Autumn Skinny Water

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October 31, 2020 by Art of the Angle

It’s my favorite time of year again and that means my favorite time to flyfish. It is no mystery why I love this time of year; the air seems cleaner and less heavy and full of all the scents that an autumn wood will provide.

The blue of the sky is a little more pale and the rivers and streams a little lighter of their waters. This provides the patient fly fisher with ample opportunity to test their skills on the overly cautious trout.

This time of year also provides the additional challenges of fewer significant fly hatches and copious amounts of freshly shed leaves on the waters surface.

#16 Glass Beadhead Soft Hackle
Pheasant Tail Nymph

Stepping down to smaller flies thinly dressed is an often overlooked key to late season success. The currents are moving slower giving trout the advantage of closer inspection of your pattern. A slower current also reduces the amount of weight necessary to get to the depth necessary.

Educated fish such as native or holdover trout have the advantage of being caught and released enough to know what is safe and what isn’t. and a good rule of thumb; if you see them, they already have seen and felt your presence so your chances of catching them are greatly reduced.

Natives are cautious, not dumb
Wild German Brown

A couple things to remember; in the dark and early mornings, trout will tend to hold in the backs of pools and runs. The water will be colder from the lack of heat source (sun) holding more oxygen. When the sun rises bringing the heat with it, trout will move to undercut banks, rocks and into the heads of riffles to stay out of sight as well as to stay oxygenated.

Where do you think the fish were found?

In closing, trout may be creatures of habit but they are also creatures circumstance. The patient angler will always be the rewarded angler because luck is not a factor in autumn skinny water fly fishing!

Tight Lines!

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