Fall fly fishing rivals spring as a great time to go after those elusive trout. Trout fishing in the fall is my favorite time, as the air and water get colder, and the sun is still shining and offering up a little warmth. As the rivers and streams get lower and lower, and the air gets colder and colder, make sure you have the opportunity to get out there a few times to close out the season.
Water temperatures are a big benefit to the fall fly fishing season, as sometimes cooler water results in lethargic trout. This means morning and night might not be the best times to go fishing. The best time to fish might be afternoon, when the water is warmer, and the sun is overhead, making it more comfortable for both you and the fish. Remember to dress to impress, as clearer water and lower sun means fish can see you much better than when the water is higher and cloudier from particles and sediments. Muted colors, nothing bright, and try to blend in with the background foliage as best as you can. Overhead sun due to fishing in the afternoon also results in longer shadows that may spook fish, so the angler will need to take into account where they are in relation to the sun.
Trout spawn in fall, which causes them to become more aggressive and, in the case of brown and brook trout, willing to eat more often than in spring. Rainbows seem to be voracious no matter what, and all three types will eat any eggs that they may come into contact with, so egg patterns might be beneficial. It is still a great idea to match the catch, as mayflies are still hatching, especially when the wind is calm and the temperature is higher. Dry flies work well in all seasons, but in fall fly fishing, the water is clearer because the sediment is not getting churned up as much. The problem is all the leaves and twigs and nuts and debris falling off the trees and into the water might make it tough for the fish to notice your fly. Just putting a little twitch as you float could make the difference, and help the fly catch the eye of a fish.
Streamers are great in fall as well, because, as stated before, the water is clearer and the fish are more aggressive overall. Although this does not mean you will see or catch more trout in the fall than in the spring, the spawning fish make for some interesting excursions. As the summer hatch winds down, small bugs, crickets and beetles become very large parts of a trout’s diet. Try to maximize your fall fly fishing chances by testing out not only different patterns, but different sizes and weights of flies. And anytime you feel like you might have something to do and you won’t be able to get out there, just remember, in a few short months, you will be counting down until opening day 2018.