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Question about fall water conditions.

2015/8/28 14:48
From Swpa
Posts: 245
Will a heavy leaf fall, the kind that stains the water temporarily, put the fish down similar to what a snow melt does? A friend was telling me that yesterday, and I never heard of that before. The fish definitely weren’t willing to cooperate where we were fishing and the creek had that tannin stain from all the leaves but there was a half dozen other things that could of attributed to it too. TIA.

Posted on: 2017/10/9 11:59

Re: Question about fall water conditions.

2013/4/22 19:11
From Pennsylvania
Posts: 74
No. The leaves don't hurt a thing.

Posted on: 2017/10/9 12:21

Re: Question about fall water conditions.

2016/2/26 9:10
Posts: 875

DriftingDunn wrote:
No. The leaves don't hurt a thing.

Indeed, I caught a magnificent 7" red maple the other day on a BHPT!
It looked wild, but could have been a stocker from the neighbors yard.

Posted on: 2017/10/9 12:25

Re: Question about fall water conditions.

2009/11/5 1:46
Posts: 358
No. Snow melt "puts fish down" because it's a large dose of water that's 32 degrees and fish just aren't very active at those temps.

Many trout streams are tannin stained year 'round (think Maine, for example.)

The biggest reason for not catching with leaves in the water is that you spend more time removing leaves from you fly than you do fishing. (Pulling leaves rapidly through low water can't help make the fish feel more secure, either.) If you're avoiding that by casting where there are no leaves, you're probably avoiding casting where the fish are.

Posted on: 2017/10/9 12:28

Re: Question about fall water conditions.

2013/6/5 10:12
From PA
Posts: 141
I think on a windy day when there is very heavy leaf drop it could certainly put the fish down for that period of time. Those instances are pretty rare though and I certainly don't think it would be due to water color change. just the fact that so much debris is in the water the fish just hunker down a bit.

Posted on: 2017/10/9 12:35

Re: Question about fall water conditions.

2011/5/3 12:22
From Morgantown, PA
Posts: 1426
Streams typically don't become tannin stained just from a leaf fall. In most streams the leaves aren't in the water long enough to really start that process before they get washed away by a higher water event. Certain streams have watersheds that naturally produce tannin stained water...usually lots of Pine and/or slow draining water, like swamps in the headwaters. Odds are the stream you were fishing is always that color.

This is why so many Pocono streams are tannin stained. Lots of marshy, swampy areas at the top of the plateau that hold and retain water, and allow the tannins to form and concentrate. The water eventually makes its way into the streams that fall off the plateau, but by then the water's tannin stained. Even in the Poconos though, streams that don't have swampy headwaters run clear.

Posted on: 2017/10/9 12:50

Re: Question about fall water conditions.

2006/9/11 11:30
Posts: 219
The leaves do provide a bounty for some varieties of caddis flies that form cocoons in late summer, but bide their time until the leaves fall and then hatch so the next generation has something to chow down one. I'm not sure what the actual stimulus is, but it must be something. BTW, in many small forest streams the leaves that fall in are the primary energy source.

In general, in the low, clear waters common in fall it doesn't take much to turn the fish off. Let's hope this storm brings the streams up a bit.

Posted on: 2017/10/9 15:35

Re: Question about fall water conditions.

2012/8/21 14:04
From Hanover, PA 17331
Posts: 3
Interesting result of a "leaf fall" last Tuesday AM on the Yellow Breeches. While fishing a decent trico spinner fall, several birds were flocking within the stream corridor and their consequent erratic movement and short, bursts of flight amongst the hardwoods created a significant drop of leaves. This phenomenon, while short lived, created a dry fly opportunity for well placed terrestrials in the midst of the trico fall. Overall, awesome morning.

Posted on: 2017/10/9 22:27

Re: Question about fall water conditions.

2006/9/21 0:02
From Pittsburgh
Posts: 945
I don't think leaves put the fish down. They're used to that.
It does make fishing more difficult though. Constantly removing leaves from the fly gets very frustrating for me - along with twisted tippets from casting with a hooked leaf on.
The fishing can still be good though, if you happen to get out on a calm day.
Windy and rainy days now really bring them down

Posted on: 2017/10/11 11:56

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