Updated: Sep 17, 2022
Before I ever picked up a fly rod I was sitting next to a farm pond catching bluegill and bass. The bluegill were easy, they never seemed to tire of eating worms. Occasionally a little bass or catfish would come along, exciting for sure, but still not enough excitement to keep me from trout fishing as I got older.
For many years I was a hardcore, trout only fly fisherman. If it was the summer and too warm, then fishing season was over until the Fall. It wasn't until I moved to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia that I started making the best of the warmer months and fishing throughout the Summer.
For those who don't know, water temperatures in Virginia get into the 65-75 degree range on trout streams. Above 70 oxygen dissolves differently in water, making it difficult for trout to breathe, and therefore a lot more stressful to recover after getting caught. Also, generally lower water levels make some streams virtually unfishable as they become a series of puddles. So either sit out July-September, travel, or fish the warm water species. River and lake access are plentiful around here and you don't have to plan a long trip just to get a line wet.
I usually travel with my same 5 weight rod and line. I have a selection of streamers, but a few poppers, wooly buggers, and a crayfish pattern in really all you need. I go with a 1x or 2x leader depending on the size of the flies. This helps turn them over better and reduce line shock. That's it, no vest full of boxes, floatant, indicators. We just cast and retrieve and see what fish are hungry. Very speeds of retrieval to mimic an injured animal.
This kind of fishing is simple and the fish usually are cooperative. Its not too hard to catch a dozen fish in an hour at a local park pond. You get to practice casting and catching which is the best way to become a better trout fisherman. You learn the most by doing, and its a great way to gets kids involved as well. They need feedback to stay interested and eight hours catching a few trout doesn't necessarily cut it for all of them. One of my favorite days is tubing down a local river with my son and we stop in a few holes on the way, picking up sunfish, smallmouth bass, and redeyes.
Bass are in their spawning beds now and will be feeding heavily again soon. Hit your local pond or river and catch some fish. You'll be better for your next trip and some of those bass can get really big. You might get a 10 pounder larger than any trout you ever had on!