Anglers wait all year to throw on wet wading sandals and spend warm days fishing for trout in summer. Layers of fleece and wool gloves are nothing but a distant memory, and anglers have to change tactics to reflect the summertime trout fishing scene. When flows drop and trout get wary, keep these four tactics in mind to catch trout this summer!
Go With A Dry-Dropper
The old adage that nymphs will always catch more fish is still true during summer, but this is one time of year when dry flies really do well. For that reason, anglers should consider stowing the indicators for a few months and instead opt for the dry-dropper rig. This becomes especially deadly during terrestrial season, when a favorite setup is a hopper pattern with an attractor nymph trailing behind. It’s a perfect way to get some dry fly action, but still capitalize on trout feeding under the surface without having a rig that’s so heavy it gets snagged in the low and clear water that so often persists during summer.
As water gets low in summer, which it usually does barring some sort of freakishly wet summer, trout tend to congregate in certain areas of the stream. That can mean deeper pools or mouths of cooler tributaries, but it also means riffles. These faster moving sections of water provide trout two very important things: a steady source of food and oxygen. When flows drop, so too does the oxygen level. That’s why slow, stagnant waterways aren’t usually desired trout destinations. By keying in on riffle sections (granted there is enough depth in them to hold fish comfortably) anglers can take advantage of those trout looking to get a much needed boost of oxygen and a quick snack. Fish in these areas are often very aggressively feeding since there’s an assembly line of nymphs drifting down to them at all times!
Go Early, Stay Late
This becomes especially important during the dog days of July and August. As it gets hotter, it’s increasingly important to keep tabs on water temperatures in order to keep trout safe. Once those water temps get upwards of 60-65 degrees it’s time to consider targeting other species. Morning and night are two times of the day where anglers can still see steady action and fish responsibly, though. Hatches will be heaviest in these low-light periods and the slight reprieve from suffocating heat is enough to get the trout actively feeding before that midday shutdown. As an important note, any trout caught during these critically warm stretches should be handled with the utmost care.
Many associate streamers with the “shoulder” seasons of spring and fall, with the notable exception being high water events. That doesn’t need to be the case, though! Trout will chase down streamers all year long, and summer is a great time to target big fish looking for a protein-heavy meal. Fish (trout and otherwise) congregate in summer and this can lead to a number of different species all inhabiting the same spot in a stream. Whether that be the confluence of a tributary, deeper pool, or cool water spring, opportunistic trout (and sometimes huge ones!) will constantly be on the prowl for creek chubs, shiners, and smaller trout that can serve as their next meal.
Summer is highlighted by some of the most enjoyable fishing of the entire season. Lush canopies cast shade all over the stream, cool water stings bare legs for a second before becoming a welcome relief from the heat, and trout feed happily in water now low enough to comfortably wade. It’s true bliss, and even more so for the angler that keeps these tactics in mind for their next summertime outing!