By: from Virginia

    When the bass and sunfish are hitting topwater, this fly consistently produces. Theres nothing like seeing a big bass explode on a topwater popper like this one. It is one of the funnest ways to catch fish.

  • 5/5

    Top 100 Contributor

  • 4/5

    Just a few bugs - 6/7/2011
    By: from New Jersey

    This popper is very productive. It catches bass and bluegills as it illicits explosive strikes. Let it land, don't move it untill the "rings" disapear, give it three quick pops, stop and then jiggle. The downside is the feathers are tied in poorly and have fallen off after 10 or so fish. Still a good little popper and the feathers can be easily replaced. Leif.

  • 1/5

    Good News and Bad New - 9/14/2009
    By: from Speedway, IN

    The bad news is that this popper just exploded when it was hit on the very first cast. The good news is, something hit this popper so hard it just exploded on the very first cast. Nothing left but tail feathers. Durability does appaer to be an issue. It may also be a design flaw as the float is just glued to the shank of the hook.

    Response from: Orvis Technical Services
    Posted: 10/11/2009 9:09:11 PM

    Orvis Customer Service contacted this customer and apologized that his popper body came off of the hook. Orvis thanked this customer for the feedback as we are constantly trying to find ways to improve our flies. We forwarded these comments to the product developer for review. Customer Service also offered to exchange this item or issue a complete refund. We will cheerfully exchange or refund your purchase at any time, for any reason. Our 100% Satisfaction Guarantee is the strongest in the business.

  • 5/5

    Good fly - 6/25/2009

    Have used this fly for bass and pan fish for years. It is the one i would climb out of the river to retrieve if it ever got stuck in brush. Am getting a couple more. Taught my son to fly fish using the last one and he caught fish while I was skunked. Agree with the other review. The fish usually hit as soon as the fly lands. Have had a couple of small mouth actually not wait for it to land on the water's surface and came out of the water to snag this popper a couple of inches above.

  • 4/5

    Excellent Bass Popper - 6/4/2009

    The peeper popper is an excellent bass fly and does well with sunfish as well. Only drawback is the fly has very poor durability and falls apart very quickly. I have been coating the bodies with flexible fly cement to improve the durability and coloration.

  • 5/5

    Love the peeper - 5/27/2009

    Our rivers are swollen and too swift to wade so this time of year I have to head into the smaller streams and creeks. Those streams and creeks are small and quiet and calm. I LOVE the big poppers on the river but they are just too darn big for the little water so I tried the peeper this weekend. Great success. Personally I usually got my bites right when the fly hit the water. Have fun!

Fly Recipe

Learn More

Finding and Catching Smallmouth Bass

Finding smallmouths

Smallmouth bass image by Tye Krueger, Fishing Manager, Orvis RichmondThe easiest way to find smallmouth bass is to ask at a local fly shop. Second best is to check the web—typically state fish & wildlife sites can point you in the right direction. But barring that, most rocky streams or lakes north of the Tennessee River, especially in the eastern United States, will hold smallmouths. One excellent place is the lower reaches of larger trout streams, where no one fishes. Famous trout and steelhead rivers like the Housatonic, Delaware, Potomac, Snake, Umpqua, Missouri, and Truckee have smallmouth bass, which often get ignored because of the allure of trout farther upstream. And rivers that run clear but are too warm for trout are often prime smallmouth habitat—as long as the bottom is rocky. You won’t find smallmouths in largemouth habitat like weedy backwaters or in shallow lakes with a silt bottom.

Smallmouth bass fishing in lakes during midsummer is usually a dawn and dusk commando operation. During the day, they stay in water 10 to 30 feet deep, and although you can catch them on a sinking line it’s a lot of work. However, in rivers, smallmouths are active all day long, even in the heat of summer. So your best bet for summer smallmouth fishing is to find a river with a rocky bottom, clear water and midday water temperatures that stay below 75 degrees.

In lakes, look for smallmouths early and late in the day at the edges of drop-offs, along rock cliffs, and where the shoreline is cluttered with boulders or fallen logs. In rivers they can be almost anywhere except in very fast current, but they’ll often lie in the eddies adjacent to fast water. One of my favorite places for big smallmouths in rivers is in the tail end of a pool where the water gets broad and shallow. This water might not look fishy to you, but it’s one of the best places for smallmouths to prowl for crayfish and baitfish, their favorite foods.

How to catch smallmouths

One of the reasons I love smallmouth bass is that they are usually eager to take a fly on the surface. Some fly fishers swear that a slider with a cone-shaped head like the Sneaky Pete is the only fly you need. In moving water, cast your popper just above where you think a bass may be hiding and let it drift downstream with an occasional twitch to catch their interest. Even if you find smallmouths rising to hatching insects like mayflies, you can match the hatch if you want, but I’ve found that even when feeding on hatch smallmouths will jump on a Sneaky Pete (which looks nothing like any mayfly) just as easily.

In slower pools on in lakes, you can’t move your fly too slowly. Cast and let the fly sit still, until all the rings dissipate. Wait. Wait longer. Wait until you can’t stand it. Smallmouths will often eyeball a fly for over a minute before suddenly pouncing on it. If nothing takes your motionless fly, try a few small twitches with a long rest in between. But if that doesn’t work, try a faster retrieve or even a steady retrieve with no pauses. You never know what might turn them on.

Because smallmouths love crayfish and baitfish, streamer flies are often more productive. The standard streamer retrieve where you strip six inches at a time often works, but you’ll catch more smallmouths if you slow down. A strip followed by a long pause is very effective, especially with a weighted fly, because smallmouths seem to prefer taking a fly as it is dropping. Just watch your floating line and if it jumps forward or hesitates set the hook. Streamers or even large nymphs are also deadly on a dead drift in the current, without adding any action other than what the current imparts. Many of the best smallmouth anglers I know fish for smallmouths much as you do for trout, under a strike indicator. I’ve had too many smallmouths eat my strike indicator, though, so I like to use a popper as an indicator. Just tie a Sneaky Pete to a 9-foot 2X leader, tie 20 inches of 3X tippet to the bend of the popper hook, and tie a big nymph or streamer on the end of this tippet.

Tom's Fly Picks for Smallmouth Bass

Sneaky Pete for Smallmouth BassSneaky Pete
Just the finest smallmouth fly ever made. It’s been a favorite for over 30 years. The cone-shaped head and rubber legs make just enough commotion to attract smallmouths but not enough noise to scare them. Plus it casts easier than a standard popper.

Peeper Popper
There are times when a noisy popper works better for smallmouths, especially in big, deep rivers or where the water is slightly murky.

Craw Dog
Smallmouth never pass up crayfish, and this one has lots of wiggle and really works. You can fish this one by stripping it along, or by fishing it dead drift in the current.

EZ Mite
Smallmouth bass also eat a lot of hellgrammites, so this buggy imitation of these large insect larvae turns them on, especially in rivers.

Rattle Eye Minnow
One of the best fly fishers I know swears by the Rattle Eye Minnow, which darts like a Clouser Minnow but also has tiny glass rattles as eyes. The tiny clicking sound really bangs the dinner bell for smallmouths, especially in deep or slightly dirty water.

Cone Head Woolly Bugger
The Woolly Bugger simulates a crayfish, hellgrammite, large stonefly, sculpin, or a leech. The cone head gets it down quickly and makes it hop and dart in the water, an irresistible action for smallmouths.

Smallmouth Fly Selection
A great way to try out various smallmouth favorites to find out which perform best in your local waters. One # 2 Rattle Eye Minnow; One #6 Mudd Bugger Streamer-Blk/Olive; one #6 Chartreuse Popper; one #6 Black Popper; One #4 Gulley Ultra Craw.

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