10 Summer Trout Fishing Tips and Tactics

Summer Trout Fishing Tips

Summer trout fishing can be quite hard work as, during the summer months when the water temperature gets warm and we start to see longer daylight hours, the trout become less active for the majority of the day.

Catching summer trout is still very possible, you just need to use these summer trout fishing tips in your approach and you’ll be golden.

Fish Early & Late In The Day To Catch Summer Trout

Fish Early & Late In The Day To Catch Summer Trout

During the mid-summer months when the water temps are high and trout and the sun is shining for most of the day, the trout tend to go into the cold water of deeper pools and this is the case for the majority of the day, except in the early morning and late summer evenings.

Many anglers think they should be on the river at sunrise or sunset because it’s when trout feel free to feed but this is not the only reason.

By fishing early, between first light and around 8 am, you’ll find the trout have moved out from the deep water and into the shallows to feed actively in the cooler waters giving you more of a chance to catch summer trout.

But once the water temperatures rise, they’ll move back to the cooler water of their deep pools until around the last two hours before and after dusk, when feeding fish move into the shallow water again. At dusk, you might also be blessed with some awesome summer dry fly fishing too.

Plan your summer trout fishing for around sunrise and sunset and you’ll catch more trout.

Fly Fishing Deeper Water & Moving Water Is Best

Fly Fishing Deeper Water & Moving Water Is Best

Trout are always going to avoid warmer water if they can as it’s just uncomfortable for them to live in and it’s lacking aquatic insects too. They will always move to the coldest water temperatures they can find which means either going into deep water or fast-flowing water.

This means in order to catch fish in the summer months you need to be spending time casting your fly in deep pools of rivers, fast-flowing sections of rivers or fly fishing deep in lakes with a sinking line.

When you fish a section of deep water, you should also cover it methodically hitting every area at least once. When trout get warm the last thing they want to do is swim to eat something and will only suck in what flows right past their noses. This means your fly has to do just that in order to be eaten.

Start by casting by the bank close to you and then work your way across the pool first and then take a step forward and go again. By doing this you are giving yourself every chance of floating a fly past the nose of a lurking trout.

Fish At Night

Fish At Night

The big trout will tend to feed exclusively at night during the warmer months of summer time and your best bet for catching them is by fishing at night. Pick a night with a full moon as this makes your flies and highly visible in the darkness and try using a big fly like night crawlers or mouse patterns.

These flies should be fished in slower waters as bigger trout will tend to be wise and conserve energy, sitting higher in the water column in slow but deep areas of the river.

You can see our post on Tips For Trout Fishing at Night here more a more in-depth guide.

Use Small Flies

When a fly fisherman approaches rivers in summer, they are more likely to catch trout with smaller flies than with larger ones. Yes, a small bait might catch a small fish, but when it comes to fly fishing, some of the biggest fish are caught on the smallest flies.

The reason you will catch trout on a smaller fly in summer is that the water is much clearer and lower and therefore the trout can spot a phony imitation a mile away as a poor excuse for their natural food. Smaller flies are far better at imitating a trout’s natural food and far better at fooling trout too.

Use Small Flies

When fly fishing with nymphs, use small nymphs as your dropper fly in sizes 16-18 and then add a heavy large nymph in size 12-14 as your point fly to help the small fly get to the bottom layer of the water column, where the cold water is, and where the trout are. For more tips on nymphs fishing, see our post here on Nymph Fly Fishing.

Small flies should be used when dry fly fishing too. My best summer fishing days have been with a size 18 parachute Adams fished at dusk after a warm day covered in too much sun to even think a fish could be caught.

Or you can also see our post here on the Best Trout Flies for more selection.

Use Long Leaders

The trout in summer are not only sitting in clear water and being less active but they have also been fished for all spring, so they know what you, an angler, look like. If you so much as show them a dash fo fly line, they will have lockjaw until you leave and this is when long leaders come into play.

You should fish the longest leader you can turn over with your cast and I’m not talking 9 ft like the books say, we are talking up to 20 ft here but 15 ft would be ok too.

When you are fishing long leaders like this you will spook a lot less fish and be far less visible to them as well.

Find A Good Spot

Find A Good Spot

If you really want to be catching fish in the summer like there is no tomorrow, then you’re going to need to find a great location to do it in.

You have probably noticed the running theme of summer trout fishing means finding where the cold water and fish food is at one of the best spots for this is at inflows and outflows of lakes.

Where rivers or streams enter and leave lakes is an area that trout love in summer because it’s cool, full of oxygen, and there is lots of food there too. You will catch more trout at the inlet or outlet than anywhere else on the water during summer.

Watch The Weather

You have to be a little bit opportunistic when trout fishing in the summer and one opportunity you shouldn’t miss is a weather change.

If you suddenly get a cold front or lots of rain that either cools the waters or adds water to the systems then go fishing the next day. The same goes if you have a few cloudy days in a row without sun.

During these moments, the trout will take their opportunity of favorable conditions and start feeding actively and you should do the same when it comes to fishing too.

Find The Thermocline

Find The Thermocline

If you’re fishing for trout in a lake, dam, pond, or reservoir, you’ll catch the most fish by fishing in the thermocline. But, whats is the thermocline?

The thermocline is the middle layer of three layers the water column splits into during warmer periods. The upper layer will be warmer and void of fish and food for the fish whereas the next layer, the thermocline will be much cooler and full of insects for trout to eat and this is where the trout will be.

Finding the thermocline isn’t just key for fly fishermen, it’s important for a lure fisherman to find in order to catch trout as well. If you have a fish finder on your boat, you’ll be able to read the depth of the thermocline as it’s where all the fish will be hanging out.

You can see our post here on Best Fish Finders for Kayaks.

Fish Areas In The Backcountry

If there ever was a time to get into the backcountry and hook trout it’s during the summer. By the summer, the trout in your local waters are hot and they have seen way too many flies and anglers that they have probably taken a vow of lockjaw and won’t be sipping a hare’s ear any time soon.

In comparison, the trout in the backcountry will still be in cool water thanks to their higher altitude and they will have seen not nearly as many, perhaps not even a single angler by the summertime. This means they will be less spooky and more active, thus giving you some awesome summer fly fishing.

Another reason to get into the backcountry is to avoid non-anglers using the waters too. In summer we fly fishermen are often baffled to see others by the water since we have been there all year round but summer is when people kayak, swim, sail, SUP, and do more to stop fish from eating out flies.

By getting into the middle of nowhere, you know that this kind of thing isn’t going to happen on your fishing trip.

You can also see our Fly Fishing Backcountry post here.

Stay Hydrated

stay hydrated

If you’re anything like me, then when you start casting a fly rod and get into the zone, hours will pass by without you murmuring a word or even having a sip of water. This is a bit dangerous in summer so remember to keep drinking water and take some rehydration tablets with you too so you can get a boost if you need it. If you still want to know the basics of fly casting, see our post here on How to Cast a Fly Rod.

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