4 Types of Trout Water to Target During the Summer

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During the summer I often search out water with the highest oxygen levels. Photo Louis Cahill

Are you finding that the dog days of summer are limiting the time you have success on the water trout fishing?

Generally, the best time to trout fish in the heat of the summer is the first and last couple hours of the day. This is when the air and water temperatures are the coolest and the oxygen levels in the water are at there highest. That being said, there are a few things you can do to help you buy yourself a couple extra hours of good fishing. Below are four types of trout water I target during the summer.

1. Fish the Upper Sections of your streams and rivers

Targeting the upper sections of your streams and rivers during the summer often will provide anglers better trout fishing than on the lower sections. This is usually true because the water temperatures fluctuate less and are significantly cooler than on the lower. The water closest to the outflowing source will be cooler because the warm air and sun will not have time to heat the water. So during the summer, stick to fishing the first few miles of river on your tailwaters and fishing the upper sections of your spring creeks (spring creeks flow out of the ground at consistent temperatures year round).

2. Target Turbulent Water

Not all trout will migrate huge distances upriver to search out cooler water as long as the water temperatures do not get high enough to threaten their survival. When this is the case, trout will often just migrate to areas of the stream or river where there’s higher oxygen levels. Such places will be your more turbulent water like pocket water and riffles. When the sun gets high and the air temperatures are in the 80s and 90s, I search out sections of trout water that have a drop in elevation. That’s where you’ll find increased levels of oxygen and the highest concentrations of waterfalls, pocket water and riffles.

3. Target Heavily Canopied Sections of Water

Trout water that’s protected from the sun by a thick overhead canopy will always hold water temperatures slightly cooler than stretches of water exposed to the sun because of the shade it provides. Try targeting these areas once the sun gets high in the sky, and you’ll find the trout will be more active. It also will be a plus that you’ll also be much more comfortable fly fishing in the shade and out of the sun.

4. Dredge Deep Pools

The deeper down you go in the water column the cooler the water temperatures are going to be. If you can find deep pools in the summer and dredge them with nymphs, you usually will be able to find some success targeting the trout holding on the bottom in the cooler water. It can be tricky at times getting that perfect drift but it usually will pay off with persistence.

Try targeting these four types of trout water next time you hit the water this summer and you should be able to catch a few more fish, and extend your fishing a couple of hours before they shut down.

Keep it Reel,

Come fish with us in the Bahamas!

Kent Klewein
Gink & Gasoline
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10 thoughts on “4 Types of Trout Water to Target During the Summer

  1. We are fortunate to have many small feeder streams in N. MIchigan that rarely bump 65 degrees in the summer months, loaded with overhead cover and undercut banks for immediate trout refuge. I, personally, look forward to the warmth and long days of summer to search out new waters that hold beautiful trout. Thanks for the pointers, I shall be looking at water differently…
    Tight Lines~

    • Brain,

      We need to meet up next time we drive up your way. I’ve never fished in Michigan. That is, if you would have us. Thanks for the comment. Keep up the good work with TNT.


  2. It’s funny, I just got back from a day trip and the three places I had the most success were riffles, a stretch of water in the shadow of a tall limestone bluff, and dragging nymphs through the bottom of deep pools. Very on point post.

  3. Just got back from fishing to read this post. Its like it was written for our trip today! A buddy and I were fishing in the headwaters of a major watershed and found trout in all of the above mentioned areas. Today especially they were in riffles and more turbulent water and didn’t seem to be looking up today with the overcast skies and low bug activity. A little small stream euro-nymphing did the trick though ;). We caught an awesome slam with some of the prettiest browns and rainbows I’ve seen in a while, and 3 huge, gorgeous brookies as well. Also a fun run-in with a big resident brown too (almost had ’em but he bested me yet again). Truly a great day on the water.

  4. Good stuff Kent.

    It is ironic that deep pools are the ticket in summer and in winter.

    I love to fish cooler times of day as you suggest. I find that on summer evenings on my home river, bigger trout often tend to move from pools or deeper holding water to flats below riffles. I am not sure whether that is a function of hatch or higher oxygen. But it happens. This year with incessant rain and generation, fishing in the evening has been nonexistent.

  5. Pingback: Tippets: A Little Clarity, Late Summer Strategies, Give Trout a Break | MidCurrent

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