With colder temperatures at night come our favorite fall hatches: October Caddis, Blue Winged Olives/Baetis, Shortwing/Nocturnal Stone, Assorted Caddis, Grey Drakes and Mahogany Duns. The cooler weather has fish waking up from their heat induced summer sluggishness. Fish are looking up keying in on hatches as well as eating voraciously subsurface. Dry fly fishing locally has been fantastic. We have brought in an extensive selection of brand new fly patterns for this fall that we are excited about. This is one of our favorite times of year, and a great time to get out on the water.
Fall hatches are triggered by cool nights and colder water temperatures; these hatches start high in the system and work their way down as the cooler weather makes its way down into the valley. October caddis pupa emerge at night or on cooler, cloudier days. Their activity is largely concentrated to the afternoon into the evening. Mahogany Duns, Gray Drakes, Short-Winged Stones, and assorted small caddis will be active in the afternoon. Blue Winged Olives will hatch in greater numbers on cooler, more overcast days. You may see some lingering terrestrials like hoppers, crickets, ants and beetles, but with these cold nights they wont last long.
Different hatches will pop off sporadically throughout the day, so having a variety of fly patterns can be helpful if the fish are keying in on a specific insect. Baetis dries include: Hatch Matcher Blue Winged Olive #16-18, Extended Body Blue Winged Olive #18-20,
Galloup’s OG Bent Olive Cripple #18. October Caddis Dries are best fished in the evening or on seriously overcast days, here are some shop favorites: Burkus’s Sedgeback October Caddis #8-10, Orange Stimulator #6-12, Morrish’s October Caddis #8, Swisher’s Foam PMX Orange #10 , or a Norm Woods Special #6-8. Gray Drakes offer trout a larger meal than most mayflies, here are some new patterns that we like: Hot Spot Para Wulff #12, Irresistible Wulff #12, Galloup’s Tilt Wing Gray Drake #12, Galloup’s Gray OG Bent Cripple #14, or an Extended Body Gray Drake #12. Mahogany duns offer a reliable source of food for tout during the fall. Here are some hot new patterns: Hatchback Mahogany Dun #16, Extended Body Mahogany Dun #16, Tilt Wing Mahogany Dun #16, or a Galloup’s Brown OG Bent Cripple #14. Assorted small caddis are still active this time of year having some of the following is smart: Elk Hair Caddis Tan #14-16, Swisher’s Tan Dancing Caddis #16, or a Goddard Caddis #14.
You can still fish a dry dropper this time of year when you want to search on the surface and below simultaneously. Nocturnal or Shortwing Stones are large enough to be imitated by a larger chubby, which affords the buoyancy of dropping a bead-head nymph below. The same holds true for the large October Caddis patterns. Choice dries for dry dropper rigs this fall include: Water Walker Nocturnal Stone #8, Double Stack Chubby Brown/Gold #8-10, or a Swisher’s Orange Foam PMX #10. Small nymphs that make good droppers are: Firestarter Perdigon #12-14, Jigged Frenchie #14, or a Berry’s PCP #14-16.
There are a variety of nymphs moving through the water column this time of year, so having a variety of nymphs that mimic several species can be helpful. Nymphing is a great option when hatches aren’t apparent. Some great October Caddis Pupa Nymphs are: Anderson’s Bird of Prey October Caddis #6-10, Caddyshack October Caddis #8, or Nemo’s Septober Caddis Pupa #8. For smaller mayflies like Baetis and Mahogany Duns try: Dally’s Tailwater Jig #14, Splitback BWO #18, or a Flashback Pheasant Tail #14-16. Grey Drake nymphs are a little larger so try a Jigged Swimming Drake #12 or a Jigged Hares Ear #12. Lastly, nocturnal stones can be imitated by various stonefly nymphs like Mega Prince #8-10, Sili Leg Stonefly: Coffee #8, or a Pat’s Rubber Legs #8. Letting your mayfly and caddis nymphs swing at the end of your drift can produce some powerful takes.
As more mayflies hatch this time of year, swinging soft hackles that imitate emerging nymphs can be a great way to fish, and produce explosive grabs. For Blue Winged Olives or Mahogany Dun soft hackles try: Soft BWO Emerger #16/18 , Tungsten Soft Hackle Pheasant #14-16, Harrop’s Mahogany Soft Hackle Beaded Thorax #14, or a a Drymerger Baetis #18. The October Caddis Pupa listed above are great on the swing. Most of these pupa emerge overnight, or on especially cloudy days. Try swinging them in various lower light situations.
For many of us here in the valley, this is our favorite time of year to get out. The river is conducive for a float, for wading, there are loads of insects hatching, what more could you want? Swing by the shop and check out the back table for a handpicked selection of our best seasonal flies, or to see some of the new patterns. Feel free to give us a call or stop by the shop if you need anything. Have fun out there!