10 Essentials for Fall Fly Fishing
A couple weeks ago as I walked out my door for another summer day of guiding, I realized that it was not summer at all! It was fall. The tides had changed. The fall air had arrived. Not nearly yet full fall effect, but the texture of the air had certainly become darker. Not as light, or as bright, or as stale as the summer atmosphere can become. Fall had arrived on the Missouri River.
On the short 6 mile drive to Craig Montana, the hub of Missouri River angling, I saw a few scant red leaves showing in the riverside brush. Not many, and not deep red by any stretch, but there were some color changes occurring.
Color changes then lead my mind into brown trout, streamer fishing, gloves, boat heaters, and frigid winter fly fishing. Whoa I thought, not yet. We still have the fall in front of us. Beyond a few weeks of fantastic PMD fishing, it is my favorite time of the year. I don’t hunt, so fishing is all I have. I’m perfectly OK with that. If I hunted, it would mean far fewer coveted days in the boat.
While embroiled in this preparation task I found myself reliving the falls of the last decade. What is really important for fall fishing. Comfort and the right fishing tools. I would vote for comfort first. Then everything else falls into place. The proper tools then will allow you to enjoy the day. Hopefully bumping into a few big fish.
Here are the 10 Essentials for Fall Fly Fishing
A proper hat. Whether it be a stocking cap, your favorite ball cap, or for those out west, a Cowboy hat. Head warmth is key to your comfort. A ton of heat can escape from your head. So wrap it up and stay warm. Nobody has as much fun when they are cold!
3 Fly Rods. Why not have 3 fly rods ready for any condition that you may encounter. One for streamer fishing, one for dry fly fishing, and one for nymphing. Having all 3 in the mix creates more time for fishing. More time for fishing increases your odds of catching. And we all like catching. I am most commonly fishing from a drift boat, and have plenty of space for fly rods. If you are wade fishing, this can become cumbersome. I understand. Even having them rigged in the car is good though. Those who wade fish in my neighborhood commonly have 3 ready to go. Preparation is an important essential for all seasons of fly fishing.
Thermos. A hot one at that. In fact, I have become a Thermos fanatic the past few years. If I’m being truthful, the last 20 years. I have my morning rituals with the preheating with boiling hot water, then filling them with coffee, hot water, and piping hot chicken broth. Always on board is the bag full of hot chocolate, tea, ciders, and chicken noodle soup. I have even gone to an insulated Thermos bag to keep the cool to frigid fall air temperatures from compromising the warmth of the said Thermos’. Some say this is going too far. I disagree. Having a plethora of hot Thermos’ is not a crime. Comfort is a reward for proper preparation. Enjoy your reward with a hot cup of Joe
Hand Warmers. I have a box full in the boat. Again, comfort is imperative for fishing success. Years ago a friend showed me how he put a hand warmer in each shirt pocket keeping his core warm too. Smart. I have employed this technique for years and recommend you give it a try. It’s really nice. I put a couple in my leather insulated mittens too. I put them on top of my hands as I can still row without discomfort. Or, I use them for anglers and when their hands become wet and cold, they just pop them into fleece lined hand ovens. Respite from the cold is nice. Comfort is good
Upon finishing the prep for the pending fall season I truly began to fantasize about the bigger buttery brown trout, the noses of sipping trout, the cooler mornings, the smile on anglers faces. The golden light can really get me reminiscing as I know it is the year passing by too rapidly. It reminds us that fall can present us with many opportunities and many possibilities. Preparing yourself for angling success is really what this article is about. Having the right tools for fall angling success. Many times we don’t. Take a little time and get your self in the game. The above 10 Essentials are my suggestions, by they are just that. Make your own Top 10 Essentials list and implement them this fall!