Admiring the changing leaves while mopping up forehead sweat and swatting at mosquitoes isn’t traditional September fare.  The optimistic angler senses opportunity: another week of tricos; another week, perhaps the best week, of night fishing; stripping streamers at dawn; chucking big dry flies at the wood.  Others gripe about the heat and wait for next week’s cool down.  I’ve tried to be the former this week, disappearing after dark (and after a quick goodnight to the kiddos) for a simple wade down a familiar stretch of river to try for a gigantic brown trout hooked and lost, boatside, there a few nights before.

It’s been fun to learn a pool in that way night fishers learn a pool.  That is, in a way that bears no resemblance to that same pool during the day.  A night fisher’s river is not a day fisher’s river.  The only thing they have in common is geography, much as dreams and wakefulness are wildly different, but both registered by the same brain.

This is a big bend with a long gravel tail-out.  The tail-out is the new spot, the spot where the big brown apparently feeds.  The home is one of two places: the big jam upstream in the main pool, or the one below the tail-out.  During the day it is a foreboding pool.  As teenagers, we used to crawl all over this big deep hole certain that the biggest trout in the river lived at the bottom of it.  Now we’d returned, with proof that such a fish does exist.  At night the pool is a tunnel.  The depth of the pool, hidden by darkness, is palpable in the excitement one feels as the foam mouse swims across the meat of it.   The first night we moved two big fish, neither of which touched the fly, both of which sounded large.

The second night I caught a good one.  It exploded on the first swing, blooped at it on the second swing, and ate it on the third.

It was the only time I’ve ever felt disappointed to catch a fish like this…and the disappointment only lasted long enough to admit it to Matt.  A second or two, tops.

Expectation has a way of tampering with sublimity.

The ant fishing has been pretty darn good all month, and with the heat, the daytime attractor fishing should be excellent.  Hot bright blue clear days are tough in July.  In September, they’re not terrible.  But the forecast seems to show enough clouds and haze and morning fog to break up the sun’s fury.  I like Adams parachutes in sizes 12-16, stimulators, orange sedge, trudes, Borchers and other general attractor flies.  For hatches there are several different caddis flies, size 20 olives, tricos, fall Isonychias, and slate wing browns (which is a size 16 Adams if you ask me).  A lot of folks have found trout by fishing small streamers and wet flies.

In some ways, this September is fishing kinda like July.  But even in the heat there are scenes that separate this season from the rest:

Joe teaching his daughter the basics (with some canine assistance)

So because of this, my advice is to soak up this second summer for all its got, enjoy each extra degree the sun piles on…and then curse it only after it has been replaced by sweet northern breezes and light drizzle next week.  We’ll be fishing streamers and good hatches of olives, and swinging soft hackles through riffles, and swinging shotguns (too slowly, I’m sure) after flushing grouse until the snow flies and we retire to our (fly) vises to fill the boxes for next season.


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