Now that we just two days past the 2016 Summer Solstice I thought it would be a great time to look at my favorite and most productive summer trout flies. Summer offers us a great opportunity to fish for trout all day long. While the high sun and bright days can create challenging conditions and spooky fish, but often the wind that can come with these “blue-bird sky” days can also offer a fly angler a chance to catch fish “on top” all day long. In this series of posts I will cover my top flies for trout in the summer, please keep in mind that the summer water temperatures are not always conducive to catch and release fly fishing so be sure to temp the water before you set out. 65 degrees is the temperature where I proceed with caution, If I can’t land a fish quickly I snap them off. 68 is the cut-off in my book, your mileage may vary, please be conscientious.
That said, these flies are my favorite because of their versatility and some of them are my favorite because I think they’re just buggy and get a kick out of catching fish on them. I’ve included some variations under the main pattern because many of these patterns are old staples that have been updated many times. How ever you cut it, terrestrials make up the longest reliable dry fly season for PA fly anglers. If I miss one of your favorites be sure to comment below and share your opinion.
Probably with out a doubt the most important summer dry fly any PA fly angler should have in their box. This was made especially clear to me one night when I watched Henry Ramsay’s presentation on terrestrials. Henry did an amazing job breaking down why ants are just so important to the dry fly angler. Ants are prevalent on almost all trout streams and finding where they live is a matter taking note of your surroundings. Look for over hanging branches and limbs, dead trees and stream crossings of any kind (think downed trees and bridges) are great places to find Formicidaes.
Ants come in a variety of sizes but I stick to sizes #16 – #14 with an occasional #12 thrown in there for good measure. Color is where you can drive yourself crazy with ants. Some people like a regular black ant while others maintain that certain streams demand cinnamon or brown or tan or red or bi-color brown and black, as you can see it can get a little crazy. And honestly, those are all good colors to have. Be sure to include a variety of colors and a variety of pattern adaptations including: winged ants, parachute ants, and foam ants. These patterns can be fished sitting high on top of the water or even submerged.
Trout love ants and will take them in a wide range of presentations. The key here is to locate a holding area or location where a trout is not only safe and has water but also is downstream or under a structure which would provide a reliable source of ants. When you look for it you will find these areas all over trout streams. It is important to consider wind when fishing terrestrials and ants are no different. When the wind blows and settles be sure to take notice and pay special attention to those lies and holding areas below over-hanging structures. You will most likely find a nice surprise hanging out waiting for an easy snack.
That wraps up the beginning of our list. Stayed tuned for patterns #2 thru 5 over the next few days!