It’s so beautiful along the river right now it’s almost easy to ignore when the fishing is slow.  High skies, bright leaves, and snooty fish.  My dad and I made it out for a sweet float this afternoon down a suddenly deserted river.  it was tough.  The little olives were hatching all day from the mid-river weed beds but the rises were sporadic at best.  The trout weren’t really keyed into our nymphs.  I left my soft hackles at home, which was stupid, because a little soft-hackle fished as a shallow dropper would have done it.  Right?  Well, it always seems like the box left home must have had the magic flies.  We caught a few fish on the dropper, a few on dry, a few on small streamers, and a nice male brook trout tight-line nymphing a deep run.  Still, when we floated over a good run, the trout would scatter like birds from a wire.  They were there.  Feeding.  It was just a crystal-clear, picky sort of September day.

Fly adjustments were common today

We’re coming into a magic period when the trout are really on the move, and, if the weather is conducive to it, in the mood.  A turn in the weather will produce some excellent streamer fishing and I can’t wait for the weather to catch up to the leaves, and for it to feel like fall.  Right now, I’d just settle for a few clouds.  This weekend should provide us some.  And next week, with highs hovering around fifty (if the forecast is to be believed), the pre-spawn trout should be on the chase.  I intend to be on the chase as well.  A brown trout shooting from a shallow log jam in pursuit of a size 2 streamer in a foot of glass-clear water is every wild thing us trout fishers love, condensed into several seconds.

Kevin with a beautiful daytime brown

The key this time of year is to be ready for anything.  Even today, with my entire boat bag, I felt under-gunned simply because I didn’t have those soft hackles.  Fishing carefully, stealthily, with fine tippet and sparse flies makes a big difference in the fall.  I really felt like we had to comb the river for willing trout today, but we took our time and found some.  Dries and droppers, soft hackles, small streamers, and everything in-between.  We did have ants the last few late afternoons.  Yesterday evening, after a nice afternoon bird hunt, my friend Alex H and I stopped at a nice overlook on the South Branch and saw a pod of trout rising to a few flying ants (I assume, anyway) in the big glide.  My dog was down having a drink of water.  It’s nice to be by the river on a September evening.