Wade fishing is a good way to beat the heat. It's fun and it produces fish.
While we’ve had a bit of a respite from sizzlin’ summer heat, we still have plenty of hot weather ahead before the cooler days of autumn arrive.
Fishing action slows during the hot days of summer, and this year we have had more than our share. Most fish don’t feed as aggressively during hot days, and anglers slow down as well. Few people want to sit in the hot sun and fish.
During these sweltering days of summer, it’s tempting to stay indoors and enjoy the air conditioning, watch the Olympics, or a baseball game. 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 a bum knee has slowed my ability to enjoy this method.
The key to a fun wade is a stream with a rock or sand bottom. Trying to wade in the mud is not fun, and it usually isn’t productive as far as catching dinner.
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. You may even hook into a catfish or other species. That’s one of the fun things about stream fishing, you never know what you will catch.
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. They are light weight and cool.
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.
I either use an ultralight rod and reel or a flyrod. with four-pound test line. And yes, I’ve been surprised by a catfish or jumbo carp that eventually snapped the line, but it still was. exciting even though the fish was never landed.
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 through 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.
One of my favorites in southern Indiana is the Blue River. The upper portions of the Little Blue, west of English, also can provide good action. One of the advantages of portions of the Blue is that meanders through state forest land.
In central Indiana, Sugar Creek, Raccoon, Flat Rock and Big Walnut are fun streams.