Fly Size For Summer Trout Fly Fishing
©2011 E. Macri All Rights Reserved
Summer fly fishing is often tough for many fly anglers. One of the reasons is that they still try to use the
flies they used in the spring for summer fly fishing. The biggest problem is the size factor. So this brief article
will give you a good idea of basically what size the flies are and what fly patterns in terms of size you should be
using. In one of our newsletters you should have realized about the size of Spring Creek insects.
Now with the exception of a few Drake flies, Hexflies and a few larger stone flies most of your summer insects tend to be smaller this is especially true for Eastern
streams, Western waters will still have their share of large flies.. Think about it! What size are Tricos and
even Caenis in the summer time? On some waters these are your main hatches with Sulfurs which
are size 16, which is one of the larger flies! Another reason especially in freestone streams is that when the
water is lower and has less volume, larger flies will sometimes spook the fish. I've watched this over the
years and I can tell you especially with streamers you may do more harm than good at certain times of the day
by fishing fly that is too large.
So let's have a quick discussion what size your fly should be. For streamers you want sizes 10 to 14. You also
would want skimpier flies. Tie them skimper at this time of the year and you'll get more fish. That's not to
say, that early in the morning or later in the evening when big fish are out prowling that a big streamer
won't work. But if you're going to fish normal daytime patterns you're better off with the smaller
Your other flies from your insect imitations to your midges should be in the range of 14 to 28. After size 22 is
much harder to hook fish to put it bluntly. Even your
nymphs at this time of the year should be
skimpier and smaller. One of the tricks you can use is to tie a smaller fly on a larger hook to increase the
probability of hooking the fish. They don't look as pretty but you'll hook more fish. Also remember that in the
summertime in Eastern streams flies like beadhheads especially on spring creeks as well as freestone
streams will often spook the trout. I'm sorry to inform you of that but that's the truth of the matter.
They may work all year out West but in the East they can be counterproductive.
In the summertime in freestone streams there may not be a lot going on unless you're there at certain time of
the day when a few insects are hatching. Trout in freestone streams in the summer often respond better to size then
imitation. Spring creeks however, it is usually a combination of both size and imitation.
A good method for summer fishing on freestone streams although this does work quite a bit on spring
creeks on some days, is to use the following method. Take three small soft hackles in the 14 to 18 size
range. One dark, one medium, and one light pattern and fish these in a variety of circumstances. Your best
technique is to fish them upstream in clear water, with just a bit of weight or just below the
surface. You will probably cover more water and catch more fish with this simple method than all the fly
patterns you can throw at the trout in the summertime. Why does this work? First of all this is sort of a system
used by many the English and Scotish fly fisherman that you'll find in our classic fly fishing books which we sell. It works because trout in a freestone
streams or in the Scottish Highlands streams which are similar to US waters are basically looking for anything to
eat without moving too far. The soft hackles resemble a variety of organisms that trout are used to feeding on and
the size does not spook them.
I have used this method for years on limestoner too. I always try this first. Why! Because you want to make fly
fishing as simple as you can in terms of the system if you can get away with it. And by understanding what
size does in the summer and how the fish react you'll understand how to catch more trout.
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©2017 E. Macri