A trout fisherman is perhaps the most passionate outdoor enthusiast who feels the summer doldrums. Spring’s robust fishing is a distant memory. Fall’s bracing renewal is still weeks away. The stream that was stocked with trout in May is now empty and low. Fishing in warm waters of late summer can be dangerous for the resource. Even if you catch a trout, it may not survive being released.
Trout guides are able to locate good trout fishing even on hazy, lazy days. Zach Brantley, who runs Blue Ridge Fish Adventures in Rockbridge Baths in Virginia, says that he still fishes for trout in the late summer. “Obviously, finding the right water is the most important step. 1 step. You can do other things.
These are some suggestions from guides to help you salvage a dull section of your calendar.
1) For summertime trout, turn to the Tailwaters
Tailwaters are also known as tailraces. They are rivers that run downstream of deep impoundments and are kept cool by the water released from dams. Tailwaters are found in rivers from the Swift in Massachusetts to California’s Lower Sacramento to the Ozarks’ White. They provide cold water environments for rivers that would otherwise have been too shallow or warm to be trout-friendly. These conditions not only keep trout frisky but also provide spring-like mayfly hatches throughout the summer.
Brantley points out that river management can have an impact on fishing. However, most tailwaters can be fished at least part of the year in the late summer. Tailwaters are known for producing large numbers of small mayflies and trout will reject imitations. Although fly-fishers can be a bit embarrassed by their fussiness, they still have healthy fish. Fly shops often have suggestions on what to hatch and what fly to use.
When all the streams are high and warm, tailwater rivers can become crowded. If you are willing to walk up and down from the parking areas, there is more space to fish.
2) Go upstream to get the coldest water
Even tailwater streams can be subject to heat during extremely hot weather. Although the water is cold at the dam release, it warms up as it moves downstream. Try moving upstream if your first choice spot shows a borderline reading on the stream thermometer. Chris Galvin, Galvin Guiding in Denver, says that the water has to spend less time in the sun so it will be more fishable.
Here’s an example. This is the West Branch of Delaware River, where it’s released by Cannonsville Reservoir. It was 51 degrees when I wrote this. The water temperature at Lordville, 22 mi from the dam was unfishable at 71 degrees. These readings are based on the U.S. Geological Survey’s water data website. It lists real-time flows as well as temperatures for many rivers throughout the country. This is a great resource for late-summer fishing.
3) Beat the Heat Early
Everybody enjoys the evening hatch when emerging insects and spinner fall (mating swarms), put trout on their feed. It’s wrong to believe that water cools quickly as the sun sets. Water that was warm at 6 pm will be warmer at 9 pm, or later. The morning will bring you better conditions.
Galvin suggests that you take advantage of the overnight cooling. Summer trout are most active at dawn, so it’s a good time to fish for all kinds of fish at any time of the year. Because not many people are willing or able to do the effort, you’ll have more water and may find a hatching or spinner fall in process. Trico hatches are awaited and take place in the early morning. This important hatch requires fine tippet and small flies.
Next: 5 Summer Must-Have Ideas
4) Or fish the Late Shift for bigger Trout
Fishing in rivers that are accessible during the day can be very exciting at night. This is not because the water is colder, but because big fish love to feed at night.
“Most big fish will switch nocturnal,” Derrick Kirkpatrick, owner and president of CT Fish Guides, Farmington River Anglers Association, host of Catching Alphas podcast, says. We’ve seen baby ducks being eaten by these fish on the river. These alpha brown trout are unhooked all year and feed in a different way than other fish.
Although the fishing isn’t difficult, night fishing requires a lot of preparation. You’re most successful at night fishing in a location you are familiar with during daylight. It’s important to know where you can park at night. A bright light, such as 1000 lumens, is useful to see what you are doing and scare away bears or beavers.
5) Fish Spring Creeks that are Naturally Productive
You are lucky if you have spring creeks. These rivers are not subject to any public works. They have year-round groundwater flows that provide trout with cool temperatures in summer and are usually fishable in winter. Spring creeks are home to bug-sized crustaceans such as scuds or sow bugs. These insects can be imitated by simple patterns and drifts. These creeks also have great numbers of caddis and mayflies, which is why they are nutrient-rich.
Spring creeks are often weedy and have flowing green plants such as elodea or watercress. It provides a refuge for trout, habitat for aquatic insects, and can make fishing difficult. Many spring creeks’ fishable waters are reduced to narrow runs in the greens by the end of summer.
Brantley suggests that you try floating dry-dropper devices down the channels. Dry fly can work, and it will suspend the sunken fly high above the weeds.
6) Look for Trout In Lakes, Ponds, And Reservoirs
The summer heat can also affect stillwaters, but they are usually located near the surface. The deeper water is a refuge from which the trout can venture outside to feed.
Dry-fly fishing is possible in stillwater fishing. This can be done for caddis flies, stillwater mayflies like callibaetis or beetles, as well as beetles or ants. The current dictates the pace. A dry fly cast on a lake will remain put until a fish eats it or you raise it to recast. What should you expect to wait? Chris Galvin says it could take anywhere from two to five minutes depending on how patient you are. Let it drift along with the wind. For the best contact, keep your rod tip near the water. Fish are often lost because of a slack line that is held up to the rod tip.
Subsurface fishing can be done regardless of what’s happening at the surface. Galvin suggests balanced flies which have seen a revival among Stillwater anglers. A balanced leech, or wet fly, is tied on a jighook and has a heavy bead placed forward of the eyes. Balanced flies are horizontally positioned, unlike streamers or standard beadheads that hang vertically in water. This is the way aquatic creatures swim. A balanced leech pattern, suspended under a buoyant strike indicator will move in a gentle manner to any waves or wind that affects it.
Wet flies, nymphs, and leech patterns can all be good options. However, streamer patterns are also good choices. Most fish will eat smaller fish. While a floating fly line is fine, it’s easier to get the fly down deep when you have a specific line. Galvin prefers a 1.5-per-second intermediate line to a sink-tip or full sinking line. Clear-tipped lines are nice but not required. He says that you can use a leader of 8 or 10 feet and fish won’t seem to notice.
7) No Hatch To catch Trout on the Surface, you can use a Terrestrial pattern
You will find mayflies and caddis flies as well as stoneflies throughout the summer and fall. There aren’t nearly as many in the spring and early summer. But you can enjoy plenty of dry-fly action with terrestrials–floating flies that imitate land-based bugs such as beetles, ants, and hoppers.
Galvin advises, “Pay attention to bankside vegetation.” Galvin says that terrestrial insects are found there, even though some end up in the water accidentally. Observing streamside brush will reveal what’s on offer.
If the trout don’t want to grab a terrestrial on the surface, you can try dangling a subsurface flies below it. Zach Brantley said, “If I’m prospecting or searching, I’ll do lots of dry-droppers.” “We have a lot of terrestrials, especially in dry and windy conditions–grasshoppers and crickets, flying insects, Japanese beetles, and even flying ants.” They are all common and are good snacks for protein-rich trout.
8) Look out for Brookies
Brook trout streams at high elevations are often cooler than larger rivers in the valley. They can provide a wonderful fly-fishing experience.
Brian Kozminski, Boyne City guide, writer and advocate, says that the local brookie stream has a temperature of 59 degrees and can numb you to your core in minutes. Kozminski states that the average brook trout is 9-10 inches, but that occasionally a 12- or 14-inch fish will catch you by surprise.
He says that tight, short roll casts are crucial for small mountain streams. This is why it’s important to practice casting before you show up and discover the futility in a back cast. For those who are looking for thin blue lines, late summer and early fall can be extremely rewarding. Do yourself a favor, explore. You will feel like a 12-year-old on a hot summer day.
- Choosing between a 7.5L and 9L: A Comprehensive Guide to Selecting Your Ideal Capacity - March 28, 2023
- Ideal Length of Trout Leader: A Guide for Anglers - March 20, 2023
- The Benefits of Using a 7 Weight Fly Rod for Salmon Fishing - March 20, 2023