September 6, 2013
Totally different water conditions apply for good fishing in the spring than do in the fall. In the spring we want falling water levels and rising water temperatures. After high spring run-off becomes more stable and water temperatures start to rise, hatches begin and fishing gets better and better. In the fall the opposite applies. When either fall rains or scheduled dam releases rise river levels and fall’s cooler conditions (our first frost came this morning) drop water temperatures spawning fish begin to enter the rivers. It’s a simple equation but very predictable.
On Tuesday after Labor Day IF&W doubled the water flow in the Roach River to 200 cfs and the results are already in and so are the fish. It appears that the increase in flow plus the measurable amount of cold rain we got on Labor Day added to the equation.
It’s time to catch the biggest fish of the season.
A little note about fall fishing.
Fish fresh from the lake are usually very eager to chase streamers. There is no screwing around and the strike is ferocious. If a fish misses your fly just leave it there and jig it a bit. New fish will almost always return and be more aggressive, not missing on the second strike. It’s like they want to rip the rod from your hand and there is nothing like it. Make sure you are using good stout leader material or that biggest fish of the season will own your fly and you’re left with just another sad story.
After fish have been in the river for a while, have seen plenty of streamers and likely been fooled a time or two the strikes become just passes at your streamer and don’t return when teased. A quick change of the fly may get the fish to come back but not always. Now it’s time to do a little nymph fishing. It’s about delivering a Lays potato chip to couch potatoes that have stopped chasing streamers. Drift, say a pheasant tail by their nose and they are apt to pick up the little morsel. After all they have eaten hundreds of them in the past.
We have always said fall fish don’t feed. It should read, fall fish don’t eat much and they often don’t eat the same thing twice so constantly change the flavor of the fly that isn’t working. Interview any number of fall fly fishermen on what they were using and you’ll get 10 different flies that actually caught fish and often it takes ten fly changes to catch 2 fish.
It’s a beautiful time of season, our favorite, and the biggest fish of the year are going to be caught. The only problem with September fishing is it should be three months long not three weeks.