Fall Fly Fishing Strategies …
By the time you read this, it will be mid-September and we will be into the Fall fly fishing season. At this time of year, the water is beginning to cool, the major hatches are over, the bugs are mostly small in size and the food selection for the fish is limited.
Oxygen levels are high but the days are getting shorter, the sun angle is down and the aquatic plants will soon start to die. On average, you can get more good fly fishing days during the Fall season than at any other time of the year. Like an old bear, the fish will want to fatten up before the ice sets in.
So what do you use? In the Fall, there aren’t usually any major hatches of Chironomid, Caddis or Mayfly. Well then, how about trying a Shrimp, Boatman, or Bloodworm. And dare I say that this is a prime time of year to try attractor flies, especially the smaller ones. In the Fall, I will often start with a small attractor fly before moving on to the other patterns.
Starting about Sept 21, Shrimp will be the major food source for the trout. Depending on weather and water conditions, the fish may be taking these in deep water or over the shoals and often within a foot or two of the lake bottom. On cloudy days, I would try the shoals first.
Waterboatmen have a strong preference for good weather for their flights but moon location does play a part. Watch for Boatmen during the last eight days of Sept and around mid-October, especially if the weather is good. You may see rings like droplets of water on the lake, the occasional Boatman falling into your boat or see the critters at the lake surface getting their air bubble. If so, it may be time to try a boatman pattern.
Many bloodworms live inside the stems of aquatic plants. As these plants begin to die in the Fall, the bloodworms will leave those plants and begin to crawl across the lake bottom looking for a place to hibernate. That is the time to fish imitations of these critters. That usually begins about the last week in September and continues until ice over. This year, I’m expecting the best bloodworm fishing to occur around October 5 to the 15th.
As a last note about Fall fly fishing, don’t forget about Dragonflies and Damselflies. The large dragonfly nymphs have hatched but there are still three generations of smaller Darners in the lakes since it takes them that long to mature. The damselflies tend to mature in one year. The large ones are gone but a new generation has hatched and will be now be of a size available to the trout. Both of these will be moving into deeper waters looking for places to hibernate. Smaller damsel and dragonfly patterns may be worth a try in the Fall.
Enjoy your Fall Fly Fishing!
Ron Newman is a long time member of the Kamloops Fly Fishers Association and has spent the last 30 plus years fly fishing the Kamloops British Columbia area still water lakes for trophy rainbow trout. During this time Ron has accumulated a vast amount of knowledge on the subject which he has complied in his book, Rainbow Trout Fly Fishing : A Guide for Still Waters. Whether you are just a beginner fly fisher, or experienced and looking to hone some advanced stillwater fly fishing skills, we highly recommend that you pick up Ron’s book! A big thank you to Ron for allowing us to share some of that knowledge with everyone here at flyguys.net!
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