This is it! The time of year that every fly fishing angler salivates over — fall trout fishing! Whether it’s the draw of the tranquil river trickles among the fall foliage or the forgiveness of the crisp autumnal air. There’s nothing quite like fishing for fall trout.
Yet, it shouldn’t go without saying that not all rivers, creeks, and streams are the same. And as the trout migrate, some bodies of water are far superior to others. From Henry’s Forks to the Green River, here are the best places to land yourself that trophy fall trout.
1. The Henry’s Forks – Idaho
Arguably one of the best fly fishing rivers in Idaho, fall trout fishing is a favorite time for many, especially with the appeal of large rainbows.
Anglers have been successful in many stretches of Henry’s Forks, yet a beloved fishing hole is Island Park. This is because fall trout fishing presents a thinned-out crowd compared to summer. This means you can get greedy–as long as you stay within catch limits.
Go for anything replicating a mayfly from your tackle box, like a mahogany dun. Although, nymphs make for an excellent fall fly alternative here.
2. Big Horn River – Montana
The Bighorn River has a somewhat legendary status for fly fishing rivers in Montana. From the Yellowtail Dam to Hardin, the number of fish is unfathomable and in the thousands per mile. With some of the most desirable targets being brown and rainbows trout.
Fly selection for the Big Horn River is simple and hassle-free. With favorites like olive wings, midges, and tricos all proving to be irresistible in the fall.
Interestingly enough, consider float fishing down the Big Horn River while casting a line when the water levels permit. It’s a refreshing alternative to wading or shore angling.
3. Rocky Mountain National Park – Colorado
Switching it up to cutthroat trout, Rocky Mountain National Park offers anglers a smorgasbord of high alpine lakes to target these elusive fish.
Furthermore, fishing for fall trout can turn out to be a tricky task with fluctuating temperatures and unpredictable weather. Many may not consider it, but it’s a blessing, with the weather keeping the crowds at home. Potentially giving you a private lake full of hungry, wild cutthroats. It’s one of the best angling secrets in Colorado!
Test out ants, streamers, and beetles, you never really know what will bite, but this is a good starting place.
4. Deschutes River – Oregon
Nevertheless, the Pacific Northwest is known for phenomenal fishing at any given time of the year. Come October, the rainbow trout put Oregon on the map as a top-notch destination for fall trout.
The Lower Deschutes will present anglers with a tease of the coming season in late August into September. By October, the rainbows can be found throughout the entire 252 miles of it. So, discovering that one fishing hole with a bounty of fish while undisturbed is a possibility.
However, you don’t have to rush out to pick up a fancy array of flies to conquer the Deschutes River. This is one river where simplicity will land you fall rainbows. So, big or small, load up on the caddis flies. Heck, even try out some nymphs while you’re at it.
5. Green River – Utah
The Green River is a jewel in the crown of all things angling. More so, over its unique course, it provides fly fishers with a diverse topography to utilize various techniques.
To expand upon this, the Green River is divided into three sections; A, B, and C. Section A runs from Flaming Gorge Dam to Little Hole, and presents anglers with wade-in opportunities. Meanwhile, Section B covers Little Hole to Indian Crossing, and Section C heads from Indian Crossing to the Utah/Colorado Border. That being said, if float fishing is your thing, try out Sections B and C.
Given its differing flow over 730 miles and through three states, rainbow trout are the most common catch and congregate in Section A. Whereas the less common brown trout can be tracked down into Sections B and C. Here’s a tip if you’re after trophies, the biggest fish are known to hide out in Section C. As well as the elusive cutthroat trout occasionally caught throughout its course.
On this note, you will need to know where you are fishing since the gear you pick will vary. Streamers are always an entertaining idea for Section C. Unlike the upper river, where anglers are apt to use blue-winged olives, midges, and scuds.
The Last Word
Fall trout showcases some of the most gargantuan fish of the year, and it shouldn’t go without saying that some gear changes should be considered too! No one wants to tell a tale of the one that got away.
A basic tackle box should include midges, nymphs, olives, and a few of the other flies mentioned above.
Oh, and remember, with dropping temperatures, go for a pair of insulating neoprene waders. Cause if you don’t you’ll quickly regret it!
What are your favorite spots for fall trout fishing? Please let us know in the comment below!