Trout at 50° to 55° Water Temperature Range

by Fly Fisherman

In our study of trout stream conditions from the standpoint of a fish, we now come to the 50° to 55° F. range. This is where wet flies are the preferred method of fishing for trout. By wet flies I mean a fly fished underneath the surface of the water. This includes, besides regular wet flies, the nymphs, streamer flies and bucktails.
At these temperatures trout are still bottom feeders, but they have moved into medium depth water—into the deeper of their feeding positions. You will find them on the riffles, at the tails of the current in the pools, around and under logs, especially where the water has hollowed out deeper pockets of water underneath. Both below and above rocks and boulders in the medium depth current are favorite spots. The entrances of feeder brooks are likely places. Cut banks, if close to where Development of Mayfly from (I) Nymph into (2) Adult. the current is bringing down drifted Ash food, are again profitable spots to fish.
With water under 55° trout seldom do much feeding on the surface and for that reason do not take dry flies freely until after the water gets above 55°.
There is one condition in water temperatures between 50° and 55° in which trout will take live bait, fished deep, better than wet flies. That is when the water is high and murky. In this situation, live bait is still the best method. You fish it just the same as in the colder water conditions, but in medium depth instead of the deepest water.
If the water is fairly clear and at not too high a stage, however, wet flies will take as many trout in 50°-55° water as will live bait, will cast much better, and it’s more fun to do. So this is the wet fly condition.

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