Fall is a welcome relief for the trout angler exhausted from the scorching heat and dry conditions of summer.
There’s something special about spending the day on a favorite trout stream while the leaves are in full array of their fall colors. While the wet-wading time of summer is a distant memory, chilling temperatures and much-needed rain provides a boost to trout fisheries across the country and provides a window of opportunity for anglers wanting to get their fix in before winter. Having the right fly is always half the battle, and these are four must-have patterns to carry with you this fall!
As trout look to feed heavily before winter, they ferociously attack anything that crosses their path. That makes fall prime time for streamers, and the Thin Mint is the perfect fly to have in your box! The olive and black combine two terrific colors and a little bit of flash in the tail rounds out this must-have streamer. It can be stripped in at varying speeds or dead-drifted to imitate a crayfish or wounded baitfish.
While the caddis hatches of April and May usually garner most of the attention, the fall caddis is perhaps the biggest of the bunch! They usually hatch in size #12 or #14, giving anglers the chance to catch trout on large dry flies one more time before winter sets in. Another point of differentiation compared to their spring counterparts is the coloration of the October caddis. They tend to be deeper orange and darker than the tan and olive caddis of early season. While the Stimulator is known as a stonefly pattern, it makes one fantastic caddis imitation.
Hoppers will stick around until the first real frost, and trout will feed on them accordingly! Most angler stash the terrestrials once September ends, but that’s usually a mistake. Squeezing out a few more trips tossing dry flies is definitely worth carrying hoppers around for a few more weeks, and they make the perfect pairing with caddis nymphs when running dry-dropper rigs in the fall.
The Green Weenie is a killer fly during the summer months, and it’s equally productive in the fall. Much like the hoppers, inchworms will still be out crawling around in October and they can provide trout a protein-rich snack at a time when they’re trying to pack on the pounds. This fly is also perfect for small brook trout streams or other freestoners where fish are opportunistic and aren’t terribly picky about size or color of the fly offered.
While some might turn their attention to hunting and preparing for the long winter ahead, there is plenty of opportunity out there for the fall trout angler. The fish know that this is the time to pack on as much weight as they can for the months to come, and as such the action can be nonstop! Having these four flies with you, and using them confidently, will go a long way to setting up for success this fall!
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