September fishing was just as I hoped and produced some of the best days of the year, and I hope you had the same luck. With the return of the cooler nights, water temperatures have begun to cool down from their summer highs. In the saltwater, this sounds the call for mass migrations out of the tidal rivers and into open water; where the bonito, albies, stripers, blues, are waiting to reap the benefit of their relatively high position within the in-shore food chain. My clients fishing for stripers have had luck throwing bait fish patterns that imitate herring, pogies, sand eels, and bay anchovies.
In freshwater lakes and rivers, the cooling temperatures have brought on numerous insect hatches that are feeding the bait fish and panfish populations. All this activity in the shallows is a dinner bell for the largemouth and smallmouth bass, calling them out of their summer depths. When targeting fall bass on the fly, I often opt for bait fish patterns that imitate the young-of-the-year bluegill, perch, and bass that are abundant and active during the fall.
As I fish throughout the year, October is the month that I have the hardest time deciding what to do. Many in the region are chasing their last stripers and blues of the year, as well as the occasional late false albacore. Others are pounding the banks of lakes and rivers in search of big fish looking to fatten up for winter. When fly fishing for these larger bass, I throw streamers that match the local panfish population in size and color. An angler in search of a good fight can even head to the Great Lakes tributaries in search of big salmon, steelhead, and brown trout migrating out of the lake to spawn.
If you fish locally for trout, you have even more options! Our populations of brook and brown trout have moved upstream to find suitable gravel beds on which to make their spawning redds. Before they begin the spawn an angler can catch many of these staging fish, and the accompanying rainbow trout waiting for eggs to flow downstream, by using a small pegged bead or egg pattern fly presented right along the bottom. While egg color and size are important factors, I have found over time that it is a natural drag-free presentation that triggers the most strikes as an egg gently tumbles along the bottom in the current when free-flowing. Match this action and prepare for tight lines!
If a guided wading fly fishing trip for trout or striped bass is something that interests you, please visit our website at earlyriseoutfitters.com or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.