A steelhead wind blew across the Northern Lower today painting the sky, a bunch of Facebook pages, and a few anglers’ faces, with snow.  It was rather pretty if you were inside a fly shop drinking coffee, which I was.  We told some old stories, contemplated what streamers one might use if one were to go out.  A few actually did get out.  A few trout were caught.  But it was a sideways snow type of day, from Gaylord to Grayling.  The high was 38 degrees.  The trout have started to scrape the gravel.  Things are turning pretty quickly in 2018.

White out!

And a few trout out…

This weekend is a mixed bag of weather, and I’m going to expect a mixed bag of fishing, with some excellent streamer opportunities on Friday and Saturday if the weather holds, if Friday really is 52 and cloudy, and if the temperature drops all day Saturday.  With the rivers clearing and dropping (except the South Branch, which will take its time) smaller streamers fished tight to cover in the upper river, and larger streamers in the still dark lower river and below Mio, will be the game.  There are a lot of distractions in October (steelhead, birds, deer, ducks) and the river is pretty devoid of traffic.  The wind blew some trees down and a few sections have been cut out but I would be leery of floating below Smith Bridge without a heavy duty saw.  I sent a group of anglers into a long day on the Mason Tract, which was choked with deadfalls.  It caught me be surprise, as it has been floated all fall.  They did the hard work out of necessity.  That, or spend the night out there.

A perfect fall brown

Other techniques: the fall olives have been hatching well in the afternoons and that is great sport.  Long leaders and stealthy wading and flat water are all important, though it’s the flat water that makes the game.  You need a long stretch of smooth surface, and these cold water trout will stack up and rise.

Nymph fishing is also excellent in October, and very much overlooked.  With hundreds of trout migrating into the upper river to spawn, every dark slot in the river is full of fish.  Eggs, San Juan worms, along with traditional nymphs, will catch fish. Both tight line and indicator techniques will work, and rather than committing to one or the other, I like to have a tightline rig that I can quickly add an indicator to.  A lot of fall fish will hold fairly shallow, and a small indicator fished at distance is the best way I’ve found to catch such fish.

We’re only two weeks away from the end of our regular hours, and regular season, at the lodge.  The restaurant closes after breakfast on October 28th, and our shop hours will switch to 9 am – 2 pm, 7 days/week.  We will once again keep rooms open throughout the winter if you need a quiet weekend (or week) of winter fishing, or skiing, or general up north fun.

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