Secrets of Late Summer and Early
Fall Trout Fly Fishing
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© 2017 E. P. Macri Jr.
Successful late summer and early fall fishing involves a different approach for trout fly
fishing. The best patterns include terrestrials and smaller nymphs but this won't help you if you don't understand
what's going on in your streams. First understand the difference between a spring creek and a freestone streams. In
a spring creek summer trout may feed at any time because of the constant water temperature. In a freestone stream
it's a complex interaction between the water temperature and the
In some freestone streams
that get too warm the trout will immediately move upstream seeking colder waters in the form of tribs or springs
entering the stream some which may not show up but enter in stream. Water temperature is the most important factor when fishing freestone streams
in the summer. Also, remember that trout are acclimated differently to temperature in which they live in.
So one stream may find trout feeding at 67f while another stream may have them feeding as high as
Trout won't feed much in
extremely warm water. So if you don't have a proper temperature regime for a couple of days the fish won't be on
the feed. It may take two or three cool nights to get the water temps to a point where the fish will be feeding.
And the fish may only feed for a short period of time in a freestone stream. Remember it's whether the stream is
rising or falling to the optimum temperature range in that stream for those trout that will cause
In freestone stream trout
will feed very early in the morning 4:00 a.m. to 7:00 .am. on most waters for a short period of time. On some water
they will also feed from around 12:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. in my experiences. So what can you use to catch the fish?
As fall approaches the water temps will change the behavior of the trout but many streams because they are so low
at this time will have wide fluctuations in the stream temperature because the low depth of the waters warm
and cool quickly.
and Fall Trout Flies
The best flies for late summer and fall trout are
terrestrials and small nymphs (with this exception). Why? Because that's
usually what's active at this time of the year. There are exceptions with a few hatches with larger
flies but they are the exception. Ants and Beetles are your best bet for summer fishing on both freestone and
spring creeks for most of the summer. There are lots of different kinds and they get on the water
in variety of ways. This is especially true in a woodland stream where there are always a lot ants and
For pattern size you should have your boxes stocked with a
variety of sizes from 8 to 18. Use foam, fur, and deerhair ants and beetles. Because some days
the fish will actually be selective to the type rather than color. I like ants in black, brown, cinnamon and
orange. Beetles should be in a variety of colors.
Nymphs can be small fur patterns in sizes 16 to 22. These
are usually general color patterns although small sulfur nymphs and blue winged olives. Any dark brownish olive
nymph should work especially if ribbed with some fine copper wire.
Fishing for Late Summer and Fall
The first mistake most fly
anglers make in the summer is thinking they can fish like they did in the spring. 'Wrong! You must find your
fish and make the proper cast. You don't have much room for mistakes because the fish will be exceptionally spooky
especially in a freestone stream. Spring creek trout are always wary but freestone trout in the summer are
usually in very low conditions of water. Look for a pod of trout which will occur in certain sections of a
stream. The fish will actually gang up in areas on many streams. They will take an ant or beetle or small nymph
because they are use to see them. Play your fish quickly because you can stress summer and fall
trout even in cooler waters.
These are the best techniques for the early morning
fish. What about evening fishing! Find an area you know where they will be or spot them ahead of
time. Throw a large beetle or large ant is your best bet in my fishing experience. You might be
surprised at what you may catch. There are some large fish even in freestone streams and a big beetle or ant
will take them!