As we sit here today writing this article for June, it is the middle of May but it’s feeling like January: Rain, with the midday temperature in the mid 40’s, and the prediction of not hitting 70 degrees for the next few days. Global warming, not sure about that, but what we are sure about is that the rivers are in excellent shape heading into the early summer. The below average daytime temperatures have kept the water temperatures low for this time of year. Along with lower temperatures, the weekly rains of one to three inches have the river levels and flows in great shape for fishing.
All of the above notwithstanding, the trout fishing for June is looking great! It’s a terrestrial time of year, and throwing some larger dry flies always brings great joy to all. For clear waters, let’s lengthen the leaders out, tie on a few terrestrial patterns, and find a few overhanging bushes. Look for water below these bushes to be one to three feet, and shaded. Cast the bugs well up under the overhanging shrubbery, and allow good long drifts. After the bug lands upon the water and starts to drift, small twitches with the rod, making the terrestrial look to be struggling, will provoke strikes. Be persistent, stealthy, and follow the shade. As the daytime temperatures rise, so will the water temperatures, driving the trout to find thermal refuge in the deeper parts of the rivers.
Streamer fishing this time of year can be very productive in the early morning and evening hours. Taking notice of the small baitfish in the back eddies, and slower moving waters, is very beneficial. Using like colored and sized patterns of these baitfish will liven up the trip. Big fish can’t help themselves; they eat baitfish patterns. At times, a sink tip leader may be helpful in higher flowing and cloudy river levels produced from an afternoon thunderstorm.
All trout are present most of the year, but this time of the year also brings bass and panfish into the river fishing picture as well. Switching gears, from trout to bass/panfish is truly quite simple. Summer means ditching the waders, having a pair of shorts, wading boots and neoprene socks, one fly box, a lanyard with a couple of essentials attached, and having a cool way to spend a summer day in the water. Top water patterns should fill the fly box, and finding slow moving waters will make for an exciting day on the water. Please don’t struggle out there on the water, we offer guided fly fishing trips for these fine fish, along with all the gear as well.
As summer rolls up on us, thunderstorms can pop up at any given time, so keep an ear to the sky and an eye on the water level around the fishing spot. At times, thunderstorms roll over the upper river, and water will rise downstream after their passing. Let’s all remember to “Leave No Trace” out there, as it is the watershed that we all enjoy, so walking out with a little more than we walked in with will always help keep our rivers clean. Stop in and see us for all your fishing needs and pet Guss on your way to the rivers.
Karl and Karen Ekberg are co-owners of Chattooga River Fly Shop, located at 6832-A Highlands Hwy, Mountain Rest, SC 29664. Give them a call at (864) 638-2806 and visit their website at www.chattoogariverflyshop.com.