Let’s be honest: trout fishing has gone by the wayside by this time of the summer.
Take a look around. How many trout fishermen do you see crowding the banks of a local trout stream? Almost none.
Most bait and lure fishermen have pretty much given up on trout by the end of June, but flyrod fishermen are often still having some successful outings.
Earlier this summer, the trout streams were actually getting too low and warm, but this recent rainy weather has brought stream levels up to higher than usual for this time of the year.
These higher stream flows and cooler water temperatures are a good thing for trout, and I’ve been out with my flyrod trying to take advantage of the potential opportunities.
Normally, as we move into these mid-summer and late summer days, I begin to look at some other approaches when it comes to presenting flies. Now is a good time to consider terrestrial patterns like ants, grasshoppers, crickets, caterpillars, moths, and any other bug that might happen to fall into a stream.
One of my favorite patterns is the ant, and I don’t think it matters which color ant you choose. When I tie a black ant, which is often a fairly small pattern, I will often put a bit of white or orange on the back to make the pattern more visible while drifting.
The larger grasshopper and cricket patterns are usually very easy to follow as they drift in the current.
When it comes to fishing subsurface flies, a green inchworm might be a good choice, but so would a green weenie, a San Juan worm, a Bead-head Wooly Bugger, or some type of caterpillar pattern.
By no means are terrestrial patterns the only patterns that will take trout this time of year. Even though those coveted hatches of spring and early summer have pretty much closed down, there are still some hatches worth watching for, like blue-winged olives, pale olive duns, white mayflies, and an assortment of drake patterns.
One of the things I like to do this time of year when I’m not sure if I want to fish surface flies or some type of submerged pattern is to do both at the same time. If you are new to this technique, it sounds a little odd trying to fish on the surface and a couple of feet below the surface simultaneously, but it can be done quite effectively.
It’s called a “tandem rig,” and it can be done a couple of different ways.
My favorite approach is to tie on a size 12 or 14 dry fly pattern, and then, using a clinch knot, I tie about a two-foot piece of leader to the bend in my dry fly hook and add a nymph pattern of some sort. You now have a dry fly riding along on the surface and a nymph rolling along underneath, and they are now both targets.
I used this approach a couple of weeks ago on a local trout stream, and on my second cast, I hooked a nice rainbow on the floating Royal Coachman. A few casts later, I hooked another rainbow, but this time on the nymph. The dry fly acts as an indicator, a “bobber,” if you will, and signals when a fish takes the nymph.
Well, I guess the point is trout fishing is not necessarily over — there are still presentations that will put a bend in your rod, and that’s especially more likely if our water levels stay up from their normal low summer levels.