Trout fishing this summer may be more difficult that it is during a more typical summer, whatever than it. I have long ago given up on trying to decide what typical means. Things tend to even out. If it is to hot for a while, then it will be too cool for a while. Too much rain or snow, then too dry for a while. So forget about thoughts that might discourage fishing and take a look at midsummer trout fishing.
You can do a lot of fishing along area creeks, walk many miles along the stream banks, without encountering another trout angler. You will have this practically to yourself. Do not get the notion that you have it to yourself because of any lack of trout, or because trout will not hit. Fishing can be excellent any time.
Summertime trout fishing is different, though, from trout fishing during April and May. Most of the great aquatic insect hatches are done, though not all. Streams are usually low and clear. The water is relatively warm, although some of our smaller, headwaters streams that are shaded by hemlocks stay pretty cool.
Put a couple cans of pop in one of these hemlock shaded creeks when you start fishing, assuming that you will return the same way, and you will enjoy cold drinks when you get back.
There are some great summertime trout fishing tactics. One summer while fishing the Lackawaxen River I met a fellow who was having very good luck. I watched him catch several trout before he noticed that I was watching. But he was not secretive. He generously shared his tactic.
It seems that quite a few trout move out of the Delaware River and run up the Lackawaxen seeking cooler water. This fisherman had caught several stone fly nymphs. He had constructed special hook rigs, made by attaching two small wires to thin wire, long shank hooks, about size #14. He tied the nymphs on the hooks with the two wires.
His success was there for anyone to see.
A more common summertime trout fishing tactic, although it was more popular several years ago, is fishing with grasshoppers or crickets. These are hooked, using fine wire hooks, through what we called the 'collar'. No weight is used, which makes casting a bit difficult. What we did was to underhand the bait into the water, then feed out line until it drifted wherever we wanted it to go.
Stealth is required to avoid scaring trout, but if things go right this is a very efficient fishing tactic.
More likely than seeing bait-fishermen, you will see an occasional fly-fisher along the streams during summer. One of the guys you may bump into is Gary Kell. Besides being a dedicated fly fisherman, he has earned the title of Master Certified Casting Instructor from the Federation of Fly Fishermen.
Earlier this summer I spent some time with Kell along a few local trout streams where I asked him for pointers on using terrestrial flies.
Terrestrials are insects that live on land, but frequently fall into streams where they are welcomed as meals by trout. I asked Kell to name his top three choices for terrestrial insect patterns in the waters he fishes which are in, or close to, the Allegheny National Forest.
"I would say it would be the beetle, an ant, and the inch worm. We've got so much forest you've got to have an inch worm," he said.
Green, inch-long worms are a classic terrestrial in Pennsylvania. The Green Inch Worm, made with light green bucktail and segmented by green thread, is a popular pattern. Other small worms vary in color from cream-white to dark brown, and they can be tied the same way. These may be used effectively through summer.
Beetles might be more of an all-around fly pattern. The list of beetles which inhabit local creek banks is long.
Most are black, some shiny or iridescent. But beetles, Kell thinks, are not used very much. Tying beetles is quite easy. Some are made simply with a disc of foam rubber. One of Kell's beetle patterns is made with deer hair and peacock. He suggested tying beetle patterns on hook sizes #12 through #16.
Black ants probably are more popular among local fly-fishers. Ants also vary in size. Fly patterns are commonly sizes #12 to #22. They may be all black, which is generally best in this area, cinnamon, black and red, or all red.
When using aquatic insect fly patterns, flies usually should be presented to lies in or along primary currents. Trout that are looking for terrestrial insects likely will lie near shore. Kell suggested drifting them alongside logs since this is a likely place to find them naturally.