One of my favorite fortnights of the year! Fall is an urgent season. Winter is coming. Birds have to get south. Trout must spawn. Deer must rut. Riverboats have to be covered. Wood stacked. The list of to-dos is, to me, much greater than in spring. At some point, there’ll be that first big blanket of snow. Yesterday it was fall, and today it is winter. Right now, thankfully, it is a beautiful warm fall…and so some of that urgency isn’t exactly palpable…though, today, Katy and I did see a magnum trout spawning. 7 or 8 pounds. We ultimately saw a handful of beds, a few of which were occupied. The water was crystalline and the sky cerulean and the approach was difficult. We fished the shade lines as best we could with fine little nymph rigs as the sun warmed the morning. I tried a lot of different flies but nothing seems to match a small little yarn trout egg this time of year.
While the hunters have enjoyed the dry conditions, what the trout fisher needs in November are the dank, crappy days that all fly-fishers secretly enjoy surviving (so much the better if the trout will chase streamers as well). Instead, tomorrow is supposed to be 70 degrees. This weekend there’ll be enough clouds to make thing interesting to the streamer angler. When the cold front hits next week, however, I expect a lot of trout to either resume or start spawning, and this can slow the fishing until the majority of the fish are done, and sitting in a pool, hungry. And it is that season, when the trout are settling into their winter and this procreative urgency has faded, which I have begun to tie for and crave.
I’ve been spending a lot of this past week in the woods, either in a tree or walking behind a bird dog. Like fishing, I love the places hunting takes me. A homebody like me doesn’t need anything exotic (though bonefish will be in my future). I love finding little places I’ve not been. Today it was this splendid little creek valley and a drained beaver pond. The place was bird-poor but I saw no boot tracks in the muck and my dog enjoyed the opportunity for a swim. After enough hunting or fishing I just get kind of content for a few days. I think that’s why they call it a fix. You get enough of a fix, well, I guess you’re momentarily fixed. I always say that if July fly-fishing replaced May fly-fishing, everyone would love July more than May. There are trout rising everywhere to a multitude of hatches and yet it’s a season that remains surprisingly underfished and I guess the only reason I can think of is that it happens to follow June. Today we quit early, beaver pond valley fresh in my mind, and I petted the dog and knew that my bird season was probably done. And while I lessened their ranks, once again the grouse, like everything else to which I’m addicted, have won.
Sign up for our Holiday Catalog: We’re just about to ship this year’s fall catalog to the printers. If you don’t already receive our catalog, send your mailing address to [email protected] If you already do receive our catalogs, then you’ll get this one too! We got it full of gift ideas, new products, and more. We are also busy working on getting new products on our online store: www.gatesflyshop.com
Winter Hours: We are open every day from 9 am – 2 pm except for 11/15, 11/24, and 12/24, 12/25, 12/31, and 1/1. We also have open rooms through the winter.