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Dog Days of Summer

August.  The last full month of summer. While our average temps in Colorado are usually hottest in July, August marks long stretches of mid-80 temperatures, often without the cooling relief of late afternoon or evening rain like we get with the monsoon season. So we head through “the dog days of summer” – that time of the year when we’re feeling a little beat down from the heat and hope the cooler days are around the corner.

The “dog days of summer” is an old phrase dating back to Roman and Greek times.  The ancients referred to the time when the Dog Star, Sirius, was rising in the night sky.  The days were marked by heat, drought, and sudden thunderstorms. Human beings feel the effects of the dog days: lethargy, fever, bad luck. But don’t despair!

What do “the dog days of summer” hold in store for the fly fisher?  First, fishing conditions need to be monitored due to flow levels and water temperatures.  With August temps reaching into the 90s, the water temps could remain high, too.  It’s easy to see water temps reaching 65 degrees by noon – with favorable conditions quickly dropping off since our cold water species of trout suffer stress at temperatures above that.  For our tailwaters, the temps tend to stay lower because the rivers may be fed from the bottom of our reservoirs.  Check the temps, and stop fishing when the temps reach 65 degrees.

This cutty was fooled by an Amy’s Ant. August is terrestrial month!

I asked a couple of guides about what makes August a great month for fishing. The abundance of different food sources – from tiny Tricos to big hoppers – is part of the reason why Kristina Dougherty finds August to be awesomeness.  “Seeing that big ol mouth inhale your dry fly is a total rush!”

Justin Brenner said he looks forward to the temps to drop a little from the heat wave of July, but adds “hopefully” because these dog days can seem to drag on if the temps stay up. Juan Ramirez agrees that the potential change in weather is a bright spot and adds that some of our more popular fisheries get less pressure since school is starting up and football gets started.

But the most popular response from the guides is what Steve Gossage said in one word: “hoppertunity!” “The dog days of summer” means great terrestrial fishing.  Fish the Hopper Juan, Amy’s Ant, Hippie Stomper … beetles, flying ants … the list could go on.  Present the fly close to the bank and work your way out for the big hits on big bugs.

Covey guide, Justin Brenner, and his dog, Ebony, finish up the fight.  Photo credit: Jon Easdon.

Finally, in honor of the dog days of summer we are going to have a month long series of blogs, Facebook posts, and Instagram activity.  We’re beginning our Dog Days Photo & Story contest over on Facebook and Instagram on August 1.  The contest will run through August 24 — and the three top entries (photo and story combos!) will win swag for your dog from Fishpond. Post your dog photo and a brief story behind the photo on our Facebook page.

Tag your post with #coveydogdays for all the action on our social media.  We want you to post photos and stories of your adventures with your dog – fly fishing adventures are preferred but we’re suckers for cool photos of dogs in nature! And watch this blog space this month for tips on fishing with your pup, dog safety in outdoors, and doggie gear!

#coveydogdays and Tight Lines in August!

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