The leaves are starting to fall and the weather might start to become cooler for once. While that might mean the end of long summer days that extended our ability to fish, Fall fly fishing can be one of the most exciting times of year to catch that one biggin’ that’s been evading you all year. Just to make sure that you are all prepared as can be to tackle fall fishing head on, here are four essential steps, tips and things to keep in mind to get dialed in this autumn season.
Bring out the Meat:
Here on the East Coast, and I’m sure elsewhere, the fall can be one of the best times to tie on the fun flies or as I like to call them, “the meat”. The end of the summer going into the fall is a fantastic time for terrestrial hatches from hoppers to beetles. And, a little later in the fall–before the first frosty mornings come–we have what is called an Ant “fall”, rather than a “hatch” because of the sheer number of insects that litter the water’s surface. At this time, your classic small foam ant, beetle or winged ant will absolutely clean house because when this “fall” comes, the trout take notice and tend to feed aggressively.
However, once the cold, windy, rainy weather shows its face, its time to put the dries to bed for the season and bring out the true meat—streamers. Whether you’re giving the fish a standard swing, huckin’ and strippin’ the banks or dead drifting it, you cant go wrong fishing a streamer. Trout become very territorial and aggressive in the fall due to the approaching spawn, which makes them a lot more likely to strike a fast moving fly out of pure aggression. Here are a few more important tips for throwing streamers in the fall:
- Sculpin and leech patterns excel
- Throw something with a hint orange (it just works)
- Don’t be afraid to throw the big guns; trout like to bulk up toward the end of the season and while bigger patterns will yield less fish, you’ll be catching the pigs
- Use fluorocarbon, it sinks and won’t send your favorite streamer off into the sunset
- Tie a loop knot, it gives more action to your fly
- Make sure to work the bank too, the fall sees a lot of big, hungry, aggressive fish pulled up shallow waiting for an easy meal to mosey on by
Add Some Motion:
The coming of fall means that, well, there’s a lot of things falling on the surface of the water. Whether it be twigs, leaves, seeds, flowers, etc. an extra carpet of natural material litters the surface of the water. This not only makes it harder for you to see your fly, but it also makes it harder for the fish. So, to give yourself and the fish and easier time, try little twitches or strips because even one slight movement of your dry fly or terrestrial can help a fish discern between just another fallen twig or a tasty meal.
Watch Your Shadow:
The fall sun throws shadows further, its a fact. While that may make for amazing sunset landscape pictures that you have to post on your IG because you didn’t catch any fish, you should start paying attention, because those same shadows are cast by you onto the water. This is where you will need to be one with your inner ninja and use subtle tactics when you approach the water. Fish know that death comes from above, so your shadow will definitely tip them off.
While we hate that it happens, cool fall temps sometimes mean frozen guides and eyelets. To prevent this, spray some cooking spray on a rag or Q-tip and give the inside of your rod guides a quick coating.
If you follow and use these four tactics, fall fishing will be a breeze and you’ll be the one that people ask for advice!
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