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Summer Flies

Best Trout and Steelhead Summer Flies

Summer brings regular Mayfly and Stonefly hatches, but also means that more land-based insects are present. Our top 20 Summer Trout / Steelhead Fly selection has world-famous dry patterns for Mayfly, a modern classic for Stonefly (and Caddis too), and a killer Hopper fly. But don’t forget the nymphs: our ‘best of’ for April through June also includes three time-honored patterns for wet fly fishing.

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What are the Best Flies for Summer Trout?

In early April there are still aquatic hatches of darker insects but, as the colder months turn into warmer ones, then colors tend to change. As April turns to May and then to June, hatches usually mean adults in colors better fitting the season (green, tan and lighter brown, or yellow) – including Stonefly, who start hatching in earnest during June.

Blue Winged Olives are still found in many places (which is why we’ve included dry flies to fish not just the hatch, but also parachutes for the ‘spinner’ phase). However, our view is that two of the best dry flies to fish for Trout (and Summer Steelhead) at this time of year are the Royal Wulff and Yellow Sally.

Our pick: The Yellow Sally

These are smaller Stonefly, no more than three quarters of an inch. They are fairly widespread, and hatches can occur as early as the end of April, but usually they are seen from June to August. The nymphs breathe through their skin, which restricts them to smaller, faster, higher, more rocky, and – above all – cleaner streams, where the water’s oxygen content is high. Adults return to water to lay their eggs, and it is this behavior (rather than a hatch) that is generally reckoned to be the better choice to represent with dry flies.

Two more tips for Summer fly fishing

First, don’t neglect ‘terrestrial’ patterns: many a land-based insect ends up swept, blown, knocked, dropped or washed into the water, and stomach content studies show that Trout feed on these bigger insects extensively. Last, remember also that you can fish nymphs for many hatches just as well as – or even better than – dry flies.

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