How to catch trout in the fall

Autumn is a time of transition. A time when the world slows down from the frantic application of sunscreen, the riverside cookouts, the “don’t forget to bring your swimsuit” days of summer, to the crispy cold days that begin the heavy blanket of winter. It’s a time to light the first fire in the fireplace, wear comfy sweaters, watch scary movies, spice everything up with pumpkin, and most importantly, catch big trout.

Fall fishing is the stuff dreams are made of if you are a trout angler. The water in the fall is shallow and clear, which puts the fish and potential fishing spots to the east. Brown and brook trout prepare to spawn and become extremely aggressive, while trout such as rainbows and cutthroats are energized by the cold water and less wary of approaching anglers. Best of all, almost every type of trout in the water senses winter is coming and will start gorging on just about anything. This makes bait, lure, and fly selection much less of a hassle, but there are still certain techniques that will help ensure you can take advantage of the fall trout bonanza.

Drifting dead baits

Dead drift is the most common and probably the most effective fishing method for fall trout. It consists of throwing a baited line into the river and letting it go downstream freely with the current until it is inhaled by a trout. It is best done with a center pin rig, which is a light, long action rod associated with a large, dragless reel, similar to a fly reel. Because the reel is drag-free, it can be left to spin freely with the current, allowing your bait to travel downstream along bank edges or even through the middle of the river, completely unhindered.

If you don’t have or don’t want to buy a center pivot rig, dead drifting can also be done with your standard spinning reel or even a bait caster. For the spinning reel, simply cast the bait into the stream and then open the bail so the line can freely unspool from the reel. When a fish strikes, release the rod tip, close the bail, then set the hook. With a baitcasting reel, set the reel to freespool after casting and let the line run with the current, turn it off and set the hook when you get hit.

Setting up your dead drift rig is a simple thing. First, tie a slider spool to your main line by running the line through the spool. Then attach a barrel swivel, which will prevent the spool from slipping too far down the line when you’re casting. Tie a piece of 6 to 10 pound light test line to the other end of the barrel swivel. The actual length of this line will vary depending on the depth of the water you’re fishing in, but it should be long enough so that once you’re done rigging, your bait ends up floating about 3 to 6 inches above the bottom. Next, attach a small split shot directly below the barrel pivot so the cork hangs vertically in the water, and add a couple along the line to ensure the bait hangs above the bottom. Tie on a small size 10-8 octopus or bait hook and you are ready to go.

As for the bait for a drifting dead rig, you can use a variety of things. From nightcrawlers, worms, and mealworms, to live or dead minnows, smelt, or sculpins, they’ll all catch fish. In rivers that have a lot of spawning salmon or trout, fish eggs or egg sacs can also be a good option. On an unfamiliar river, it’s best to bring and use a variety of baits until you find one that really starts to get hammered.

Jerkbait Fishing

To this day, the largest brown trout I have ever caught came into my net on a jerkbait. It was a cold October morning, and I only had a few hours to fish when the monster crashed into my lure on my second cast. I’ve been completely obsessed with fishing them in the fall ever since.

Jerkbaits are excellent lures for large, bait-hungry fall trout. They are easy to use, can be fished with many different actions to attract trout, cover a lot of water, and mimic a variety of different prey that large trout love to devour. Now, there are many different types of jerkbaits, but your best bets for big drop trout are the Original Rapala, the Husky Jerk, and the X-Rap. All three lures can be cast and ripped along the shore, twist and stop through the current, or cast in a tight line and allow them to swing and swim naturally in the current. Fish them with a light to medium action spinning rod strung with 6 to 10 pound test line so you can feel any small bumps or massive arm strikes that aggressive fall trout may throw your way.

The best places to fish for jerkbaits are in the transition zones. Steep drops, deep undercut banks, slow water at the base of rapids and around large rocks and log jams. Anywhere a large, hungry fall trout may be laying, waiting for a passing baitfish or smaller trout to line up in their crosshairs.

Release of streamers and nymphs

Fly fishermen can also get in on the fall fishing action. While there may be a few small mayfly or caddis hatches during this time, which can be incredibly fun, your best bet to really get into trout is to use nymphs and streamers. Both techniques introduce flies below the surface that play on the aggressive nature of the fall trout while also giving you plenty of options should the fish become focused on something in particular.

Although not the most productive fishing method, casting streamers in the fall is the best way to catch really big trout with a fly rod. These fly rods should be heavier than traditional 5 weights to easily cast the biggest and heaviest flies and to control and land the biggest and most powerful trout you will eventually hook. Your best bet is to use at least a 6 or 7 weight rod strung with a full sink or at least sink tip line. Fish for streamers on these lines with a 2- to 3-foot heavy section of 10- to 15-pound tippet that you’ll be able to get hard and fast into the mouth of a trout, or the rock or log they mistake for one—without losing your fly.

Streamer patterns for fall fish should be large and conspicuous, which will work best to attract large and conspicuous fall trout. My favorites include Drunk and Disorderly, Sluggo, and Kill Whitey, in bright, garish colors like yellow, orange, chartreuse, and white. These big, bright flies will set off a huge trout drop and cause them to absolutely crush the streamer. You can also use smaller streamers that mimic bait fish like dace, smelt, and sculpins during the fall. His best patterns for this include Clouser Minnow, Game Changer, Conehead Muddler, and Lefty’s Deceiver.

Fish your streamers the same way you would fish for jerkbaits by targeting transition areas. Quickly put them on top of deep pools, slide and move them along undercut banks, and bump and drop them into and around structures like log jams and large sunken rocks – places where large predatory trout like to hide. .

Fall nymph fishing is best done with a longer 10 foot 5 or 6 weight rod which will give you more control over the long swerves required for technique. Use a 4X to 2X fluorocarbon leader at least 9 feet long and a tippet that won’t scare off any trout in the shallow, clear fall water. While you can catch your nymphs by simply sinking them and letting them bounce off the bottom, I’ve found it’s best to also use a hit indicator during the fall which will better detect the often subtle hits. Set the gauge so your flies travel half as deep as the water you are fishing in (ie if you are fishing 6 feet deep, set the gauge to 9 feet). This will keep your flies in the strike zone longer. and while you might get hooked once or twice, it’s the perfect depth to put your nymphs in front of as many big trout as possible.

There are many options when it comes to nymphs for trout fishing in the fall, but I have found that bigger is often better. Large stonefly patterns like Girdle Bug and Copper Back can be especially effective, along with attractant flies like Copper John and Frenchie. You can pair these large nymphs with smaller, more realistic patterns, such as the pheasant tail and hare’s ear, by attaching them to the stem of larger flies like droppers, doubling your chances of connecting. In waters with spawning trout or salmon, egg patterns like the Nuke Egg and Glo Bug can also be great options.

The best places to fish for nymphs are the heads and tails of long ponds where large fall trout are likely to gather to feed or are preparing to spawn. It’s also a good bet to run your nymphs with a strong split shot through deep, fast-moving runs behind shallow gravel bars. This is a favorite spot for large trout looking to pick up spawning fish eggs or large nymphs that have been caught in the current as they head for deeper water.

It’s the season

Whether it’s reaping the harvest, stocking the freezer, or simply gathering around the table with friends and family, fall is a time for reflection. A time to remember the past year and find value in our efforts before preparing for a long winter. This is perhaps the biggest reason to go trout fishing in the fall.

Whether you use these techniques or not, when you’re standing in the river, spouting water, surrounded by the season’s brilliant foliage, reflected in the gently flowing water gliding past you, it’s almost impossible not to look around you. and appreciate all of that. you’ve got. When it comes down to it, that really is the best fall trout fishing technique, just getting out on the river and just enjoying your time on the water in the most beautiful of seasons. Because while trout fishing can be fast and furious during the fall, you’ll soon find that you don’t care if the fish bite or not.

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