|Keith's Autumn Cutthroat|
(The whole point!)
Fall has always been my favorite season for as long as I can remember. And here on the Olympic Peninsula it seems that this great annual turning of things brings a kind of rush of opportunities for us, and we are often hard put to know which way to go first in our fly fishing adventures. Of course when it comes to fresh waters, and river fishing, September and October here have to be among the best months for Cutthroat trout and Summer Steelhead fishing, even during times of low water. The bigger glacially influenced rivers are clearing up in these scant flows, and that means there is dry line fishing to be had there finally. Termites, Caddis, Beetles, Stimulators, waking flies, all viable options for skating across the surface of a glassy run at dawn or dusk. For some the more accessible lowland lakes are still a focus, as the evenings lengthen and the waters cool, and those fish go on an energetic feed in the last light of summer. This is also true of the higher elevation lakes, and this time of year one could camp and fish with almost no one else on the trails. Personally I best like hiking and camping here after labor day. Sometimes you can have an entire campground to yourself for days.
The Autumnal Equinox still steers me straight for the saltwater beaches though. Once we get a nice punch of rain out on the west end rivers and streams, and the flows spike up a bit, then will resume more regular visits to those waters. But the Coho salmon are still coming, the sea run Cutthroat Trout have been feeding for months on bait fish and other forage, and they are as fat as they are going to be by the end of October. Some of the biggest, hardest fighting fish of the year are the autumn Cutthroat on the beaches. And now would not be the time to eschew dry fly fishing either. Just because these wild fish spend a few months in the salt chuck does not mean that they have forgotten the value of feeding on insects. September brings some very big hatches of termites out of the woods along our shores, and skittering a big rusty colored Stimulator, maybe a size six or eight, on a nine foot tapered leader, along the edges of the shoreline could be your ticket to a dream fish. These trout are on the feed this time of year, and a fly that is active on or in the water will get the most attention. Even using a wet fly or streamer I will give the fly "pulses" of movement through a swing. And I will change up my presentations often. Using everything from dry flies to poppers to streamers in the course of a day is a strong tactic. Speaking of poppers, you have to try fishing with Leland Miyawaki's Beach Popper. This is a thoroughly fun and addictive approach, and once you get a few fish on this fly you will want to fish it all of the time! Having Coho around means that there is always a chance that your fly could get grabbed by something bigger than you had planned for. Most of the salmon that we do catch are caught coincidentally to sea run fishing, on trout flies and leaders, and a few of them do get away unscathed aside from having a piece of fly fishing jewelry in their jaw.
|Leland Miyawaki fishing his Miyawaki Beach Poppers on the salt chuck|
|George came fishing on a foggy fall day to benefit The Wild Fish Conservancy|
|This is my fly pattern that Keith caught his beautiful autumn Cutthroat on: "Little Stone's Beach Baby"|