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Lake Fly Fishing in Autumn

Lake Fly Fishing in Autumn

They spend all summer escaping the heat, in depths that are useless to the fly fisher, the they are trout, depending on your lake or lakes, they could be rainbow, cutts, brook  or brownies, and they all come alive once the weather cools.  Not only come alive, but come to the banks, the weed beds, the spawning grounds, they come within reach.  Depending on the species they come to eat and spawn, or to eat to winter over.  The larger point though they come to eat in shallow, immensely fishable water in the autumn. 

Lovely unpredictable autumn, sunny, calm, and pleasant one minute, howling, biting winds the next.  And just when you think the season might be done for, kaput, for the year, in comes the lovely high pressure, seems permanent as ruins, only to give way once and for all to inevitable winter.  The fall lake angler watches the weather reports, rechecking them like a wall street trader watching the ticker.  Any chance of a break in the weather the rig is packed and on the way.

There is both urgency and timelessness to this fishing, when the calm hits so does tranquility and the trout.  The food available to them runs the gamut, a real trout smorgasbord.  You have the usual; damsels and dragons, leeches, scuds, crayfish, waterboatmen.  And there will be some frantic hatching intermittently, Callibaetis, BWO are two common fall ones.  And if your lake is so blessed the October Caddis is an autumn gift not to be missed, big, bold and beautiful, a real treat for the trout and the angler.  Depending on your altitude and latitude, hoppers warm up midday and come alive.  And the other staples of your terrestrial fly boxes, ants of all kinds and beetles, are part of the mix as well. 

But the real story belongs to baitfish as the cooler water breaks up their cover, and the fall colors make them more visible.  They are not only a huge treat, they also aggravate territorial trout looking to breed or rest.  Little Trout series,Jannsens, Sculpins, Zonkers, time and again produce huge trout.

Fall fish tend to school.  So finding them is the key.  There might be plenty of prime water void of fish.  Look for usual activity, rising trout, fins, dimples in water, even birds working a hatch.  But if you are not hooking up, it is probably time to move.  Look for inlets and outlets, try drop offs with the aforementioned streamers, using a sink tip line.  Everything is on the table.  But once you are in the thick of it, it tends to last a bit.   You might have to give the water a break after a few hook ups but it should start right back up again.  As the trout too, are feeling that same sense of urgency with winter right around the corner.

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