Summer time fishing. High water temps, UV indexes, strange odors that only exist from June to September; how do we make the most of these less than ideal fishing conditions? Let’s dip our toes into some cooling ideas as we search for the silver linings to warm weather angling.
Before we begin it’s important to mention part of being a responsible angler includes checking water temps and safety guidelines for your target species. Sun screen and protective clothing for your own skin are top priority right next to proper hydration. If all our duck feathers are in a row, make sure you use the bathroom one last time before jumping in that float tube. Please.
When it’s too hot for the best fishing but you’d still like to get outside, now is your chance to explore some shaded streams with the kids. You’re already in the water so look under a couple small rocks for some simple bug lessons. An aquarium net and a mason jar become high tech lab equipment once you’re in the water. The importance of a resource is taught through experience. Share with someone the importance water carries for you. Once seen in practice concern for a resource also tends to be quite contagious. Much like the fun of catching bugs in a net.
I want you to close you eyes. Take a deep breath. There is nobody else around. Travel to that dark, mysterious hidden place where your fly rod is rigged and waiting. The fish are feeding. The fly is a ringer. You can catch all the fish you want and your buddies will never know. That’s right... carp! Admit it, deny it, love it or hate it, carp fishing is a blast and I don’t care who knows it! If you’ve ever been curious about catching a carp and have shied away for whatever reason, now is the perfect time and excuse to give it a whirl. They eat everything. Everything. Including dry flies. Nothing is more fun and frustrating than watching the same fish push your grass hopper imitation 7 or 800 times before finally getting it down the gullet. And that’s if you’re fortunate enough to not spook them with your tippet shadow. Strong fish and they can be found pretty much anywhere.
So we’ve done some fun things to enjoy the summer days, but there’s still that need to just catch a trout. Not only can it still be done, it can and should be relished. I’m not talking night fishing. That will be for another time. I want to look at the morning and evening hours. If you have a local stream or lake you can go early in the day and watch the fish rise with the sun. In the evening as things cool the fish once again play at their game. In these hours you’ll be inundated with seasonal flora and fauna in the very best light. If we stumble upon a few trout they are bound to be beautiful as well.
Fishing in the summer doesn’t have to be miserable. With a few adjustments in thought and even gear there are always options that will strengthen our skills and in the long run make us better stewards of the fish and water we cherish. Try a new species. Drive a couple hours to cooler water. Enjoy the summer moments you can. Because soon we will be talking about fall patterns and winter prep.