Fly Fishing Fall Trout Tactics

Summer days, summer nights are gone/ I know a place where there’s still something going on.   –Bob Dylan

It’s happened, in Michigan at least.  There’s football on screens, hot cider in hands, the shrill whine of leaf blowers in the air.

It’s around this time of year that the trutta army starts to splinter.  Some drop the rod and pick up the bow or gun and hunt elk, deer, birds.  Others start their long-awaited two-handed enterprise of the year.

This week’s column goes out to the guys who want to keep trouting, or if you’re like me and have been caught up hucking the big stuff at toothy beasts these last few weeks, to return to the finesse roots of the sport before winter swoops in to limit your options.

Last week I had a great conversation on the subject of fall opportunities with my friend Alex Lafkas, a guide at the top of his game and a threat to own trout from Michigan’s Au Sable to Arkansas’s White River and quite a few places in between. Whether you’re looking for numbers of fish or The One, here’s what lies ahead for the committed trout bum from here on out to the New Year.

Optimal dry fly locations change a bit as well. With the low water characteristic of most rivers in early autumn, fishing to bankside structure is no longer par for the course.  Instead, turn your attention to the center of the river, that area where you typically get your spring and summer wading done. Those mid-river seams and bubble lines can be the dry fly angler’s meal ticket this time of year.

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