August can be a difficult month for fly fishing, especially in hot climates. As water levels drop and temperatures rise, trout become more and more difficult to find and catch. Here in Georgia, August is without a doubt the worst month for trout fishing. Even the coldest winter months produce better fishing. But being a major troutbum, there is no way I’m going to let tough conditions keep me off the water. Here are 5 tips I have learned for tough summer days when your favorite fishing hole has dried up to a little trickle.
5) Expand your horizons
Trout are not the only species you can catch on a fly rod. Bass, sunfish, and various saltwater species are very accessible to fly anglers during the heat of the summer. River bassing for shoalies, smallmouth, and spotted bass is especially fun. Bass rivers are generally much lower in elevation and remain muddy most of the year. The low flows of summer often provide the best fishing conditions, and bass rarely mind warmer temperatures. River bass will eagerly chase a streamer or top water popper. Fish around eddies or log jams and look for shade.
4) Check the local reservoirs
The bass aren’t biting? No problem. Some reservoirs have excellent trout fishing in the tailwaters below a bottom release dam. The water from the bottom of the lake stays the same temperature all year, meaning it will stay cold all summer. Be sure to monitor water releases and don’t get caught in dangerous high flow conditions.
3) Head to the Hills
High elevation streams remain colder much longer than the lower elevation rivers and often contain great wild trout fishing. Unfortunately streams tend to get much smaller at higher elevations. While it is true that low flows can really hurt a small stream, streams with large drainage basins will still fish well. Buy a good topographic map. Streams that drain a large area of land, and streams with numerous feeders will hold more water and fish better during the summer.
2) Pick your times
Fish still have to eat, even when conditions are tough. They can’t have lockjaw for an entire month. During late evening hours, or early in the morning fish will often feed rather heavily so they can make it through the heat of the day without expending much energy. While the early bird catches the worm, the early fly catches the trout.
1) Fish terrestrials
Beetles, ants, grasshoppers, and inch worms are an important part of fish diets during the summer. This is essentially universally true all across the country. Want the right patterns for your local water? Check out the Match the Hatch Subscription