That Time of Year

Fishing pressure falls dramatically after the first week in October. I suppose people are concerned about the weather. This is Montana and the odds of a snowstorm or cold temperatures increase this time of year. The days are shorter and the nights can be cold. That being said, autumn can provide some of the best fishing of the year, and most of you know that 2012 has seen low flows all summer long. Low flows mean low water temperatures and less aquatic grass. Less aquatic grass means better fishing across the board on dries, nymphs, and especially streamers.

The Internet allows a person to monitor the weather with considerable accuracy. Below are links to some of the sites you might utilize. I’ve heard that Weather Underground and NOAA are the best, but get familiar with one or more of them and see for yourself:

Taylor Chambers, the “Trout Whisperer,” admires a nice brown he took on a streamer.

I know weather is only one of the factors for booking a short-notice trip. Getting time off work or booking airline reservations are others. But the quality of the fishing and the solitude are worth fishing in the fall.

As for staying comfortable in cold weather, with all the quality, high-tech clothing out there, if you can’t stay warm it’s your own fault. As for keeping your hands warm while being able to manipulate your fly line with finesse, well, they can put a man on the moon but … . I do recommend hand warmers. Keep a few in your pocket at all times. They’re not a total solution, but they help a lot.
Here’s one tip regarding cold weather clothing. Always bring the “nuclear option.” By that I’m referring to that coat which will keep you warm no matter what Mother Nature may throw at you. Granted, it may be a coat you could wear to the summit of K2 or mushing the Iditarod, but bring it anyway. I know this is the age of layering, but too often I see people with all their layers on and they’re still cold. It’s a beautiful thing to be catching trophy trout on streamers when big snowflakes are coming down and you’re the only one on the river. It’s a beautiful thing when you’re warm, that is.