I have the privilege of being able to fish private waters in the Red Feathers area and have been fishing them hard the last few weeks. As a general rule I don’t write about fishing waters not accessible to everyone. The reason is simple; I don’t appreciate folks “bragging” about how great they did last week, catching huge fish on practically every cast. If I can’t play too, I really don’t care to hear about it. However, a few of things occurred recently that I feel are worth mentioning.
First, with the cooling waters, there is no doubt in my mind that fish are putting on the feed bag. So if you’re not glued to the TV watching football, participating in the kid’s school activities, or in the field hunting, get your backside out the door and onto the water. In my mind, fall is one of the best times to be out fishing.
Second, it amazes me how different waters close to each other fish. One day we fished two lakes and encountered four distinct patterns. Lake one had a great “midge” bite to start the day, which was killed once the winds came up. While the winds were up, the fish slammed woolly buggers that were fished fast near the surface over deep water. At lake two the winds were blowing, so we tried buggers mid-lake, nada. However, I was graphed lots of fish deep, so my buddy switched to a sinking line and bounced the woollies off the bottom with good success. Being a lazy sort, I moved shoreward, and cast my buggers tight to the shore edge, letting the flies settle to the bottom. Then I’d then pop them up and quickly retrieve them out 10-20 feet before casting up the shoreline a few feet. There were a few fish cruising shallow and this presentation was deadly, netting four species, including an 18-inch master angler brook trout my fourteenth MA species.
Interestingly, the same fly was successful for three of the four patterns, a peacock woolly bugger. The lesson is simple, before getting in a hurry to switch out your “confidence” pattern, give some thought to changing locations, and presentations with it. Often that is as, or more, productive than switching out lures.
Over the years there have been numerous occasions when a fish has hit my fly/lure as I lifted the fly off the water to make a cast. Heck, I’ve even had fish pick up my fly on a sloppy backcast, hitting my fly as it slapped the water. But I’ve never had a trout take the fly mid-air. That is until this last outing. I had cast to the side of the float tube and was in the process of picking up my line with a sweeping action. As the woolly bugger cleared the water a fish also emerged in hot pursuit taking the fly while fully airborne several inches above the lake’s surface. My obvious pleasure was further increased when I finally brought the fish to net, a 17 inch master angler brook trout.
Private or public, falling water temperatures have put fish into a feeding mode. Now is a great time to hit the water before they become ice-capped for the winter. As you’re fishing keep in mind conditions are rapidly changing, often several times a day, so be prepared to change with them, be it location, presentation, and/or lure. Finally, one of the great things about fishing is no matter how long you’ve fish, there’re always new surprises to be experienced. That’s one of the reason I love this sport so.