A little late (sorry readers!)...
As the summer solstice passes and we slide into the heat of mid-summer some anglers leave the trout streams thinking the fishing has slowed because major hatches are ending. This couldn’t be further from the truth-trout still feed and the streams aren’t as crowded. Now is when trout start to key in on terrestrial insects-land born bugs that are blown into the stream. Terrestrial fishing isn’t just about grasshoppers either-ants, beetles, crickets are also part of the mix. Ants and beetles are important because they’re more abundant, happen earlier in the year than people think, and they get fewer refusals because they’re smaller and fish can’t examine them as closely.
Two key factors you need to pay attention to are shade and water temperature. Shade comes in a variety of forms-grass lined undercut banks, undercuts in weed patches, bank side and submerged trees, limestone bluffs, and riffles. A stream thermometer is your best friend for mid-summer trout fishing because you want to find the coolest water in the stream.
Trout will be holding in shaded shallow water that’s near the bank so they can eat an insect the second it lands in the water. Try to fish your fly along bank side grass, lunker structures, pockets at the base of riffles, and fallen submerged wood. Make sure your fly lands on the water with a splat-this simulates an insect being blown into the water and landing hard-be ready for a strike immediately.
If you can’t give up your nymph fishing, the dry/dropper method is a great cover all bases searching technique. Simply take a foam terrestrial pattern and tie 18-30” of 5X tippet to the hook bend and tie a size 18 bead head nymph onto the tippet. This rig lets you fish the slightly deeper pockets along the bank and below the riffles and puts a subsurface fly in front of a fish that won’t come up to eat. The terrestrial serves as an “edible strike indicator” and when a fish eats it you hook him-win/win.
If you want to learn more about mid-summer terrestrial fishing, book a guide trip with Madison Fly Fishing Company here.