Fall Fly Fishing

If schedules work out, I will get a hall pass to stay over a few nights and fish the Farmington on Columbus Day weekend. Last autumn yielded my personal best trout (details here). So, I’m hopeful for another good fall season.

A 22″ brown via a Perdigón

Of all the seasons in the year, I think autumn is my favorite time to fish. The temperatures are cooler, the foliage should be stunning, and many folks are hunting rather than fishing.

If you want to introduce someone to fly fishing, autumn is a great time. Some rivers are stocked by Columbus Day. Connecticut started stocking last week (updates here), and Mass. DFW usually starts late-September (updates here).

Also, if you yourself are new to fly fishing, there are many rivers that offer easy access. Our blog has written overviews on some rivers at which you easily can DIY without a guide.

Here are my recommendations: the Swift, the Millers, the Westfield’s East Branch and the Squannacook’s Bertozzi area.

But, my #1 autumn suggestion for new anglers is the Swift Hatchery Pipe area. Easy access, simple wading, and loaded with fish before catch-and-keep returns January 1. When brookies spawn, the eggs in the drift really get the rainbows going. My fishing notes indicate high-volume outings there in November.

Enjoy the autumn!

243 views

11 thoughts on “Fall Fly Fishing

  1. Great suggestion, Bill! I’ve never fished the Deerfield, and so, am always eager to hear about it. Thank you for the comment.

  2. Ever since stumbling onto your blog and posts I have realized how much I have missed fly fishing and definitely have a renewed interest, so thank you. I have also realized how much of a novice I am at it even though I have been doing it on and off for 20 years or so and I am talking once a year at times. I am really interested in starting euro nymphing and getting away from being so dominated by dry flies. I have read most of your blogs on the subject and a few video’s and I am feeling slightly overwhelmed as to where to actually start (other than the obvious river, of course). I was wondering if you would impart some insight into how you started, what rig you initially fished, or a basic set up that I should start with. I know there is no substitute for experience and the more I get out there the better I will become, I think I just need a little push to take the leap. Thanks again for the blogs and any insight and help you may have to offer. Happy fishing!

    1. Hi Nate, happy to help. To get started:

      1. What length and wt. is the fly rod?
      2. Is it a Euro-specific rod?
      3. Do you make your own flies?
      4. Are you near any fly shops?
      5. Which rivers do you usually fish?
      6. Do you do any indicator nymphing?
  3. Awesome! thanks…
    1. I have a 9′ 5 wt and a 7′ 3 wt.
    2. They aren’t specific to euro (or were not intended to be).
    3. Not yet, but soon. The set up is on the wish list.
    4. Bears Den in SE Mass.
    5. I am from NH originally so small to medium rivers in Central NH up to the White Mountains. In MA, I don’t make it westward much for the Swift or Deerfield, so its smaller streams like the Segregansette. I live close to Taunton, MA.
    6. I have never tried any type of specific nymphing other than cast and pray.

    Thanks for all your help, much appreciated.

    1. So, my approach was I went straight to a Euro rod and made my own rig and tweaked it, about which I’ve written here. I was already into fly fishing with my other gear, and I was committed to investing in a set up that would catch more fish and bigger fish and savvy fish. Man, did it ever.

      So, Plan A: If you want to be open to that approach, you can call Torrey or Grady at UpCountry in New Hartford, CT. They will ship for free. But, it’s a real expense. They sell a starter outfit (rod, reel, Euro line, Euro leader) for $420 or so. I’m happy to send an email intro to the guys if that will help. Orvis Dedham’s Pete Kistner also knows the Euro scene quite well. He’s a great guy, too. I’ve heard great things about the 10′ Orvis Recon #3, which is a specific Euro rod.

      Plan B: If you want to dabble in Euro without first committing, see if the folks at Bears Den or Orvis Dedham have Euro demo rods that they will lend out. Many fly shops will.

      Plan C: Buy the $9.95 Rio Euro leader (which comes with a built in sighter), some tungsten Euro flies, and some fluoro tippet. Hopefully, your fly shop will have all or most of these items. Add that to your 9′ #5 and fish with it. Frankly, it isn’t ideal, as the rod is likely too stiff to pick up soft takes and the heavy fly line will cause sag, leading to some potential drag and dampened sensitivity. But, it can work. And, that’s all you want before shelling out major bucks, IMO.

      Regardless of which Plan you choose, I’d buy the digital version of the Modern Nymphing video (15% discount code here). Another great resource is George Daniel’s Dynamic Nymphing, but that is pretty dense, although is a “must have” for those who go down the Tightlining Rabbit Hole.

      What do you think? I love answering these questions, and so, feel free to keep askin’….

    2. Forgot to mention: Euro isn’t great for very small and shallow streams. For example, that technique has not worked well for me at the Swift because much of the water is too shallow and/or too slow (other than “floating the sighter,” but that is a tweak on tightlining that I would not recommend to someone just starting).

      I do not know the Segregansette or SE Massachusetts. But, if you’re willing to drive to the Millers River, that is ideal Euro water: pocket water, longer and deeper runs, deep glides, etc. Parts of the Squannacook Bertozzi area are, too. As you know, I’ve written overviews on both and links are in the blog post above.

      Perhaps, the Bears Den folks can point out waters closer to you?

      1. Thanks again for taking the time to help me out. I will probably start with the B, C, (and D option from the reply to your other blog post. I don’t have many larger, deep rivers in which to fish in close proximity at the moment but I do get out to the western part of the state a few times a year. I will be up in NH later on this month and next and on the Cape for some saltwater action this October. I will stop in at Bear’s Den and see if they can help me with a set up on my 9′ rod and start from there. There is a larger deeper pool by where I am staying that I think would work for the technique. There was fish there, I just couldn’t get them to hit anything top water. In the mean time is there a technique that I should research to nymph the smaller, shallower rivers and streams?

        1. For really small streams, I bring my 7’10” #000 and either tightline small nymphs, throw small streamers, and if fish are looking up, throw a dry-dropper. There usually isn’t much casting room at the small streams, and so, a shorter rod is better.

Leave a Reply