The Transylvania Times -

River Runs: Five Tips For Fall Fly Fishing


Last updated 9/17/2018 at 4:27pm

Fly fishing in the fall can be more rewarding than in the summer. The temperatures are cooler, and the river is typically less crowded. (Courtesy Photos)

As we transition into the fall fishing pattern, there are several things that anglers can do to increase their catch through out the day. Here are my top fives suggestions for improving your fall fishing. Fall fishing is good throughout most of the day. You do not have to fish early as Summertime since the water is cool and fish are sometimes sluggish, especially on the first frosty mornings. Trout will feed all day; they are trying to feed up for the winter, and for spawning in late November in our part of the country.

•Terrestrials are a very good fly to use in the fall until the first frost arrives. However fishing an ant, beetle, caterpillar or hopper in the early morning when it is cool and these insects are not active is probably not going to produce as many fish, as if you fished the same fly later in the day.

•Go big or go home. Large trout, especially browns, like to make a good meal out of eating smaller fish; this is especially true in the fall.

A large trout is capable of eating another trout half his size.

So, fish large streamers - yes - even in clear water, and on sunny days for larger browns and rainbows. Remember with the larger streamers you are swapping numbers of fish for the one or two big fish bites in a day.

•Fishing nymphs that imitate beatis larvae or caddis pupae in the morning are a good choice. Then transition to the dries as the day warms up.

•Do not be afraid to impair action to your fly until the water gets below 50 degrees. Fall trout tend to be more aggressive so skating flies or stripping flies or adding some type of movement to your fly may result in more aggressive strikes.

Fishing with nymphs in the morning, like this fly made to look like a caddis pupae, can land that big trout. But in the afternoon, using dry flies or terrestrials makes more sense as these insects are more active at this time of day.

•Avoid fishing the week that the major leaf drop occurs, during this 2 – 5 day period when the majority of leaves fall off the trees and before we get a flushing rain, the decaying leaves and plant matter seem to make the trout sluggish. The other problem with fishing that week is that you are constantly hooking leaves and it is hard for the trout to find your fly in the water column with so much other debris in the water.

As soon as you have a good rainfall the fish will be back to themselves and feeding heavily for the coming winter.

(Howell is the owner of Davidson River Outfitters, located at the entrance to Pisgah National Forest. He is a member of the Trout Fishing Hall of Fame, and is active in local conservation efforts.)


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