The “dog days” are here already. The hot days of summer keep trout and anglers in the coolest locations they can find. For trout, this means the spring holes and the deepest parts of the stream or lake. For myself, and my dog, this means sleeping on the couch in front of the fan.
Of course, it is possible to catch trout: however, the question is: Is it always the best thing to do? When water temperatures get above 67 degrees a caught trout’s chances of survival diminishes rapidly, and it becomes a moral question if it is even right to fish for them. My personal strategy is to fish very early mornings or late evenings, and I pick days when the air temperature is in the low 80s.
For the most part, I put trout fishing on hold during the dog days and target warm-water fish such as bass, pickerel and other assorted pan fish. These fish are far more rugged than trout and can survive in much warmer water. I love to fly fish for bass in the summer months.
I don’t own a boat and even if I did, I would stay away from the big lakes. I much prefer the small ponds where I can wade or fish from a personal watercraft. There are hundreds of small ponds all over our area that hold bass. Most all of these ponds have public access and are close to home.
The real bass anglers, the ones that own specially equipped boats with sonar, have the same problem as fly fishermen; we are all obsessed with owning fancy gear. If you are a trout guy the same gear you use for trout will work fine for bass.
If you plan on throwing large deer hair bugs, you will be better off with a seven or eight weight rod, however, a five or six weight will do just as well. As for flies, bass eat the same things as trout do. I do like to fish with poppers, both the cork and the deer hair varieties. If I am fishing for pickerel, I use the biggest streamers I own; the brighter the better.
As with trout fishing, evenings and early mornings are still the best time. After a long hot day, there is no better way to cool off than sitting in a float tube on a quiet pond. There is no need for waders. Just wear a bathing suit and maybe some bug spray.
Cruise the parameters of the pond and cast into the lily pads where bass love to wait in ambush for their prey. Let your bug sit for as long as you can before retrieving it. Often the strike will come while the lure is sitting still. If not, try a couple of short jerks and let it rest again. Cast and repeat again until you get a strike.
Always take a few moments to sit back and enjoy your surroundings. Watch the sunset or look up at the stars and remember that summer goes quickly and needs to be savored.
See you on the river.