Working Through The Dog Days

By Karl Ekberg

As we roll through the “Dog Days of Summer” the rivers here around us have warmed up considerably. At times, we have stopped fishing for trout, as catching them in the heat and the warmer water temperatures, leads to mortality. One saving grace is that our water levels have been good, with thunderstorms dumping much needed rains into the watersheds. The outlook is for continued summertime conditions, with thunderstorms keeping water levels and temperatures about the same as they are at now. Any type of small drought will lead to much lower levels and much higher water temperatures than most shallow dwelling trout can survive. Higher elevation head waters, creeks, and streams will definitely be everyone’s best bet for later summertime fishing for trout.

The rivers are loaded with a large amount of small nymphs. While fishing, take a minute to turn some rocks over to find these and do not hesitate to tie on a nymph resembling these, trailing behind a larger stonefly. Tying these smaller nymphs on behind a larger stonefly nymph pattern will allow the flies to get deeper in the water column, where the fish are holding. Don’t hesitate to pinch a small piece of split shot on your line to get deeper, if you are not catching.

Terrestrials have also been productive, using small beetles, ants, hopper, and small cricket patterns. Casting these towards the over-hanging foliage, and a dead-drift & twitch method will produce for you. These patterns will continue to work throughout the remainder of the summer.

If the trout are being a little tough to catch, a great day on the rivers is the Bass and Panfish. Lower sections of the river are fishing good now. Top water and streamers seem to be the big hit now for a successful day. Wet wading is an enjoyable day to beat the heat of summer. A small pack, plenty of fluids (to keep hydrated), a small fly box, a good pair of polarized sun glasses, exploring waters you might not normally fish, what a way to spend a summer day, and did we mention, catching fish on a fly rod.

While out on your day of fishing, expect afternoon thunderstorms, and the river level to raise slightly. Although it may not be raining where you are fishing, the river level may start to rise as rain may come over the river upstream, so keep an eye on the water level around you. Let’s all remember to Leave No Trace, and let’s all take out of the woods a little more than we walked in with for a better place for all of us tomorrow.

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

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