6 Late Summer Fly Fishing Tactics

6 Late Summer Fly Fishing Tactics | Jackson Hole Fly Company

It's August, which means the stonefly, mayfly, and caddis hatches of early summer have passed us by. While things seem to be quiet on the river, the fly fishing is as good as it gets here in the west. Some of our best days of the year happen in mid to late August when flows are low, rivers are clear, and the hatches are thin. Here are a few helpful tips to keep the bite alive when the dog days of summer set in?

1. Terrestrials are Key – Look to the banks for our trout’s favorite late summer food source: the hopper. While the hatches of mayflies and caddis may be thin on rivers in August, the banks are alive and loaded with these tasty snacks. Hoppers are generally the fish favorite and consistently catch great trout from mid-August through late-September.

2. Nymph the Fast Water – During the summer months, focusing on faster riffles and glides is usually a good way for finding active fish with nymphs.

3. Cover the Slower Water with Dries – In the summer, when flows are lower and fish are more easily spooked, try dry fly fishing in the slower water. It's less disruptive to cast and drift dry flies, and it's not uncommon to bring fish to the top while blind throwing dries this time of year.

4. Think Small – There’s nothing wrong with occasionally throwing large flies, like a hopper, golden stone, or Woolly Bugger. But late summer is prime time for busting out small patterns, like ants, beetles, mayflies, and caddis. Tie them on with 5X or 6X tippet, then target shady areas, riffles, and undercut banks, and minimize false casts, to avoid spooking fish.

5. Early Riser – Fish early in the morning or late in the evening because summer days are longer than spring and fall days, allowing us to fish earlier and later in the day. As a result, you can avoid extreme midday temperatures while the fish are still active and the environment is still fresh.

6. Find Shade – During the long daylight hours this time of year, following shade lines as they move can keep you fishing in front of more active fish. Pay attention to which sections of the river are shaded at different times during the day; the fish do.

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