Trout are funny critters. I get to see them in their natural state like…erry day. I dream about trout. There are certain times of year I enjoy watching trout as much as I do tricking and catching them. I mean…I see a trout eat a grasshopper and my first instinct is to throw foam and stick that troot. But I also just enjoy watching them eat and rise, uninterrupted…before I ruin their day a little. Nothing quite like tricking and challenging a wild trout. The ultimate battle, between nature and man…no Pokeman Go App required. Just a good cast, a decent drift…and an eager wild trout.
Trout do something really interesting during the summer. The cold blooded animals start to really wake up. As if someone poured nitro into their system, gave them a shot of adrenaline…their environment basically turbo charges them. As the water temp reaches that sweet spot of 55-60 degrees trout metabolism jacks and they have to eat to keep themselves going. Trout are in constant motion so to speak, so they always have their foot on the gas…sometimes they are going at a slow 5 mph…but when the water flows come up in the summer and the water temps rise….they start cruising at 55 and they need to keep the tank filled. Which means they gotta eat…and eat a lot.
Luckily nature provides and during the summer months all these things come together to help trout survive. The hot days make the grass grow tall and overhang the river banks, the bugs use the grass for shelter, to hatch, to mate, to hide from predators. But a good summer breeze, a drop in temps in the morning, a summer rain, they all cause insect life both terrestrial and aquatic to spring to life and that means they find their way into the river at some point. The trout that lurk under the surface know this, prepare for it, and key in on areas where food congregates. Whether it be a stonefly, caddis, or grasshopper, trout have plenty of food to eat in order to their tanks full.
Trout are in high energy mode, which is great because I like high energy days. You get to see trout be very aggressive, see them chase after food because they have energy to spare and food to compensate the expenditure. You find big trout tucked in the best positions for food. Up under grass, along logs, in big rock gardens, anywhere there is going to be a lot of food…that’s where there will be trout. A riffle in the upper stacked with Drake and PMD mayflies with some Yellow Sallies thrown in. A grassy bank in the lower with a foot of undercut and 3 foot long grass hanging heavy over the edge of the river…filled with caddis and stoneflies from the night before, and grasshoppers that wake up in the heat of the day. Or a big log with a deep drop off in middle farmlands, where a stonefly or grasshopper may flop onto the river surface while it makes its way across the log. These places and more hold trout eager to eat. And its fun to watch the show.
Watching trout peel off the bank to snap at flies, to see them spring from the depths and lunge out of the water fly in mouth, to watch as they open up their mouth in slow motion and roll on top of a fly…these moments make the day and happen on a regular basis. When the magic starts to happen, good boat tempo with anglers that are dialed in, listening to their guide, and in tune with the trout, can produce days where you are dealing with trout every few minutes. It’s how we get those big number days, or days where you just have silly fishing. The summer time is where its at. Early morning and late day fishing. Splitting the day up, taking a siesta in the afternoon while the trout digest the morning’s food, and then re-position to refill the tanks for the evening. Its constant, the trout get on a schedule and if you come ready to play…the trout usually don’t disappoint this time of year.
I have had a lot of really great days with clients the past 2 weeks. Excellent fishing, good conversation, with lots of smiles and handshakes. We have about 45 more days of this type of fishing before we transition to the fall season and then things really get fun. Hoppers are literally just starting…summer stones are hatching in the evenings and fish are on them early in the morning. We have yellow sallies still, drakes, and streamer fishing has still been fairly decent. Upper river is fishing more consistently, and the salmon are on their way up…its gonna be a good second half of the season…time to chase some wild trout.