SUMMER HEAT MAY STIFLE action on other waters, but on New Mexico's San Juan River, rainbow trout are very much on the feed bag. "Thanks to the Navajo Dam, our flows are consistent and water temps are 43 to 46 degrees," says guide Chris Guikema. "Cold enough to wear waders." Try sight-fishing nymphs to feeding trout in the morning, then switch to terrestrials at midday. Although 15 to 18 inches is the norm, you may tangle with a 28-incher. The Southwest isn't your only option for August rainbows. North Dakota's Garrison Dam tailrace is a fishery near Pick City with trout over 20 pounds. CONTACT: Rainbow Lodge & Resolution Guide Service (888-328-1858; sanjuanfishing.com); North Dakota Game and Fish (701-328-6300; gf.nd.gov/fishing)
IOWA: CHANNEL CATS
Channel cats are abundant on the 10,000-acre Coralville Reservoir. But don't bother with expensive stinkbaits if you're out to catch a mess. Stop at a grocery store to buy a bucket of chicken livers for $1.20. You'll stay cleaner and catch bigger fish. Evening is the time, and a windblown flat with 7- to 8-foot depths is the place. CONTACT: Iowa Department of Natural Resources (515-281-5918; www.iowadnr.com) 2ND PICK: Cedar River, Iowa
LAKE MICHIGAN: COHO SALMON
Trolling glow spoons and J-plugs in the Lake Michigan waters off Sheboygan is a sure way to tie into coho salmon prepping for their fall run up tributary streams. Fish early mornings for the best bite. Find a good fish boil recipe—last year's catch was incredible, and this season promises to be just as good. CONTACT: Sea Dog Sportfishing Charters (920-918-2628; fishsheboygan.com) 2ND PICK: Columbia River, Ore.
NORTH CAROLINA: SOUTHERN FLOUNDER
When water temperatures soar, the southern flounder relocate, giving the slip to even the best anglers. Search for them at the mouths and inlets of rivers like the Shallotte. To catch bigger fish, slow-troll menhaden or live shrimp with a walking sinker, and keep your motor speed under .5 mph. CONTACT: Flounder Fishing Guide Service (910-624-5691; flounderguide.com) 2ND PICK: Carolina Beach, N.C.
SOUTH DAKOTA: PRONGHORNS
Mesh camo and a big water bottle are required gear for bowhunters opening the antelope season on South Dakota's Buffalo Gap National Grasslands. Convert those arid conditions into action by scouting out, and waiting by, a secluded water hole. Or for maximum thrills, sneak up on a herd buck and tease him with a decoy. CONTACT: South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (605-773-3485; www.sdgfp.info) 2ND PICK: Eastern Montana