Low water poses an intense challenge for even the most skilled of anglers.
Flows drop, rains become more infrequent, and the trout get sluggish in the tepid water that comes with high summer. It’s a scene that faces fly fishers each and every season, and it threatens to shut down the fishing. When the water gets low, don’t forget about the trout until fall; just use some of these foolproof flies!
Much like in winter, small is the name of the game for skittish trout in low water. The zebra midge is a fantastic pattern to use in these situations because not only does it catch fish, but it has an extremely fast sink rate. That sink rate becomes incredibly important in the dog days because adding extra weight in the form of split shot is impossible to do without spooking every fish for 50 yards.
Low water and terrestrials should be synonymous with each other. Long casts with light tippet and a beetle gently landing an inch from the bank is what puts trout in the net during summer. When the main hatches start to wind down, fish will actively turn their attention towards these bugs. Beetles are more common than just about any other terrestrial, so don’t leave home without a well stocked box of them!
It’s a fly that doesn’t look like much, but man does it catch fish! When fished in sizes #20 and #22 it can imitate anything from midges to tricos, and when fished bigger it can adequately match some mayflies that might still be coming off. It’s particularly deadly in gray!
Once July hits, the marquee hatches of the season are on hold until the cooler reprieve of fall. Aside from a few caddis and midges, the tricos are perhaps the most productive trout snack to imitate for those wanting to match the hatch. Trout stack in riffle sections to gorge on these tiny morsels that serve as a welcome sign in an otherwise sparse time of year for food.
Low water means stealth, light line, and spooky trout. What it doesn’t mean is the end of trout fishing for a few months, and that’s especially true when you go armed with these four proven fly patterns!
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