Skip to content

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 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 water temperature, and stop fishing when it get above 65 degrees.

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 with people returning to school and vacationers wrapping up their summer travels.

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 surface-fishing awesomeness. “Seeing that big ol mouth inhale your dry fly is a total rush!”

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.

justin and ebony

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

I also had the chance to talk with Justin Brenner about fishing with his dog, Ebony, and what it takes to train a dog to be a good companion on the river. You can read the entire conversation on “Training Your Fishing Buddy,” but the most important take-away is to be patient, consistent, and train your dog to stick by your side.

#coveydogdays and Tight Lines in August!

1 Comment

  1. Reggie Van Driest on August 5, 2023 at 7:00 am

    Brenner’s and “Ebony” spot where he’s caught and landed a trout is the very spot where I 1st learned to flyfish in 1992 with a Covey friend and guide Ron Jagger and his dog “Butch”!
    It’s located down the hill upstream from the Decker’s resort. Wow, I remember that day when I caught several Rainbows….
    What a memory – I miss those days….

Leave a Comment