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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-28-2017, 01:38 PM Thread Starter
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A Pleasant Autumn Surprise

A Pleasant Autumn Surprise

Autumn is my favorite time of the year to find myself streamside casting spinners for trout. The scenery is spectacular and water levels have usually rebounded after the trees stop transpiring millions of gallons of water into the atmosphere. I long for those cloudy days after relatively warm nights when the trout are spread out and attacking my spinner with reckless abandon. To this day, after nearly 39 years of spinner fishing, I still find it hard to sleep the night before a day of fishing, especially in the fall.

But this autumn has been a little different than most – at least so far. Sure, I’ve had some great moments, like when this 17.5” rainbow nailed my spinner in a still pool no more than a foot deep. There were four other large rainbow trout in a pod with this one and I believe I caught the smallest one. One of the other ones was large enough that it would not have looked out of place in Walnut Creek mixed in with the steelhead.

DSC_2165 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

Just minutes before this on the same day I luckily hooked this 16” wild brown after it followed my flickering White Bead Gold spinner for about twenty feet – the supreme test of remaining cool and patient during the heat of the battle.

DSC_2154 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

On another outing this 17.5” brown trout surprised me in a swift tailout.

DSC_2301 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

So this autumn has had its moments despite the lack of cloudy days after warm nights and water levels that have not yet rebounded from the dry spell that began in late August. Unfortunately, water levels remain quite low.

DSC_2204 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

I wish I had some secret spots where the flow would be great, but I don’t. So in the predawn hours of Wednesday, October 25th, 2017, I drove to a familiar section of stream that I hadn’t visited since about early July.

DSC_2173 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

The air temperature was 38-degrees and the water was 54-degrees and quite low. The sky was mostly clear but I knew I’d be in the shade for a while due to the nearby ridges. The air was perfectly still.

I had kept my expectations low since this wasn’t the kind of day weather-wise that I dream about all year long for autumn angling. Nothing hit my spinner for the first couple minutes, but at the four-minute mark a little brown wearing its spawning tuxedo grabbed my offering.

DSC_2245 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

Six more small wild trout were landed by the end of the first hour at which time I approached a rather deep section. Knowing that big trout often call this pool home, I cut my spinner off and retied it to un-nicked line. I also took the time to remove my clear goggles that I wear in the early-day darkness to protect my eyes from treble hooks and replaced them with my amber-shaded polarized sunglasses so that I could see into the depths better.

A cast along the far side, where big trout often hide along some boulders waiting to ambush prey, yielded a large wake behind my spinner in the still water. The large trout nipped my spinner but I whiffed on the hookset. I had just blown my first opportunity of the day with a large wild brown trout.

I waded into the lower end of the long deep pool, careful not to send riffles upstream, and made a cast of about sixty-feet upstream to the center of the pool. As soon as the spinner hit the water I knew a big trout had turned to follow it based on the water swelling a few feet beyond my lure. Through the glare I saw the white mouth open, and when it closed I set the hook hard. Immediately I knew I had a bruiser on the end of my line.

DSC_2215 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

The stocked trout had little stamina and tired quickly. I brought him in with ease. The tall trout measured 18.5” along the grid of inch-markers that I put on my spinning rod when I constructed it.

DSC_2219 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

After releasing the hawg I heard some wild turkeys yelping on the ridge to my right. I saw one of them fly down to the ground in the bright morning sunlight that now reached the forest floor and land under a red-leaved oak tree. One hen yelped constantly for about a half hour and as I moved upstream I saw her in a tree.

DSC_2220 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

Minutes later a gobbler flew low across the stream in front of me from left to right and landed on the streambank. He didn’t seem too bright and I was able to approach him to within about twenty-five feet.

DSC_2240 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

The second hour yielded a total of fifteen trout as I fished through some exceptionally good habitat.

DSC_2144 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

But gradually the sun hit the water and the action slowed considerably, except for one stretch where I landed twenty-four trout in an hour. My guess is that in this short section the trout hadn’t seen any metal recently.

Before reaching a posted section which marked the end of the section of stream I was fishing, the wide stream narrowed to about six feet, creating a funnel to bring food to the trout. My cast to the upper end yielded a savage strike from this 19.5” rainbow trout.

DSC_2249 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

Shortly after releasing this trout I caught one more small brown. With 74 trout logged in my small notepad in 5.50 hours of fishing, I hooked my spinner onto the largest guide on my five-foot spinning rod and began the hike back to my SUV.

Since the day was still young I entertained the idea that I might attain my 66th 100-trout day of the year. Little did I know though that the event of the day was yet to come.

Over the next 2.50 hours I fished two stretches of the same stream but never had action worth writing home about, though I had blown opportunities on two salmon-size rainbow trout. I caught 18 more wild brown trout but the action was clearly winding down. My guess was that this had to do with a falling water temperature.

At this point I had 92 trout and it was after 4:30 p.m. I had pretty much resolved myself to calling it a day, but you know me, I don’t easily give up on a challenge. I figured I’d stop at a tiny stream on the way home and give it a try for fifteen minutes. I needed only eight trout to hit 100 and sometimes that many trout can be caught in ten minutes with spinners if conditions are favorable.

Sometimes the brush almost touched in the middle of the creek, but my first cast through the brush yielded a strike from a small wild brown. A follow-up cast produced a nice brownie.

DSC_2139 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

Then, like on my previous two stops, the action died. Fifteen minutes were about up and I was about ready to admit defeat when I came to this spot.

DSC_2279 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

I knifed an underhand cast up into the center of the pool. Immediately I saw a large wake behind my spinner. It was like a shark bearing down on a small fish, though no dorsal fin protruded from the surface. When the large trout grabbed my spinner I set the #10 VMC treble hook timely. He remained stationary at first, sloshing in the water, giving me time to loosen my drag.

DSC_2270 (2) by Frank Nale, on Flickr

The wild brown maintained his position upstream, bulling his way from side to side, testing my 4-lb. test monofiliament. I kept the pressure on and hoped my hook was embedded well. After about a minute or so I brought him in to my feet.

DSC_2285 (2) by Frank Nale, on Flickr

With spots almost as big as dimes and gorgeous coloration seen only in the autumn, he measured an even 20”. Not bad for a tiny brook.

DSC_2286 (2) by Frank Nale, on Flickr

I caught one more trout before realizing that hitting the Century Club mark wasn’t going to happen on this fine day.

DSC_2253 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

I closed the day with 95 trout in 8.50 hours.

More great outings lie ahead before the snow flies. To me there is something special about those cloudy November days after the leaves have fallen and people look at you funny when they see you in camouflage walking back to your SUV with a fishing rod in your hand. But the big trout will be out and I savor every minute of late autumn angling.

- Frank Nale -
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Last edited by FrankTroutAngler; 10-28-2017 at 01:47 PM.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-28-2017, 04:56 PM
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Excellent outing Frank!

You caught some really fat browns and rainbows. Catching a hog brown from a tiny stream is great anytime, but is an especially great way to end the day.

I agree with you on the anticipation of fishing in the fall. Many days in the fall I can hardly wait to get on the stream.

You have great pictures as usual. I really like the turkey pictures. I haven't seen many this fall but that can change at any time. On several occasions I've seen huge flocks in the fall.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-28-2017, 05:22 PM
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Those browns are on average, very colorful. I thought you would be fishing into the darkness seeking that 100th trout.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-29-2017, 10:07 AM
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Quite an enjoyable write up! It's amazing how much bigger some of those trout look before you honestly give the actual sized. If you'd have said that 18.5" brown was 22" I would have had no idea lol. You certainly prove over and over that you do not embellish and I appreciate that in you posting.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-01-2017, 11:02 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Trout 2003 View Post
Quite an enjoyable write up! It's amazing how much bigger some of those trout look before you honestly give the actual size. If you'd have said that 18.5" brown was 22" I would have had no idea lol. You certainly prove over and over that you do not embellish and I appreciate that in your posting.
Thanks. It's amazing what can be done with a wide-angle lens.

I believe that accuracy is the foundation to credibility. I may add an inch to the "one that got away" since I really don't know for sure, but never to trout that are caught. I don't see where there would be any point in keeping track of statistics like I do if it wasn't done honestly and accurately.

There's a spinner fisherman, NJAngler, on another website, GardenStateTrout, who averages around 30 trout per hour (TPH) every year. I've been fishing spinners for about 39 years now, and I think I understand the sport pretty well. I've had rare days under unusual circumstances where I've averaged 30 TPH, but to do that on average for an entire year is not believable in my opinion. I doubt that I'd average 30 TPH for an entire year if I caught every single trout that hit my spinner. I called him out on his 30 TPH average one time and he admitted that he doesn't actually land something like 40% to 50% of the trout he counts as caught. Therefore his 30 TPH average is meaningless and fictitious, yet he continues to perpetrate this myth about his angling ability. (My guess is that in reality he counts every single trout that hits his spinner as a trout he has caught, similar to how a fly fisherman that I took spinner fishing many years ago did until I intervened.)

Readers of my stories on here can be assured that I take great care to be honest and accurate.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-01-2017, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Trout 2003 View Post
Quite an enjoyable write up! It's amazing how much bigger some of those trout look before you honestly give the actual size. If you'd have said that 18.5" brown was 22" I would have had no idea lol. You certainly prove over and over that you do not embellish and I appreciate that in your posting.
Thanks. It's amazing what can be done with a wide-angle lens.

I believe that accuracy is the foundation to credibility. I may add an inch to the "one that got away" since I really don't know for sure, but never to trout that are caught. I don't see where there would be any point in keeping track of statistics like I do if it wasn't done honestly and accurately.

There's a spinner fisherman, NJAngler, on another website, GardenStateTrout, who averages around 30 trout per hour (TPH) every year. I've been fishing spinners for about 39 years now, and I think I understand the sport pretty well. I've had rare days under unusual circumstances where I've averaged 30 TPH, but to do that on average for an entire year is not believable in my opinion. I doubt that I'd average 30 TPH for an entire year if I caught every single trout that hit my spinner. I called him out on his 30 TPH average one time and he admitted that he doesn't actually land something like 40% to 50% of the trout he counts as caught. Therefore his 30 TPH average is meaningless and fictitious, yet he continues to perpetrate this myth about his angling ability. (My guess is that in reality he counts every single trout that hits his spinner as a trout he has caught, similar to how a fly fisherman that I took spinner fishing many years ago did until I intervened.)

Readers of my stories on here can be assured that I take great care to be honest and accurate.
I agree. It's not believable to average 30 TPH over a year. I've only gotten 30 in an hour a few times. 30 trout in an hour is exceptional. I'm thrilled when I have a rare 20 trout hour!
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-01-2017, 03:39 PM
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Great post Frank as usual, thanks for sharing!!! :-)

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-02-2017, 10:47 AM
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I remember the NJTrout guy when Craig had his site. He admitted to counting every trout that hit his spinner which is why he'd have 300-500 trout days constantly. Whatever gets you the most enjoyment out of fishing I really don't care I guess. When I guy literally NEVER has a poor outing I start to get suspicious though.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-02-2017, 10:40 PM
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If he caught an egg laden female during the spawn, did he count it as 2,000 trout?

Last edited by Trout Traveler; 11-03-2017 at 04:20 AM.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-07-2017, 07:49 PM
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Great post Frank. I love the pictures. Was surprised to see so many leaves off the trees in the October 25th picture. I was in State College yesterday and most trees had all their leaves.
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