summer trout

Tactics and Tips for Catching Summer Trout

Summer Trout Fishing Tips, Tactics, and Gear 

Once June comes to an end, many trout fishermen put away the rods until next spring unfortunately. Warmer temperatures start to set in and can make fishing a little tougher. For fisherman that want to keep after it, great days of fishing can still be had. Use some of these tips and tactics this summer to catch more trout.

Find the feeder streams 

When water starts to warm up a little bit, trout are going to look for the coldest water they can get. Feeder steams will be dumping cold water in and trout will congregate at them. Finding a big feeder stream will usually put you in front of a lot of trout in July and August. Fisherman should keep in mind that trout will become more stressed in warmer water. Always handle fish gently and be sure to get trout that are caught back into the water as soon as possible if practicing catch and release.  

Cover the water thoroughly 

This is sometimes a concept that might be overlooked by many. When water temperatures start to rise, trout are not going to use any unnecessary energy to chase after food that is far away. They will wait where they are for food to come to them. This is why it is crucial to cover the water you are fishing very thoroughly. Whether fly fishing, spin fishing with some bait, or throwing a lure, be sure to cover that water. When attacking a stretch of water, run, or pool, start at the bottom and the side closest to you. Make casts at this same level as you just out the creek farther. When your casts reach the other side of the creek, make your next set of casts up a little farther and just repeat across the creek again. Keep going until you have reached the top of the pool you are trying to cover and then move to your next stretch. Using this tacticyou will try to ensure that you are putting your bait, fly, or lure directly in front of fish. Many fly fishermen have the mentality that they want to drift their fly right into a trout’s mouth without them even moving. Having that mentality will force you to cover the water as thoroughly as possible.  

Fish Deep 

This one is simple, fish the deepest water you can find. Deep water is going to be much colder in temperature at the bottom. Trout are going to find this deep water and stay towards the bottom. This is where previous knowledge and time spent fishing comes in handy. If you were out during the spring a lot, return to places where you noticed big deep pools. Chances are that trout will be congregating in those areas.  

Focus on fishing early and late 

It’s no secret that the best times of the day to catch trout during the summer will be early in the morning and at the end of the evening. These will be the coolest parts of the day with the least amount of sun, and when trout will be most likely to feed. As a bonus, it’s much more pleasant for us to be out there during those times of the day anyways. Fly fisherman can still find good surface feeding action during the summer months in the evenings and lure fisherman can find more aggressive fish during these hours.  

Avoid fishing pressure 

Trout have now been fished for several months by fishermen. They will become more educated, wary, and overall can be tough to catch. This is especially true in easy access areas that get fished the heaviest. Think outside the box and try to hit some spots that are tougher to access, or creeks that weren’t so popular among fisherman in the spring. Finding trout that are quite as educated will increase your odds of success drastically.  

Huk KC Scott Freedom Fish T-Shirt

Allen Gunnison Switch Olive Fishing Pack

Best Weather Conditions for Trout Fishing

Weather Conditions and Trout Fishing 101

Before your next trout fishing outing, be sure to take a look at the weather conditions and see what’s expected. Many fishermen will get excited when they see what looks like pleasant weather for being outside. Fairly warm temperatures, a little bit of sunshine, no rain, and the list could go on. If you want to catch more trout let’s learn a little bit more about how the weather conditions will affect trout, how they feed, and how that translates to your success.

Let’s get right to it. Those bright sunny days are not the good ones for trout fishing, at least most of the time. Cloudy with light rain is the absolute best weather conditions you can ask for when heading to the stream. When the weather looks as if you might get wet, that’s not a bad thing. The best days I have trout fishing every spring are on days just like this. I can remember back to a handful of days in recent years where myself and group have just absolutely slammed trout with rain coming down and had the creek to ourselves. Too much heavy rain could end up in creeks being blown out in the preceding days, but if the water is in good shape the day you want to fish and you have cloud cover with some light rain, you could be in for a treat.  

You might be thinking to yourself cloudy and rainy days are very common in the spring. The answer might be yes, but the amount of days that are fishable in these conditions might be few and far between depending on the year. Yes, we have had tons of rain this spring, but that has given us blown out creeks all too often. That high and muddy water has taken away so many of our days to fish just to begin with. Of the days where the water has been in good shape, if we have clouds and rain it has usually meanthunderstorms along with them. Obviously, out fishing on the stream is no place to be in a thunderstorm. f you think about how many days the water has been in good shape, with cloudy and rainy weather but with no thunderstorms, it might not be quite as many days as you had anticipated.  


Let’s take a look at why these different weather conditions can affect the trout fishing so drastically. The reasons that a bright and sunny day are tough are fairly obvious. In sunny conditions trout can see us much easier as well as our fishing line, tippet, leader, or fly line. The sun also exposes them to predators from above. All those things considered, trout are usually much more spooky and less likely to feed as heavily on days like this. On the other hand, cloudy days make fish feel safer. They aren’t as worried about other predators and they are much more likely to feed well. They won’t be able to see your line, tippet, or leader nearly as easily either, making them much easier to fool. Another interesting thing to think about is that many fishermen believe fish can detect a drop in barometric pressure which is usually associated with bad weather on the way. This makes trout want to feed heavily now before the creek gets blown out after a few days of raining in a row. All these things combined can make for spectacular days of trout fishing in these weather conditions.  

When fishing on the sunny days, the best times to catch trout are going to be the first hours of the morning and the last hours of the evening. During ideal cloudy and rainy days, I have many times experienced all day feeding from trout. There have been days I can remember, when fly fishing, that trout have fed literally all day long on the surface eating mayflies. These concepts are usually true, but not there can always be outliers. It doesn’t mean you can’t have great days catching fish all day long in the sun, and it doesn’t mean you’ll always have a great day when its cloudy and raining. I have experienced both scenarios. But in general, this is the way it seems to go for the majority of the time. If creeks are in good shape, keep an eye on the weather forecast to look for these conditions. When the opportunity comes, grab a raincoat, your fishing rod, and get out there for some fun! 

Huk Packable Rain Jacket

Frogg Toggs Women’s UltraLite Rain Suit


Spring Trout Fishing Series Episode 5 | Trout Fishing Hammer and Little Cocalico Creeks

Trout Fishing Mid-season Stockings in Southeastern Pennsylvania

Trout fishing is still good many weeks after opening day in Pennsylvania. Many streams and lakes throughout the Commonwealth received several more trout stockings well into May. These extra spring trout fishing opportunities can prove to be some of the best of the year. 

In this episode, Grant explores Hammer and the Little Cocalico Creeks in southeastern Pennsylvania. He utilizes the trout stocking schedule to fish these creeks on days after they have recently been stocked. One of the best trout fishing tips when fishing mid-season after recent stocking is to fish areas away from obvious stocking spots like parking lots and bridges. Simply getting a few hundred yards away from these areas will greatly improve your trout fishing success on stocked streams. Key trout fishing gear included live bait, Berkley® Gulp trout bait and Rooster Tail® spinners fished on an Ugly Stik GX2 spinning combo. Explore creeks like Hammer and the Little Cocalico in southeastern Pennsylvania and take advantage of additional trout fishing opportunities after opening day.  

Spring Steelhead Fishing Opportunities on the Lake Erie Tributaries

Navigating Spring Steelhead Fishing in Erie

Every fall, thousands of anglers pack their steelhead fishing gear and head to Erie, Pennsylvania. The annual steelhead spawning runs that fill the tributaries that empty into Lake Erie are prolific. These runs draw anglers from all over the country, casting for a chance at a colossal steelhead. What could be better than that? Spring steelhead fishing opportunities of course!
Streams are crowded and fish are spooky for good reason in the fall. Numerous anglers cast all kinds of steelhead fishing lures from their trusted outdoors shop up and down the tributaries that feed into Lake Erie. Steelhead make their way up these streams in fall to start their annual spawning trip. This is the best time to fish and of course is also when most anglers flock to Erie. However, spring steelhead fishing in Erie offers as good of opportunities to catch fish in this renowned steelhead fishery.

Why Spring Steelhead Fishing is Worth the Trip

The flurry of fishing activity in Erie occurs mostly in the fall and into early winter. Once the big fall spawning runs are winding down, the fishing pressure lets up. Although, steelhead remain in the tributaries well into April and provide a great spring opportunity for anglers.
Spring brings with it warmer water temps and rising water levels. These two factors make March the second best time to fish for steelhead. Higher water levels in the spring provide remaining steelhead a fighting chance to return to Lake Erie. Their mass exodus back to the lake for the summer gives anglers a great ambush opportunity with a variety of steelhead fishing lures. Steelhead fishing in the spring is good from early March until around the opening day of trout season in early April. Once trout season opens, the Erie tributaries become filled with anglers again, as many of these creeks receive trout stocking for opening day.


The Best Place to Fish for Spring Steelhead in Erie

Walnut Creek offers the best steelhead fishing in spring. Walnut Creek is the second largest steelhead tributary and also second in popularity to Elk creek among Lake Erie tributaries.
Steelhead fishing in the spring on Walnut Creek is a great choice for two reasons. First, Walnut Creek is not an approved trout water in Pennsylvania and receives no trout stockings, unlike Elk Creek. This is important because the creek gets less spring pressure from trout anglers fishing opening day and the weeks after. Second, the creek has plenty of access for both anglers willing to wade and those looking to catch a few from the bank. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission maintains the Walnut Creek Access Area at the mouth of Walnut Creek. The access has plenty of parking and facilities. The area can be accessed via State Route 5 off of either Dutch or Manchester roads, east of the town of Fairview.
The first place to start spring steelhead fishing on Walnut Creek is the wall along the marina near the mouth of the creek. A great spot for those fishing from the bank, this deep pool collects steelhead before they spread back out into the lake. For those anglers willing to wade, another good spot is upstream from the mouth in what is called the Manchester Hole. This long, deep pool is only a short distance upstream from the access area just south of the Manchester Road . Here you can cast any number of steelhead fishing rigs and catch numerous spring steelhead.

Essentials for Spring Steelhead Fishing in Erie

How you fish for steelhead in the spring is all about having the right gear. Spring conditions change daily and being able to adapt not only your steelhead fishing tackle but also your other gear is key.
To start, you need some basic steelhead fishing gear.
  • Chest waders Insulated, with wading boots that have good traction or spikes to prevent slipping on the shale rocks.
  • Quality fishing vest Often you need a large selection of steelhead fishing tackle in the spring so a quality fishing vest is a must to keep everything for a full day on the water.
  • Cold weather clothing Even in the spring, temperatures in the morning and evening can be around the freezing mark. Layered, cold weather clothing will allow you to adapt throughout the day.
  • Polarized sunglasses When the water is not too high or muddy, steelhead can be spotted and then fished. A steelhead fishing technique that is impossible without polarized sunglasses.
Steelhead can be fished for using fly or spinning gear, however here we will focus on spin fishing.
Choose a medium-heavy, fast action rod that is in the 8- to 9-foot range. A long rod will help you light lures while still providing enough backbone to fight a big steelhead.
For reels, choose one with a smooth drag and capacity to handle at least 200-yards of 6-lb test mono line. A larger steelhead spinning reel will let you fight fish more effectively and result in fewer break-offs.

Steelhead Fishing Techniques for Spring

Successfully fishing Erie tributaries for steelhead is heavily dependent on water conditions. In spring, water conditions vary daily with snowmelt, precipitation and temperature. The best advice for spring steelhead fishing is to think like a trout.
Steelhead are trout and as such, they act similarly. When the water is low and clear, fish will move towards deeper pools like the Manchester Hole mentioned earlier. Fish long riffles when the water becomes discolored and focus on eddies near shore when the water is high and muddy.
The most popular steelhead fishing technique is drift fishing. Cast across and upstream and let your line drift as naturally as possible downstream towards the fish. You want to make sure you keep your lure or bait as close to the bottom as possible. Steelhead rarely swim in the upper two-thirds of the water column so fishing near the surface is pointless.
Steelhead fishing lures like spoons, spinners artificial eggs and worms should all be part of your arsenal in the spring. Fish artificial baits like eggs and soft plastics on a #6 single hook with enough weight, about a foot from the hook, to keep the bait just off the creek bottom. In addition, you can also fish flat water by drifting an artificial worm or live bait on a 1/8-ounce jig head. Finally, when all else fails, try casting and slowly reeling a large trout spinner or spoon. Often times these steelhead fishing lures can trigger a reaction bite when nothing else is working.
If you are itching to hit the water after a long winter, then spring steelhead fishing is for you. The springtime opportunities on the Lake Erie tributaries are second only to the fall steelhead runs. Focus on Walnut Creek and stick to your trout know-how” to land a few retreating steelhead.