Summer’s heat is not yet gone but you can feel it waning when you stand in the comfortable shade or feel a cool breeze across your face. It’s not hard now to imagine next month’s cool, crisp mornings and dry, comfortable afternoons. If you are lucky enough to get a morning free of fog on the White this time of year, the air and sunshine are incredibly clear and bright.
But right now the dull roar of cicadas in the trees focuses your attention on the bank, where water and fish meet land and bugs. The result of this combination is an event you want to witness, so you stare intently at your fake foam bug floating helplessly closer to those overhanging limbs, that cut bank, that boulder eddy. To see a brown snout close over that floating fly, dang wouldn’t that just make your day. Just don’t set too quick, ok?
A San Juan Worm and a Super Midge 7-9ft. under an indicator is a rig that few guides would change drastically from under heavy flows. It has been my go-to setup for some time. The worm should be large enough or bright enough to draw attention, thus increasing the number of fish getting a look at the more subtle midge offering. Variations include a weighted egg or yarn fly instead of the worm, or a mayfly nymph of some kind instead of a midge. Different worm colors can work better at different times, so keep an assortment of reds, pinks, and naturals. Egg flies are usually best in peach, pink, or orange, and will continue to fish better as autumn draws nearer. Micro mayfly nymphs, pheasant tails, and hare’s ears are great pairings with your attractor, as are the trusty Super midge or Whitetail midge. Hoppers continue to pull some great brown snouts off the banks early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Black seems to be the preferred color (perhaps the fish take it for a cricket or a cicada?) but the wise will not forget that pink was champion for a time, purple has had its time in the spotlight, and tan will never die.
The generation schedule is still offering wade fishermen some quality hours from daylight to lunch. Ruby midges, zebra midges, and other midge variety suspended under a small float are standard. Pair your midge with a Sunday Special or tungsten Pheasant Tail to sink it in the fast runs. Small terrestrials patterns like foam beetles and ants can be fun to sight cast at trout working shallow edges in late summer. Two generators pumping in the afternoons means time to switch to a large worm fly – try a Cannon’s worm for a change from the ol’ San Juan, which also works – and get it right on the bottom with plenty lead. Look for washouts behind flooded grass, where trout will wait for prey to be swept out. Or call them in with a Schmidt Double Deceiver fished deep on a sink tip.