With summertime on the horizon, we can’t help but get excited about the longer days, warmer temps, and exploring some of our favorite cold water fisheries! In honor of our favorite time of the year, we will be breaking down for you everything you need to know to make your summertime fly fishing trip a success. From apparel to responsible fish handling, this is your guide to having the best summertime fishing experiences this year!
Table of Contents
Planning Your Trip:
Whether this is your first time picking up a fly rod or if you are an experienced angler, planning ahead of your summertime fly fishing trip is a must to have the best day on the water. Trust me, don’t be the person who is frantically looking at google maps the morning of. I have been there along with many others, it makes your day significantly less fun. We want you to have fun, so here are a few important things to keep in mind when planning your summertime fly fishing trip.
Know where you want to go:
There are a handful of factors going into this decision such as target species, water temperature, the distance you are willing to travel, etc. Generally speaking, going up to higher elevations or fishing tailwaters (cold water below dams) is going to be your best bet to find cold water in the summer. If you are far away from a trout stream, then maybe you seek out a new river for some bass! Knowing where you want to go will help you with all the other steps below.
Go to your local Fly Shop:
Your local fly shop is going to be your best source for current information on the local fisheries. They will be able to help you dial in any big details you might be missing about the water you are looking to fish. The best tip is to bring in a 6 pack for the shop staff, they work hard to make sure you are taken care of for your trip so take care of them!
Check the local regulations where you are Fishing:
Make sure to purchase a fishing license for the state you will be fishing in. Fishing license sales go directly to help conserve the places we love to fish year-round! Some states may also require you to purchase “stamps” to add to your license for certain species.
Additionally, due to warmer temperatures and drought conditions across the Western United States. Many fisheries go into hoot owl restrictions or even river closures during the heat of summer. When these regulations are in place it might be a good time to chase some warm-water species such as bass and carp!
What to Bring?
I personally never take off my Chacos during the summer. Even when I take them off, you can see strong evidence of a “Chaco Tan” etched into my feet. They are by and far my favorite footwear for any summertime fly fishing adventure.
There are a lot of advantages to Chacos due to their versatility. Your feet are secured by the adjustable straps and you have confidence in the river or trail on their rubber soles (some areas only allow rubber-soled shoes in the river to protect from invasive species). Let’s not forget the water running on your feet to keep you cool on those hot summer days.
If you are going to be heading anywhere you might need a little extra support, wading boots paired with some wet wading socks are always a great option. If you are doing any sketchy hiking to get into your secret spots, ankle protection is always helpful.
- A light jacket: In the mountains, the mornings and evenings are cooler. Make sure you have a good lightweight jacket to keep you comfortable in the early hours.
- Lightweight Sun Shirt
- Lightweight pants: This is super important if you want to avoid cuts from any bushwhacking you might encounter.
- Sunglasses: Nobody wants a hook in their eye!
- Your favorite hat
Fishing Gear of Course!
- Fly Rod
- Good Pack
- Thermometer (to check water temps)
Other Essentials: Sunscreen, buff, frosty beverages.
You can’t forget your furry friends too!
Once again this is going to change depending on what you are fishing for. If you are fishing for trout, small rods and dry flies are the game. For your warm-water species, poppers can provoke incredible eats! If you would like to dive deeper into some specific tactics, here are some amazing resources.
Taking Care of The Fish
It is of the utmost importance we are proactively taking steps to preserve the fish and the places they live. This way we have many more summers to come where we can romp around creeks and rivers fishing to our hearts’ content. Here are the top things to consider to help protect the fish.
Water Temps: When summertime fly fishing, water temps are the biggest factor to consider for fish health. When it gets too hot, the fish are venerable to mortality from disease and stress. Make sure to check water temps in those hotter months and have a backup plan if your Plan A is too hot. You can even keep a thermometer with you!
Fight Fish Fast: Fighting fish fast reduces the stress on the fish. In warmer water, the fish have less oxygen and energy, to begin with, so the longer you fight the fish, the quicker it becomes stressed.
Keep em’ wet: How would you feel if someone held you underwater for an extended period of time? Our fish need to be in the water to breathe, as well as dry environments, can pull off any protective slime on the fish itself.
Here are some more resources for being a responsible angler on your summertime fly fishing mission.
Our Top Secret Spots
Do you really think we are going to give away our secret spots!?
The best part about summertime fly fishing is getting out there and adventuring! Whether you find yourself on the local pond fishing for panfish, or at a high alpine lake this summer we hope you discover your own special places to escape the heat! We hope these tips encourage you to get out and have a summertime fly fishing adventure of your own.
Thank you to Chaco for making this article possible! If you love trout just as much as we do, and love to protect them, their Thomas Rhett Collection supports our friends at Trout Unlimited. You can check out the collection HERE.