Quieter crowds, larger fish, and better temperatures.
After a summer of consistently flirting with the issue of ethical and even legal temperatures, many anglers are looking forward to the arrival of autumn. John Tilstra, one of our expert fly-fishing guides at the Ranch, provides us with many reasons that make fishing waters so appealing in the fall.
Not only can autumn provide some of the most beautiful scenery for anglers, but it can create an entirely different experience from any other season. From the gear you’ll need to the different times you’ll be able to fish, each factor culminates into what is some of the most serene, magical, and picturesque fishing to be had in the mountains.
While there is always a tradeoff with each season having pros and cons, the fall season seems to be heavily weighted in the pro’s column. For one thing, autumn in the Rockies truly ‘markets itself.’ From the beautiful colors of changing leaves to the wildlife you’re likely to encounter, the valley this time of year is sure to inspire. As the summer crowds begin to wane, you’re likely to have a quieter and more relaxing experience in the mountains, and this is certainly reflected out in the fishing waters.
As temperatures begin to cool off, you no longer need to rush out early in the morning and take long breaks during hot afternoons. Instead, full-day trips are once again possible. Wake up and leisurely get ready for the day, have a nice breakfast, and center yourself before heading out. This makes for a more laid-back, enjoyable experience great for introducing new anglers to the marvels of the sport.
When fish begin preparing to migrate for breeding season, there are more opportunities to catch some incredibly large fish. You just might have to be clever and have a great guide to set you up for success. With more consistent, clear water, fish can be more easily spooked, but it can also be easier to spot and get to the fish you’re trying to catch.
Early fall offers a great time to catch brown trout and brookies prior to them setting up spawning beds (redds). Once the fish are established and set up on their redds, they are to be avoided so as to not overly stress the fish and potentially damage future generations.
Lighter loads with less gear also make fishing trips easier. John recommends that anything you would use in the summer can be lightened up by one weight to offer you more agility. This also offers some good dry-fly opportunities and a chance to use lighter longer leaders.
In the end, while there are innumerable reasons to explore all seasons of fly fishing, the fall is without a doubt a beautiful, unique, relaxing, and rewarding time of year to explore the sport.