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Outdoors with Ken Hunter

by Ken Hunter
Don't Put That Fly Rod Away Yet!
 
 

With the hint of fall in the air and the leaves just beginning to hint of their upcoming color change many of the outdoor types are starting to think about hunting. The problem or maybe I should say "the blessing" of the upcoming fall season is that it offers both hunting opportunities and some great fishing opportunities as well. Believe me there is still some good trout fishing to be had and it's highly unlikely you will have much competition on the streams.
The low, clear trout streams of fall probably lend themselves well to the more gentle presentation of the fly rod. Even the fly fisherman however must take care not to spook the wary fall trout; remember these fish have been assaulted with all sorts of lures and tackle all spring and summer. Add to that the low, clear water conditions and you'll soon find that stealth is a big part of success. This is not the time for bright colored hats and shirts, in fact I highly recommend wearing camouflage clothing and keeping a low profile. In addition move as quietly along the bank and in the water as possible.
Believe it or not a lot of our streams still hold some pretty good numbers of trout and in the fall these fish are often very willing feeders as they prepare for the long winter. True, the number of hatches is not like they were in the spring and early summer but trout can still be taken on dry flies. Blue-winged Olives can come off all summer and even into fall and you can't go wrong with sizes 16, 18 and 20. Another dry fly I wouldn't want to be without is the old reliable Adams; I like to have some in sizes 14 and 16. I also like to have some caddis imitations on hand. I tie a brown caddis imitation on a size 14 or 16 with a medium brown body, no tail and deer hair back over the body for wings; on some I'll wind on a couple of turns of grizzly hackle. Of course any number of terrestrials will do the job as well including black ants, beetles, crickets and grasshopper imitations.
You’re not limited to just dry fly presentations for your fall fishing, subsurface flies can also still be effective. Nymphs are still available in many of the streams and a Gold-ribbed Hares Ear is not a bad choice, nor is a pheasant tail nymph. I also like to have some of these patterns tied with a bead-head; sometimes that extra bit of flash can draw a strike. Fall is also a good time to present some caterpillar imitations like a green inch worm-remember these critters have been falling into the water all summer and the trout are used to feeding on them. I also want to have an assortment of Wooly Buggers on hand-some bead heads and some different body colors. This by no means is a complete list of what may be productive but it's a good place to start.
By the way, your fall fly fishing is not limited to just trout since fall is still an excellent time to catch bass and panfish on a fly. Bass are starting to beef up before winter sets in and a well-presented surface lure can supply some exciting action. I like a small cork or plastic body popper with a six or seven foot leader of at least six-pound test for bass. I have found a white popper or a frog pattern to work well. For panfish like bluegills I have had excellent results with a small, foam bumblebee pattern tied on about a size 10 or 12 extra-long hook. A couple of weeks ago I picked up 15 bass and bluegills using these varying patterns.
Don't put that fly rod away yet, there's still some great fishing to be had before it's time to hit the hard water.

 
 
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Faith Conversations
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