Living in this town, sometimes I find I have to pinch myself to make sure it’s really me, and real life and not a dream. Such a time occurred the other day, when I floated through town late one picture perfect fall afternoon. I pinched myself for a couple of reasons. Firstly, because it was literally another beautiful day in paradise, and secondly, because it is worth reminding myself that I live in a place where I can decide at two in the afternoon to go for a float, call a couple of friends, and half an hour later be floating the river with a fly rod in one hand and a beer in the cozy.
Right now is the time when the brown trout in the river have their minds on their own bit of pinching, biting, teasing and possibly spanking. I am speaking of course of the fall spawn, when a healthy brown’s mind turns to the procreation of the species. The females will seek out places in the river ideal for preparing a spawning bed, or redd. Usually they choose places where the river is one to three feet deep, with a slow, steady current and a gravelly bottom. The female will sweep the stones of the redd clean of algae and silt to provide a suitable surface for her eggs to adhere. Once she has laid her eggs, the males, who have been jockeying for position at the downstream edge of the redd like cowboys lining up at a one room whore house , will release their milt over the eggs, hopefully creating a new generation to carry the torch.
Once you know what to look for, a redd is easily identifiable. The clean rock bottom will often stand out from the surrounding riverbed vividly, whiter patches distinct from their surroundings. This time of the year I like to make sure I am not casting anywhere near a redd, to ensure that any fish I catch are not actively involved in the love game. After all, how would you feel if someone kept throwing things at you while you were between the sheets so to speak? Hardly sporting.
For this float, we chose to throw single dries, with small caddis and humpies being the best producers. From tha boat, casting to the shallower edges and away from the redds ensured the fish we caught had their mind on feeding, not romance. The wind made things a little tricky at times, but most times you got a good drift in the slow, shallow edges, there was some kind of action. Getting a fish to take is one thing, hooking him is sometimes another, as witnessed in the video. But I have always maintained that if you were to hook them all, it would get pretty boring pretty quick. And let’s face it, who among us is averse to a good spanking every now and then, right?
Right now, the flows are low and clear, and will probably remain so throughout the winter. I would expect the fishing to stay strong throughout October, and even into November provided the weather stays mild. So my advice is to get out there,enjoy the fall colors and the last vestiges of summer before winter lock us in its grip. But once again, I have to pinch myself, for then its away with the fly rod and hello to Monarch and the snowboard.