One of the best ways to beat the heat during the hottest part of the summer is with a fishing trip to your local trout stream. Before you do, there are a few things to consider, that will impact your fishing day and where you should be looking to find happy and unstressed fish. First off, check the stream temperatures, some streams have gauges that measure temperatures that are available online, but to be sure we recommend carrying a stream thermometer around with you. If you find that the stream temperatures are any higher than 67 F, you should start looking for other types of water that will be cooler in temperature and hold trout that are more willing to feed!
If the Stream Temps Are Lower Than 67 F…
If you find that your trout stream is below 67 F, you should start looking for the types of water that trout will use as a refuge from the heat above. First of all, look for shady sections of the stream, trout will head here to get out of the sun and to hide from surface predators. Next, you want to start looking for features in the water that are conducive to quick flows that allow lots of oxygen to get into the water. Start fishing in the riffles, pools and deep cuts in the water and you will find your fish. Just be sure to follow best fish handling practices during the Summer and keep em wet for as long as possible.
If you find that your first choice of water is too high, we have a few options below you should check out before you give up on fishing!
With the exception of hot springs and geysers, most rivers and streams that are spring-fed maintain lower water temperatures than their surface fed counterparts, with many holding at near-perfect temperatures and flows all year round. These make them prime summering water for trout of all kinds, and during the summers sometimes even hold migratory trout that otherwise wouldn’t be holding there. Just remember to be as stealthy as possible as you move along, spring creek trout tend to be spooky!
Mountain streams are my personal favorite piece of water to escape the summer heat. The altitude of the mountains combined with the cold clear waters make a perfect refuge from the heat in the valley. Because they are shaded and descend out of the mountains quickly, they stay cool even in the summer heat, providing even more cool water for trout to hold in during the hottest time of the year. Just pack your 3 WT, a box of dry flies and head for the hills!
Tailwaters are a term for any stream that begins at a dam. Although many are man-made trout habitats, as long as the dam releases water from the bottom of its reservoir, this creates spring creek-like temperatures year-round. Many of these tailwaters, like the Deerfield River near us in Massachusetts host great trout fishing and hatches all summer long even when the air temperatures reach their highest. Just be careful and check release schedules before you arrive, some tailwaters can get dangerous during high water and can even raise water levels with little warning.
Dan Zazworsky’s passion is sharing his love of fly fishing with anyone that will listen, read or watch. You can find him exploring new waters every day while chasing any fish that will eat a fly!