When most people see the leaves start to change colors their focus tends to shift from fishing to hunting. The allure of chasing a big buck can be enough for anyone to hang up the waders and rod for the year. I must admit as an avid archery hunter myself, I find it hard sometimes to take time out of a hunting season to get back out on the stream. However, fall can be one of the most productive times to be on the water. The following are three keys to fall fly fishing success in Pennsylvania. These tips and tactics will help many of anglers be successful with a fly rod in hand during the fall.
Timing the Best Fall Fly Fishing
The first key to success in fall fly fishing in Pennsylvania I have found is to switch up the times that you head out to the stream. During the fall you often have cold evenings and nights with some warmer mid-day temperatures. I am not saying to skip out on the early mornings and later evening sessions, but whenever that suns comes up and raises that water temperature a few degrees it can trigger a bite. Often, I find it helpful to wait until 9:30 or 10 AM to head to the water. This is convenient for the hunters reading this because this is the time when hunters are exiting the woods to head home for some breakfast. You can use this to your advantage to get a quick and productive fishing trip in during that mid-day lull.
Fall Water Conditions
Water condition is always important to take into consideration as well. Fall streams are typically low and clear. So, with these types of conditions it is important to think about your approach and presentations. Keep your movement in and around the water slow and to a minimum as fish can be spooky. If you do get a rain that brings the water up a little, take advantage of it. A rise in the water level can trigger activity and can be just what you need to have a solid day.
Also if you are fall brown trout fly fishing, remember they are spawning this time of the year. Be careful when wading while trout fishing so you don't disrupt fish that are spawning.
Effective Fall Trout Flies
Finding a solid pattern in the fall can be challenging at times. However, this is an important topic that will determine your fall fly fishing success. I will list a few that I have had luck with in the past.
One type of pattern that I tend to use during the fall time are worm patterns. Worm patterns can be very effective during the fall. Out of all of them I use two that work the best for me. One is a flashier worm pattern that is tied with a flashy pink pearl cord. This pattern has a lot of flash in it that can trigger a reaction strike. The other pattern is a squirmy worm. This worm is tied with a pink rubber material. It is weighted and has a ton of movement to it when twitched in the water. This twitching motion is key to this patterns success.
Aside from worm patterns, eggs can also be effective fall trout flies this time of year in streams. But by far my favorite type of patterns to fish in the fall, and any time of year for that matter, are streamers. Fall trout streamers are so effective because often trout tend to be more aggressive this time of year due to the spawn. One of the most effective fall fly fishing streamer patterns I use is a slump buster. This pattern can be tied in many colors. The two that I used most often are black and olive. These flies are tied with pine squirrel fur which has a ton of motion to it when stripped through the water. It is also a weighted fly, so it can get down to the fish if need be. This fly is a bit larger, and is known for triggering larger fish to bite. Some other flies that can be effective are white death streamers and the traditional wooly bugger.
To wrap it up, fall can be a very productive time of year to be on the water that is often overlooked. Trout tend to be aggressive and active and can be fairly easy to target when you know what you are doing. I hope that these keys for fall fly fishing success lead you to a successful fall season on the water. Dress for the weather, stay safe and tight lines!