Posted on July 06, 1999 at 22:18:50:
Tactics For August Trout
The month of August presents challenges for the most persistent of trout anglers. Warm water, reduced flows, and minimal hatching activity can drive fly flingers into pursuing warmwater species such as bass, pickerel, and perch. There is no need to stop trout fishing. Yes, the trout are still there and they are still feeding. You may need to modify your thinking a bit. . I will give you a few strategies to meet the August challenge.
Salmonids(trout and salmon) are often referred to as cold water fish. Cold water can hold more oxygen than warm water. Trout need much dissolved oxygen in the water and should be thought of as "oxygen loving fish" more than cold water fish. Another important condition that favors water oxygenation is turbulence. Find some riffles, turbulent pockets, falls, or anything that creates tiny air bubbles and you have prime August trout habitat. These places act much like the "air stones" used in aquariums and help to oxygenate the warmer water. Of course one should become familiar with the stream thermometer and search out cold springs whenever possible. Every good trout stream has a few of these. For reasons stated earlier these places will hold fish. If fishing deep lakes look for thermoclines and fish the cooler layers.
Fish are ectothermic (cold blooded). Unlike us they cannot maintain there body temperature or metabolic processes at an optimum consistent level. That means that their metabolic processes are related to the water temperature around them. This is exemplified in the early Spring when cold water temperatures cause fish to act lethargic both in feeding and fighting. Later as temperatures warm the fish are more active. If using this line of reasoning one would expect that August trout should be in metabolic overdrive! However this is not the case. Reduced oxygen levels create a condition where trout may act more like they do in very cold water. Feeding may not be continuous throughout the day as fish bury their snouts into small springs to savor the cool oxygen rich water. Learn to accept this.
Other biological activity around trout will stimulate them to feed. This is best exemplified by the "hatch" However, August hatches may be subtle and may often go unnoticed due to the small size of the emerging adults. August is midge season (Diptera) and your best excuse for buying that two or three weight flyrod that you fondle every time you go to the flyshop. The heavy hatches of the more prominent orders are ending. Fine tippets and small flies may be the rule. The order Diptera is fascinating and challenging. Don't forget about terrestrials such as hoppers, ants, and beetles. These are fun to fish and can often bring up that opportunistic trout .
August technique is critical as water levels are low and fish easily spooked. Be especially aware of any shadows that you may be casting upon the water. Again long fine leaders on low line weight rods are very helpful. I find that very early mornings and late evenings are the best bet. Your greatest enemy in August is the sun. Often the fish that inhabited a certain pool all through June may have migrated to a shady cool pocket by August. You often will not catch fish in your usual "favorite spots" when things get warm. Be sure to fish the pockets, falls, and other "textured" water.
Patience and a willingness to try new places and techniques is all that is necessary to catch August trout. Always remember that they are there, somewhere, and feeding on something, sometime. Be persistent!