10 Best Fishing Flies for Trout in the Summer
Summer is angling heaven, as days are spent tossing dry flies in wet wading attire. One of the hardest choices is knowing what to use when there are so many great options out there! Hoppers buzz around, caddis hatches are still going strong, and nymphs will constantly produce quality fish throughout the season. Despite a plethora of patterns available, here are a few surefire flies for summer trout that everyone should have in their box!
Size #12 – #16
Micro Chubby Chernobyl’s can imitate small stoneflies, caddis, hoppers, and crickets. Perfect for small dropper rigs. Target pocket water and the seamlines where bubbles gather. We love to fish these on small mountain streams where trout feed opportunistically. Great for using as a dry fly indicator on larger water.
Size #14 – #18
Elk Hair fly patterns imitate the bread and butter of a trout’s diet, caddis. As one of the greatest patterns ever created, even the most selective trout can’t resist. Overall, its insect profile and ability to float high gives the Elk Hair fly credibility as a go-to pattern for nearly every serious angler. This specific Elk Hair Caddis variation features a hi-vis spotter for easier visibility in bright or low light conditions.
Caddis hatch most densely late in the afternoon, but hatch sporadically throughout the day. Cast this pattern into bubbly seams and long runs from early morning and into the evening. Try doubling up with a 2-dry fly tandem rig to fish two hatches at once. Imitates an adult caddis.
Size #14 – #16
Imitates a large variety of mayfly hatches throughout the season. Also, great for prospecting and as the dry fly in a dry-dropper rig. Late in the afternoon or after the early morning Trico hatch, we like to tie this Hi-Vis Adams Parachute on and hunt the edges of streams. Casting into bubbly seams at the front or tailend of pools is a great way to pick up feeding trout. Fish this in a multi-fly rig with an emerger trailing below or with a midge dry fly or caddis imitation.
Size #14 – #16
The Blowtorch Jig is ideal for fast water and deep runs. Fish these 12-inches below another fly of your choice. It’s an effective stonefly and mayfly imitation. Pair with heavier nymphs to target deep pools or use a small indicator (or tight-line style) to tumble this flashy attractor fly near the bottom.
There is a reason why this fly is one of our best sellers. It’s fished all across the United States and always seems to do incredibly. Whether it is runoff season or in the dead of summer, drifting this nymph through fast riffles always produces trout.
To make a multi-nymphing rig, space this with another nymph of your choice 12″ to 18″ apart by tying 4x or 5x tippet to the eye of the hook or from the bend.
Size #18 – #22
Mercury Baetis nymphs are a light pattern used to drift near the surface when trout are ignoring dry flies and are focusing on emerging nymphs just below. The sparkle bead adds just enough flash and imitates the gases that build up within the emerging nymphs’ shucks, which helps them ascend to the surface.
We like to use this pattern in the mornings and late afternoons when trout are feeding just below the surface on emerging insects. Use a 12-inch section of 5x tippet to drop this pattern below your favorite dry fly.
Size #8 – #14
Chubby Chernobyl’s are the go-to fly for most fly anglers when they think, “hopper-droppers.” They are bouyant enough to suspend nymphs below, easily visible, and catch trout. Most anglers fish these in a variety of tan, gold, black, olive, pink, and orange colors.
Size #8 – #12
Everyone loves to throw hoppers, and for good reason! Few things match the excitement of watching a trout explode on a giant dry fly. The parachute hopper does a great job of matching effectiveness to visibility and the white parachute post is easy to pick up in heavy water. It’s the perfect fly for pocket water or pounding the bank from a raft!
8. Zebra Midge
Size #18 – #20
Once spring hits, most forget about midges in favor of larger and more appealing mayflies and stoneflies. Trout certainly don’t forget about them, though! Midges will continue to hatch through summer and the fish feed on them aggressively all year long. The zebra midge is one of the top midge imitations and can be fished on nymph rigs or underneath a dry. Fish love the silver/black color combo and this fly has an excellent sink rate needed to get our rig into the trout feeding zone.
Size #12 – #14
There are few flies better suited for pocket water fishing than the rubber legged stimulator. It has the perfect amount of action to drive freestone trout crazy and it’s built for hitting those tiny runs and slicks behind rocks or on undercut banks. The rubber legged stimulator is also a great choice for dry-dropper rigs that are so successful in summer.
10. Holo Midge
Size #18 – #20
The holo midge is one of the top flies for tailwater trout. It has a sleek body but the dubbing makes this fly glow in the water and it drives trout crazy! Tailwater streams are notorious for getting extremely technical in the summer months, and rigs get smaller and lighter to keep trout guessing. The beauty of the blue poison is that it can start out as the trailing fly in a multi-nymph rig during runoff but easily transition to a point fly in micro rigs come July and August.
As the sun beats down and anglers bask in the warmth that is so fleeting, fly selection still remains a critical component to success. Whether fishing on top or under the surface, these 10 flies are absolutely critical for success during the summer months. It’s no coincidence that they can be fished in tandem with each other, and their versatility makes them deady for those summertime trout that start to get wary.
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