Fall fly fishing in the region offers plenty of great opportunities. The cooler weather offers anglers some solitude of fly fishing while many are caught up with other fall activities. A little bit of preparation can be a rewarding opportunity for those who can make the time.
Reproduction plays an important part of the trout lifecycle during the fall months for both brook and brown trout. Brook trout, native to the US, usually begin to spawn from late September through October. Brown trout typically start spawning in October through late November. I have seen this go later too.
During the spawn coloring on the trout will intensify especially in the males. Females will often create gravel beds for the fertilized eggs called redds. It is very important to be careful of these sections on streams when you see redds and not to kick them up when walking. Probably best even to leave trout to overtop redds alone and give them a chance to protect the eggs.
Often the water in the fall is low and gin clear. Spotting trout on a redd is pretty easy to see as in the photo to the left. The trout will sit over top of a small group of rocks that they have knocked around and they often will have a little more cleaned up look as if someone kicked up the spot. Take a little time before marching into the stream to check on the conditions. Good advice for any day.
As the trout begin to change so does the entomology or insect life in the stream. Activity will be different from region to region, stream size, earlier summer water temperatures, and geology. The fall provides a more limited selection of insects and often anglers enjoy bringing a more modest selection of flies and imitations. Some of the more popular collections include Slate Drakes, BWO, Caddis, midges, and terrestrials. Typical nymphs and streamers are very successful smart choices as well.
I like Dave Weaver's suggestions for even looking for rainbows behind the redds feeding on eggs. Some small simple egg patterns can produce some pretty good results for these rainbows. The most common color for natural trout eggs is cream, pale orange and pink.
The full and fast spring streams can take a new characteristic once September arrives. Low clear water can create a challenge for some anglers, but stealth and patience can provide many rewards.
With summer holder over trout and newly stocked trout in many streams, there should be ample opportunity for solitude and fish in autumn. Check out the PaFlyFish forums and stream reports to learn more about what is happening in your area.