Written by: Len Harris
Photos by: Len Harris
Bug spray is a must during the Dog Days
The Dog Days of summer have you down? The trout are bummin' also. The water is too warm. Anything
over 70 degrees water temperature, the trout will probably die after a prolonged battle. Warm water equals
lack of oxygen in the water. Big Trout are nocturnal feeders this time of the year in Southwestern Wisconsin.
Eric from Cleveland Ohio with a driftless area monster he caught
late September. He caught it on a Black beadheaded bugger with red flash in collar and tail
The middle of July to early September big trout are as scarce as hen's teeth during the day. A thermometer
is a must during these days. There are many types of styles of thermometer. I opt for the cheap ones. The reason for
cheap is I lose so many....it is foolish to buy an expensive one.
Dress lightly during the Dog Days
This time of the year you want the water temperatures to be below 66 degrees if you are considering release of that big trout. If
you are looking for eaters it is not so important. When you take water temperatures you should put the thermometer down near the bottom
of the stream. The top portion gives a false reading. You should keep the thermometer submerged for at least 10 seconds.
Make sure you don't hold the sensor part between your fingers because it will give a false reading.
The Dog Days bring out the color around you.
During the dog days you need to size up your gear and minimize the battle time. Leave those ultra-lites at home and if you are using a
fly rod...not a good time for dries or anything under a 4 weight rod. The longer you battle that trout, the more lactic acid the trout builds up. The trout may appear to be fine
and you revive it and ten minutes later after you release it....it bellies up.
Wading can be the ticket during the Dog Days to cool down.
The middle of September you should leave that thermometer home and get out the BIG stuff. Size up to Panther Martin size 9s and Mepps size 3s.
This is also a good time to get out those stick baits. Rapala countdowns and Yo Yuri Crystal Minnows. It is also time to put on a size 4 or 6 woolly bugger
or Turkey Leech. A long 5 weight with a backbone is required.
Jim Herald with this Beast caught on a copper colored coneheaded woolly
bugger during the Dog Days.
The nights get colder and the MONSTER browns get that breeding itch. They start wandering to the outer reaches of their domain in search of a good locations for spawning. During this time they are opportunistic eaters.Because of their wanderlust they are very aggressive. They may be totally out of their deep holes and are much easier to catch.
Some of those in between areas might hold a Trout Of A Lifetime.
Joe Chadwick with a wide bodied brown from the Dog Days.
Joe caught this trout on a Mepps See Best size 3. Yellow spots
If you do catch that Trout Of A Lifetime......Take some good pictures of it. Even if you are going to keep the trout to be mounted. The trout
will fade in colors within 5 minutes. The taxidermist will need good color photos to make that trout look like the one you caught. If you want a
fiberglass reproduction made, the photos are a must also. Fiberglass reproduction are typically 1.5 times more expensive than a skin mount.
Jeese Carter with GIANT brook trout caught on worms
during the Dog Days.
Len Harris with a decent male brown caught on a Panther Martin
Deluxe size 9. Trout was caught in late August.
Some taxidermists are very good artists and can make the trout look very lifelike. Don't be a cheapskate if you are having a reproduction made. Go
to the taxidermists office and see work on that specific species you want a reproduction or skin mount made of. Today's digital cameras do a good job of capturing that Trout Of A Lifetime....but don't be a slave to TC (Trout Correctness)....If you want to have a skin mount done...GO FOR IT!
A good taxidermist can skin your trout and send that trout home for you to grill...so you are not killing the trout for the mount only.
Catch and release is a management tool ........not a religion