Summer Fly Fishing for Trout

As the temperatures rise, the sandals come out and the fish start eating dry flies. Yes, you guessed it, summer fly fishing is here already, and this can be some of the most rewarding times on the water. Whether you plan to kayak or simply wade, guest blogger and fly fishing guide, Jake Smith will focus on what flies you can use to target summer trout. 

The rivers we will focus on are based around the shop in Western North Carolina. We have a significant population of Brookies, Browns, and Rainbows. The rivers generally have tight corridors and are shallow and clear in the summer. These conditions can make for some great fishing but can also be tricky.

Before we dive into what flies you should be throwing for trout, let’s talk about the gear you will need to target trout in the summer. We prefer a 9ft 4wt fly rod for the summer months as it allows us to deliver flies and lighter tippets with ease. We pair our fly line and reel to a 9ft 6x leader. The fish in our local river systems are generally smaller, so we feel relatively comfortable with that tippet strength.

When targeting trout, we like to use a dry dropper rig or a dry fly rig. Both can be effective even when there is no hatch occurring. The bug life can be lower in our local rivers, so we recommend going big on your flies above the surface to attract the fish in the river. Learn more here about the dry dropper rig.

Here are some examples to consider:

Fly #1 The Chubby Chernobyl is simply a fly that we cannot be without almost every day on the water in the summer. This fly comes in a variety of colors and imitates a variety of terrestrial insects on the water. They Float high in the water column; we like to fish this dry fly in a dry dropper rig.

Fly #2 The Elk Hair caddis performs excellent when there are various caddis in your local river. Caddis can vary in color, so we recommend matching the hatch accordingly to your preferred fishery.

Fly #3 The Puff Daddy has been a southern staple for quite some time and originated just over the mountain range in Eastern Tennessee. This fly can be made quickly with CDC feathers, and it rides sideways on top of the water. We recommend tying them in a Sulphur pattern.

Fly #4 The Girdle Bug always manages to perform when you get those summer storms popping up. We might get an influx of rain which can cause the river to become very stained. Summer is generally a great time to throw a girdle bug as it offers plenty of profile in the water for trout to key in on. Play with weighted and unweighted girdle bugs and see what happens.

Fly #5 When no bugs exist, the trout key in on other fish for the primary forage. There are a variety of streamers in the world, but the micro changers have become one of our favorites with their articulating spines, sharp hooks, and realism. This is a fly pattern that should not be left out of your fly box.

Summer fly fishing can be a blast, and we hope to see you out on the river this summer. We always recommend flipping rocks and being your own investigator on the river. We look forward to seeing and hearing about your fishy adventures.


Read Jake's Trout Blog Blog HERE

Book a trip with Jake Smith HERE 

Written by Jake Smith, Feelfree US Marketing & Fly Fishing Guide

Photography by WEST ASHE


Jake's Fly Fishing Adventure Build

-Feelfree Gear Roadster 25L

-Fishpond Tacky Pescador XL Fly Box 

-Lamson Velocity 9ft 4wt

-Lamson Guru Reel 

-Orvis Pro Textured Line WF4

-Astral PFD Wet Wading Sandals