Anglers flock to the mountains of Pennsylvania in search of quality trout fishing.
The chill of winter is set to soon be upon us, but for now the gettin’ remains good in the Keystone State for trout anglers. Fall, just like every other season, brings a unique set of challenges and rewards. One of the more important aspects of fall fishing is fly selection during a time when hatches dwindle but trout are actively feeding to make it through the upcoming cold spell.
Here are some of our favorite trout flies that will catch trout throughout the fall in Pennsylvania!
Fall is a fantastic time for streamer fishing, and the thin mint combines two deadly colors in one fly. The thin mint, sometimes tied with a string of flash in the tail, gives that subdued, almost earthy tone that trout love while providing a very realistic imitation of sculpins. When used in a bigger size, the thin mint can be bottom bounced like a crawfish or stripped like a baitfish! It’s as versatile as it is productive.
The squirmy worm will catch fish all year, but purple turns into a hot color when the leaves start to change. A usual progression of squirmy colors are pink in spring, red through summer, and purple come fall. Who knows what the fish think it is, but purple will consistently put fish in net from September through November.
It’s during these fall months that browns and brookies start to spawn. While fishing over redds is never something anglers should do, eggs being in a watershed will make trout go wild with hunger. Pound for pound almost nothing holds as much protein as a fish egg, so a variety of yarn egg patterns in orange, white, and pink should be carried by anglers everywhere during the fall months.
Terrestrials will linger into fall despite being forgotten by most. Until the first really hard frost, beetles will be out and about to provide a consistent food source for trout. Since they are often hard to spot in the water, the bit of hi-vis will assist those who have trouble making the fly out in the current.
Caddisflies are still prevalent during the fall afternoons in Pennsylvania. Certain streams will have more abundance than others due to varying caddis fly populations. But, it would be a good idea to carry a wide range of colors and sizes of the Elk Hair Caddis.
One of my favorite searching patterns is a size #18 bead head Prince Nymph. It’s small enough where I can drop it off the back of a smaller dry fly or include it in the top levels of my nymphing rigs. Most of the active mayfly nymphs in the fall are smaller in size, so I tend to fish this in a size #16 or smaller.
Including a midge pattern is always a good idea and Zebra Midges get the job done. Overall, Pennsylvania has a pretty healthy midge population across the whole state so you can depend on trout opportunistically feeding on the drifting pupae. More flashy midge patterns like the Holo Midge work great on stocked trout and on bright, sunny days. I prefer darker midge patterns in Pennsylvania based on local midge samples and tie them in towards the top of nymphing rigs or off of a dry fly.
Blue-winged olives (BWO’s) are a tiny species of olive-colored mayflies that are commonly found in Pennsylvania and abundant during the fall season. Towards mid-October to early November BWO’s are active across the whole state, especially in the prime trout waters of central Pennsylvania.
Without the blanket hatches to tip us off to what the trout are eating, anglers have to dig a little deeper and be a bit more observant during the fall months. There are still trout to be caught, however, and by carrying these flies you’ll be sure to get in on the fun during these next few exciting months!