So as "football weather" officially arrives, I thought I'd reminisce a bit about some of my favorite fall fishing destinations here in the Rockies, in hopes of both inspiring and compelling my fishing pals to hit the water during this, the best time of the year to find quiet water amidst the splendor of the season. Happy weekend.
|Arkansas River brown trout.|
9) The Bitterroot. Fall might as well be called Streamer Season, and the upper Bitterroot near Hamilton, Mont., could be the best fall brown trout river in America. In addition browns, the river's native west slope cutthroats have returned from their tributary spawning jaunts and are now back in the big water, as are rainbow-cutthroat hybrids and the underappreciated mountain whitefish. Here on the 'root, I've hooked whities on massive streamers meant for monster browns, and browns that sipped in No. 22 BWOs... you never know.
|Fall on the Snake.|
7) The Madison, Yellowstone National Park. You need to hit the Barnes Pools at least once in your fishing lifetime, if for no other reason than to witness the fall run of Hebgen Lake's trout. Rainbows are generally known as spring spawners, by many of Hebgen's rainbows follow massive browns, also from the lake, on their spawning run in the fall--some folks even think the Hebgen lake rainbows were initially stocked from steelhead-strain fish, which could also explain the run upstream. Either way, swinging streamers for big browns or drifting eggs for rainbows makes this a "bucket list" destination in the fall.
|Never know who'll join you for a fall day on the South Fork.|
5) The Henry's Fork, Ashton, Idaho. This river might be the nation's signature trout stream, and it fishes great in the fall, before the snow flies. Frankly, it fishes great all year round, but I love it in the fall and again in the late-spring when bitter cold won't crush your spirits and you can patiently wait for the hatch to find schools of rainbows, browns and whitefish ready to hit the top.
|Fall on the Green.|
3) The Provo River, Utah. This river gets a lot of pressure, what with it being so close to the Wasatch Front. But in the fall, pressure drops a bit, and you can have some water all to yourself. Again, brown trout are the name of the game, and I'd start with streamers before giving up and matching the hatch. Big browns and some rainbows (and watch for otters, too) will chase streamers on the swing.
2) The Green River, Utah. The Green actually fishes well all year long, but in the fall, the drift-boat hatch slows a bit and the river's big browns come to life. If you can float it, arm yourself with a couple of rods, including one with a sink-tip line, and strip big, furry critters through the deep-green depths. It's something every angler must experience.
|Lower Firehole Falls.|
It's fall in the rockies... I know what I'm doing this weekend. Do you?