Here in the West, we’re officially in the Dog Days — it’s hot. As Niel Simon wrote in Biloxi Blues, “Man, it’s hot. It’s like Africa hot. Tarzan couldn’t take this kind of hot.”
OK, maybe I’m being a little dramatic. But, when it gets this hot, it stresses our lower-elevation trout strea
ms—water temperatures can and do rise above that 70-degree mark that spells trouble for trout. So, rather than chase trout and risk killing them, even if you release them, consider going after something else.
These feisty panfish are a blast in high summer—they really put up a good fight on light tackle, and, as a bonus, they’re absolutely delicious. Taking a few home, especially from a lake or a pond with a strong population, is generally a good thing—when their numbers grow too numerous, bluegill stunt and don’t grow very big. Pulling a few out and now and then reduces competition and creates larger fish that are even more fun on light tackle.
As a bonus, check out the pattern in the video above. Tim Flagler ties Paul Beel’s famous Bluegill Belly Bean, a great fly for this voracious fish, and, frankly, a good-looking fly that I might even consider tying for saltwater flats fish. I bet a Bahamian bonefish would gobble that sucker up if it happened to be cast just right.
Be kind to your trout during these scorching hot days of summer. Chase some bluegills instead.
— Chris Hunt