Around this time of year, the fly fishing game takes on a little more “prospecting” flavor. Of course, there are some big hatch events happening… PMDs in many western rivers… the Green Drake thing is either exploding or about to in other places… we’re getting into callibaetis and tricos as well.

But in many spots, the dog days of summer see daytime action slow down as fish get keyed on those specific hatches in the mornings and evenings, and act fussy with water temps rising.

In other words… it’s the perfect situation for my favorite type of fly fishing, any time of the year. This is, after all, when we separate the contenders from the pretenders, and find out who has game, and who doesn’t.

So what’s the trick for fishing the dog days? I’ve tried many approaches, from tiny little flies, to dry-dropper, to dredging nymph flies through runs. When all is said and done, I’d have to say the most rewarding approach is simple: Make it a meal.

I’m talking about banging the banks and runs with streamers. Or floating big, gaudy attractor dry flies, like Chernobyl ants and hopper patterns. It’s all about protein at this time of the year, and you simply want to make the trout an offer it can’t refuse… the salmonid’s equivalent of a fat, juicy T-bone steak floating through the water, right in their line of sight. Something so munchable, Mr. Brown has no choice but to get his lazy act in gear.

You might not catch the numbers, but you stand a chance at catching something big. (Mouse flies at night are another really good call for late July and August).

To that end, Mr. Romano and I will be enjoying a leisurely float/grudge match on the Colorado River tomorrow… him with his streamers, me with my hoppers.

Anyone placing odds?