Fall is in the air, the days are getting shorter, temperatures are cooling down, and the fish are putting on the feed bag in preparation for spawning (trout and salmon) and the coming winter. For the fly angler, this means lots of solid fishing opportunities and the question of 'what to fish for?' on any given day.
The trout fishing has been good despite the recent heavy rains. Fish have been taking nymphs and streamers in the stained to dirty water. When you can find clear water in the upper stretches of streams there’s been some good dry fly action. Small blue wing olive hatches are happening on overcast afternoons and evenings, and some tan caddis hatches in the evenings. Trico spinner falls are happening (Big Spring Creek and streams North of the WI River) from mid- to late morning where you can find them. Don’t forget terrestrials - warm, sunny, and windy afternoons can still provide good grasshopper, cricket, ant, and beetle action. The fish have been aggressive, feisty, and wearing their gorgeous fall colors. A friendly reminder the Wisconsin Trout Season Closes October 15th; after that it’s a trip to either Iowa, Minnesota, The Great Lakes Tributaries, Colorado, or Montana.
BIG GAME FISH
On the Lake Michigan tributaries, the King Salmon Rodeo has officially begun-kings are in the rivers along with a few lake-run brown trout. Though salmon fishing has its craziness and sometimes crowds, it’s the best opportunity we have to catch a 20-pound fish on a fly in fresh water. When sight fishing for kings always look for the most aggressive fish and fish your fly to it-this is the fish that’s most likely to grab your fly. This is because they’re more interested in reproduction than eating. Please don’t intentionally snag spawning fish because it’s illegal and unsporting. For some interesting sport, try fishing streamers and egg patterns in the holes below the king spawning beds for browns-they’re feeding on eggs washing down from the king beds. Another option is to swing or strip streamers in the sunken trees and sweepers-great hideouts for browns-to enjoy some western style streamer action. As the weather and water temperatures get cooler we’ll start to see more coho salmon, brown trout, and some steelhead.
BASS & PAN FISH
There are lots of options on the warm water species front. Bass and panfish are still biting, but fishing is best during the warm “Indian Summer” days and fishing is often best mid-day. As the weather gets colder, the bass go deep and get lethargic. For northern pike, musky, and walleye the colder the better-they’re cool water fish and feed more actively as it cools down. For musky, target Lakes Monona and Waubesa, pike are in all the Madison Lakes-a motorboat or at the very least a kayak is needed for covering water and fishing the weed lines. Fishing is good throughout the day. Walleye is best is the evening past dark-anywhere a river flows into or out of the lakes are good shore wade fishing spots-think wherever the Yahara River enters and exits the lakes. It’s also good below the dam at Prairie du Sac on the lower Wisconsin River.
Hot Flies Trout:
Dries: Parachute Adams #20-22, CDC Baetis Sparkle Dun #20, Baetis Sparkle Dun #20-22, Chubby Trico #20-22, X-Caddis Tan #16, Craig’s Spring Creek Caddis Tan #16
Terrestrials: Dave’s Hopper #10-12, Morrish Hopper Tan and Pink #12, 2-Tone Para Ant, Point Guard Beetle
Dry/Dropper: Parachute Madame X #12-14/Bead Head Flashback Pheasant Tail #16-18.
Nymphs: Pink Squirrel #12-14, Craig’s Spring Creek Scud Tan and Gray, Frenchie #16-18, Tungsten Zebra Midge Olive/Copper #18, Bead Head Hare’s Ear #12-16
Streamers: Leechinator, Rubber Leg Crystal Bugger #6-8 Olive and Black, Cross-Eyed Muddler Black
Salmon: Sheboygan Bunny White and Purple/pink, Fishstress Sheboygan Special
Lake-run Browns: Cross-Eyed Muddler Black, Olive, Ginger; Egg Sucking Leech Black/Chart; Glo Bug Orange, Chart, and Pink
Bass: Clouser Minnow Chart/Yellow #2-6, Murdich Minnow, UFM Baitfish Olive/White
Panfish: Craig’s Blue Gill Buster Chart and White, Craig’s Spring creek Leech Olive #10
Walleye: Clouser Minnow Chart/White #2-4, Mazo Minnow, Cross-eyed Muddler Black
Northern/Musky: Bill’s Figure 8 Sucker, PMS Streamer
NEW PRODUCT ALERT!
Scientific Anglers Titan Long and Titan Taper lines in 8-10 weight sizes-a fat head that turns over big flies easily when throwing to toothy fish and other warm water species.
For toothy fish, Scientific Anglers new Esox Special Leader with Knot 2 Kinky wire and a snap for easy fly changing and the new Toothy Fish Stealth Leader with an 80LB Flurocarbon bite tippet both make pike/musky rigging and fly changing easier than its ever been.
The new Simms Cold Weather Shirt, Cold Weather Pant, and Guide Flannel will arrive soon to keep you toasty on the water with good freedom of movement-also great for wearing around town, walking the dog, and going to football games.
WHAT'S ON SALE?