The Hawgs of Autumn - The Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 11-09-2017, 04:41 PM Thread Starter
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The Hawgs of Autumn

The Hawgs of Autumn

Below is a recap of my last four days of trout fishing during this wonderful time of year. Many trout were caught and some great outings were enjoyed.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Today I decided to fish a small limestone stream first and if it petered out or if I ran out of real estate my plan was to go to the little stream that I had fished last autumn above a reservoir to see if any big trout had worked their way upstream to spawn. Last year, coincidentally also on November 2, I had a mammoth wild brown snap my 4 lb. test monofilament on this small stream. At the time I had estimated that hook-jawed male to be two feet long and nearly as thick as a 4-pound bag of sugar. I’d been itching for a return visit since last autumn.

I eased my way through some brush to get over to the small limestoner in the predawn light. The flow looked great and registered 48.5-degrees on my water thermometer. The air was 46-degrees and the sky was cloudy. Since it was still too dark to fish I stood silently in the water below the first pool for about ten minutes.

I probably began casting a little too early at 7:40 a.m. The first two pools, the biggest of which often produces multiple wild brown trout, yielded not even a sniff from a trout. But in the next pool, anchored by a large sycamore, I hooked a little brownie which subsequently got off at my feet. I couldn’t help but think how often it seems that the first trout of the day gets off.

My follow-up cast along a thick mass of roots was met by the subtle yet familiar tap-tap of a large trout. I set the hook instinctively and played my first trout of the day over to my boots, a pale 16” brown.

DSC_2303 (2) by Frank Nale, on Flickr

The upper end of the pool relinquished a 15.5” brownie. I thought this was a nice way to start the day.

Overall the action was slow for this stream and I even went through a stretch where fresh boot tracks indicated someone had probably fished there that day or with spinners recently since the action died. Since I was parked well over a mile upstream, when I get to a section like this I move rapidly and make just one cast to the best spots with the hope of getting above where the other angler quit without wasting potentially unfished water which could happen if I decided to loop around a section. I call this probing.

After nearly a mile the action picked back up. In a narrow swift area not more than a foot wide along some red willow roots this hook-jawed 18” wild brown tagged my White Bead Gold spinner.

DSC_2314 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

It had a gray hue and few spots, a much different coloration than my first hawg of the day.

DSC_2315 (2) by Frank Nale, on Flickr

In the final pool on the stream, where a large root ball has been in the center of the stream for many years, I saw a wide flash down deep as this beautiful wild brown attacked my spinner.

DSC_2327 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

I thought it was a gorgeous trout, accented by the lines on the throat.

DSC_2329 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

It measured 17” against the grid of inch-markers that I have on my rod.

DSC_2321 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

After five hours and 64 trout I decided to pack it in since I still had time to head to the little mountain stream above the reservoir. I figured I had about two hours to fish since I had to quit at 4:00 p.m. due to a social engagement.

Much to my surprise and disappointment, the creek above the reservoir was very high. If there were any large browns it was going to be difficult to spot them.

I fished a little over two hours, mostly along the sides of the swift current. I caught wild browns of 14” and 15”, both of which could have been stream residents rather than visitors from the reservoir.

At 3:58 p.m., with two minutes remaining to fish, I spotted a large brown not six feet from my boot tips in the tiniest of pools where the raging water blocked his view. I buzzed my spinner past him and he attacked it without hesitation, a pretty good indicator that he was from the reservoir where no fishing is allowed. Instantly he started rolling and got my line wrapped around his body multiple times, so much so that he couldn’t swim anymore. The fast current floated him downstream and I found myself chasing him over slippery rocks. After a good twenty yards or so I eased him over into an eddy and lifted him up to my rod to measure him. The hook-jawed beast was 21” long. Unfortunately, when I slipped him back into the water to retrieve my camera the spinner popped out.

I tallied 28 trout there in 2.25 hours and finished the day with 92 trout in 7.25 hours.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Today I decided to fish a rather large stream that I had fished last year on November 6th with a former co-worker of mine, MattAngler. On that day I had caught 54 trout, including browns of 15.5” and 17.5”, while MattAngler, who was new to spinner fishing, impressively tallied 23, including browns of 15” and 15.5”. About a week ago he had bowed out of a day astream together this fall since he and his wife had just welcomed a new baby angler into his family.

I stepped into the water at daybreak and promptly cranked out a 6.5” wild brown. I wasn’t surprised since the conditions were perfect for autumn angling. The sky was cloudy and 48-degrees with an occasional misty rain. The water was 50-degrees.

DSC_2363 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

At 12:46 p.m. my first hawg of the day grabbed my White Bead Gold spinner in some pocket water above a deep pool. He measured an even 16”.

DSC_2358 (2) by Frank Nale, on Flickr

Around 3:00 p.m. I came to the final stretch I wanted to fish for the day. At this point I had 81 trout, including the aforementioned hawg and two 15.5” browns. Last year, much to my dismay, MattAngler and I hadn’t reached this area until almost dark. I was anxious to fish it since it has the best habitat in this two-mile-plus section. Typically I don’t make it this far upstream due to other anglers or darkness, but today I had time and there was no indication that someone had fished here recently.

I was not disappointed. Right away this 16” brown chased my lure for about 25 feet before nailing it.

DSC_2366 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

Later, this 16” brown grabbed my spinner.

DSC_2369 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

The action was fast and furious. As I reeled in each trout I couldn’t help but think, “Dang, I wish MattAngler was here so that I could share these trout with him.”

I ended the day with 120 trout in 9.50 hours. This was my 66th 100-trout day of the year.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Before I left in the morning I knew that rain was coming. However, forecasts are often wrong. More than once recently all-day rains have turned into sprinkles. Light rain can mean great autumn angling.

Conditions were great again as I exited my SUV. The sky was cloudy and the air temperature was 48-degrees. The water was 49.5-degrees and flowing perfectly due to recent rain.

DSC_2377 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

I began fishing at 6:45 a.m. but the fishing was slow. However, I had pretty much committed myself to this stream since I hadn’t fished it since springtime and I wanted to hit it once before winter.

Then it began to rain. Hard. The water’s surface was covered with little white balls of water, formed when large raindrops hit the stream. It rained so hard that one place had a three-foot wide stream of muddy runoff pouring off the bank and into the stream. I had to laugh at my predicament as the water got cloudier and cloudier. Leaves churned in the rising water. I began to worry that maybe I should cross to the road-side of the stream before it got too high.
In 2.25 hours I caught 19 trout before I left.

For the remainder of the day I fished three mountain streams and caught just 31 more trout in 5.25 hours. My total for the day was 50 trout in 7.50 hours.

While walking on the highway back to my SUV for the day a guy came by riding his bike. He stopped and asked about the fishing. His name was Todd Davis and he is an environmental studies professor at Penn State University. He often writes magazine articles for national publications. In fact, he has an article entitled “Empty Redd” in the Nov./Dec. issue of Gray’s Sporting Journal. He’s published five books of poetry. Very interesting guy. It’s amazing who you might run into while fishing. He lives just over a mile from me.

Today was my 100th day to fish this year and I broke the 10,000-trout mark for the year.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Like on Sunday, the forecast called for rain arriving around 10:00 a.m. with the possibility of it starting as snow flurries. Based on the track of the storm I guessed that I might be fishing just north of the precipitation. As I scraped the frost from my windshield I wondered if I should just go back to bed and not gamble like I did on Sunday.

I began picking up trout right away in the 48-degree water.

DSC_2383 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

By 9:30 a.m. I had to stop and put on my rain gear as a light rain began to fall, pushing my meteorological skills to the limit.

Gradually the light rain turned into heavy snowfall, though this photo doesn’t capture that very well. It was snowing so hard that I could rarely see my spinner hit the water and I couldn’t see it most of the time during retrieval.

DSC_2389 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

The trout keep hitting though the action slowed with the snowstorm.

DSC_2390 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

After three hours, around 1:00 p.m., the snow pretty much ended and I had close to 70 trout. However, the action had really died. Maybe someone had already fished here today, I thought. Ahead, though, was one of my favorite stretches and I decided to gamble and fish it, figuring I could hit 100 trout for the day there if I got lucky. I knew it only takes a short un-fished stretch to catch a pile of trout.

DSC_2393 (2) by Frank Nale, on Flickr

But luck was not in the cards. I had 89 trout when I hooked my spinner on my largest guide and headed for my SUV, parked about two miles away.

I walked as fast as I could, figuring that if things went as planned I’d still have about an hour on another section of this stream before dark to catch 11 trout and still reach 100 trout for the day.

At 4:19 p.m. I began casting again with roughly one hour of daylight remaining. Four small wild browns were fooled in the first five minutes from one pool. I thought, “This sure is going to be easy.”

Six minutes later this 16” brown trout couldn’t resist the lure of my lure.

DSC_2400 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

When I hit 98 trout for the day at 5:00 p.m. I sensed I wasn’t going to see 100 trout today though it was still light enough to fish.

DSC_2404 by Frank Nale, on Flickr

I fished until dark and didn’t catch another trout. I had to use my flashlight to get through the brush and back to my SUV.

I ended the day with 98 trout in 9.25 hours.

The weather forecast is for much colder weather for the week ahead, so I don’t know when I’ll get back out on the streams. I sure hope to have many autumn outings before the snow flies for good.

-Frank Nale -

Last edited by FrankTroutAngler; 11-09-2017 at 05:09 PM.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 11-09-2017, 08:27 PM
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Great outings Frank! Some of those hog browns were very impressive fish. It's too bad you didn't get a picture of the 21 incher you caught above the reservoir, but he took off unharmed, which is good.

You have some really beautiful stream shots.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 11-10-2017, 10:20 AM
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Terrific post as always Frank, thank you for the pictures and wonderful story!!! :-)

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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 11-10-2017, 11:24 AM
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Some of those stream pictures with the autumn leaves are among the nicest pictures I've seen. You really have some dedication to trout fishing in all seasons. I'm so far into other outdoor pursuits that I couldn't even consider fishing now til at least march. I do like to live vicariously through your trouting adventures though. Keep them coming!
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-20-2018, 03:07 PM
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Awesome photography and not bad trout, too.

Enjoy Mother Nature's Glory, everyday!

Once one opens the mind to the plausible, the unbelievable becomes possible!
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