While we’ve had a bit of a respite from sizzlin’ summer heat, we still have plenty of warm--maybe-hot weather ahead before the cooler days of autumn arrive.
Fishing action slows during the hot days of August. Fish don’t feed as agressively during hot days at most lakes, and anglers slow down as well. Few want to sit in the hot sun and fish.
During these “dog days of summer” it’s tempting to stay indoors and enjoy the air conditioning. However, if you want to get off the couch, warm summer days are good times to take to a stream. By wading a smaller stream, you can counteract the heat, cool off, and with a little luck catch fish for the dinner table.
Stream wading is one of my favorite types of fishing, especially in warm, summer weather, but the key to a fun wade is a stream with a rock or sand bottom. Trying to wade in the mud is not fun.
A rocky stream usually is clear this time of year, fairly easy to wade, and the deeper holes and riffles are likely to hold smallmouth and rock bass.
When the water is still too cool to be comfortable, I’ll don a pair of waders, but this time of year, I prefer a pair of shorts and my Teva rafting sandals, which also are great for canoeing and rafting. But, I also frequently just use an old pair of sneakers. However, I recently purchased a inexpensive pair of wading shoes, which keep gravel and sand out of the shoes.
I never wade into deep water or water that I can’t tell the depth. A life jacket is a good idea, and vests like Sospenders are great because they inflate only when needed, and they are light weight and cool. Unfortunately a regular life jacket can be mighty hot as well as cumbersome when wading.
In most smaller streams, the fish will be found in the deeper, cool holes. However, it is easy to underestimate the fish a small stream will hold.
One of the reasons I enjoy fishing creeks is I catch fish. They may not be lunkers, but there usually is a lot of action, and that is what I enjoy. I’m not worried about size, and more often than not the fish are released back to the creek anyway.
If I get hot while wading, I simply wade in a little deeper and cool off. I can usually find plenty of shady spots, and that often is where the fish will be found. Small pockets behind large rocks or below riffles also are favorite fish hiding spots.
I have a neat Flambeau soft tackle bag which hangs around my neck. It also has a strap that struggles to make it around my waist. It contains everything I need on the creek, and opens to form a little tray hanging on my belly where I can lay pliers or a lure while I am preparing to tie on the lure.
I either use an ultralight rod and reel or a flyrod. I have a small Zebco UL 4 Classic reel and and a Ouantum Micro MS00 that I like with four-pound test line. And yes, I’ve been surprised by a catfish or jumbo carp that eventually snapped the line, but it was still fun.
When I use a flyrod, sometimes I fish traditional flies and poppers, but sometimes rig with a hook and live bait that I cast, and let drift down throw the deep holes. When a fish straightens out the line, the fun is on. One of my favorites is a nightcrawler rig which has a spinner up front along with several red beads. A live crawler threaded on the hooks makes it mighty enticing to whatever is hiding beneath a log or behind a big rock.
Indiana has plenty of good wading streams that have good public access, but smaller streams may have private land on both sides and you’ll need landowner permission to fish.