Although fall officially begins in September, I really don’t consider it to be autumn until October arrives. I look forward to fall angling every year. The weather cools and stream conditions, often low and warm coming into the month, improve dramatically. Also, the foliage and the colors of the trout can’t be beat. With the recent heavy rains and cooler weather, low water levels and warm temperatures haven’t been much of a problem. I’m glad that the floods took place before the spawn, though more floods are still a possibility.
I considered fishing on Friday but with the very cold overnight air temperatures and clear skies the next day, poor action was likely, so I stayed home. Yesterday looked more promising for fishing a meadow stream that I hadn’t visited in a while. The forecast called for heavy clouds much of the day, so I rose early and made the long drive.
Despite the good conditions, the action was slow. It took almost 20 minutes to catch my first trout, a 9 ½ inch wild brown. Next was a 10 ½ inch rainbow. Though the stream is classified as a wild brown trout stream, stocked trout find their way into the stream from multiple sources. The rest of the hour produced four more wild browns, ranging from 10 to 12 inches. A sub-legal brown hit and got off near the end of the hour.
My second angling hour was a bust. I lost a medium sized brown but didn’t get any action until the very end of the hour. A heavy brown burst out from an undercut to slam my spinner. I set the hook and the trout zoomed downstream. Unfortunately, while trying to work him away from some in-stream structure, the spinner pulled out. I tried to rush him a little and paid the price. With a little more patience, I should have landed that one. With that, angling hour #2 was a zero trout hour.
I lost three trout in a row to begin the next hour. After checking my hook points, I flipped a cast ahead to an inviting bit of pocket water. A heavy brown darted in and engulfed the spinner. This time I took my time and did it right. It measured 17 ½ inches, and though it’s colorful, it’s obvious from the tiger trout like spots that it’s a stocked fish. I would have preferred to catch the big brown I lost because it was obviously a beautiful wild brown, but it doesn’t work that way. You get what you get.
The action the remainder of the hour was much better. Shortly after releasing the big brown, I caught wild browns of 9, 13 ½, 10, and 12 ½ inches. After several trout followed without hitting, a 15 inch brown came to hand. I zipped the spinner under a bridge into a deep pool and a huge rainbow blasted it. It wasn’t on for long, though. I’m not sure how long that fish was but it was unbelievably fat. I wasn’t upset at all at losing that fish. It was an obvious stocker that was certainly being fed to reach such an enormous size. Though I generally don’t like the term “pellet head” in reference to stocked trout, I think it’s appropriate for trout like that. A few casts later, a nice 15 ½ inch wild brown was released.
Just before the end of the hour, a beautifully colored 14 ½ inch brook trout was added. With its size and weight, it was another obvious stocker. I fished that stream for another ½ hour and lost 2 more trout without landing any, so I decided to move downstream to the stream it feeds.
The mainstream is much larger in that section than upstream and wading it was a challenge.
After a small brown hit and got off, a 13 ½ inch wild brown was my first trout from the second stream. Three casts later, a nice 15 inch brown hit and was landed. It was followed by browns of 9 and 7 inches. After a short lull, I pulled in an 11 inch stocked rainbow. Another lull followed and lasted the rest of the hour.
I tried a couple of plugs and a small rainbow hit one and wriggled free but that was the only activity on them, so it was back to spinners. I fished that stream for a half hour, which produced wild browns of 9 ½ inch and 12 ½ incher. The latter hit right at the mouth of a tributary stream.
Though the trib was surprisingly cloudy, I decided to try it. Rainbows of 12 ¼ and 11 inches on back to back casts started the action there. A third rainbow hit and got off. A couple of browns flashed at the spinner, but nothing hit until I reached a pool with a log against the bank. “Looks like a good spot for a big brown,” I thought. With that, a brown lunged out from under the log and intercepted the spinner. My hookset was good, and I had to quickly adjust the drag to avoid the big trout breaking the line. After a few minutes, I knelt to measure and take a picture of a 17 ¾ inch brown.
Another deep pool was ahead but it produced nothing. I caught five more trout in the trib, wild browns of 6, 7 ½, 9, and 12 inches, along with an 8 inch rainbow. Before reaching posted water, a small trout hit and got off. I returned to a lower section of the first stream I fished, lost two more trout, and decided to call it a day.
Overall, my total was 29 trout, 23 browns, 5 rainbows, and 1 brook trout. All trout were caught on spinners. Two were over 16 inches and three were between 15 and 16 inches. I lost at least 10 trout on the day, including two big trout, plus another one that was on the borderline of hog and near-hog. My phone registered 5 miles walked.