Streamer fishing can be extremely productive during October when trout feed heavily to build winter strength. Be sure to have an assortment of nymph, emerger and dry fly patterns at hand for this tactic.
Early Autumn can bring exceptional hatches of the BWO mayfly. Be ready by keeping a size #18 or smaller insect (Zebra Midges are great choices) in your kit; these tiny bugs could become vital components of your fall arsenal.
Few fly patterns offer as much versatility or success for anglers than the Wooly Bugger. Perfect for freshwater and saltwater angling, it can be fished actively or as a dead drift to catch trout and many other species; I have personally caught bass, carp, panfish, small steelhead and trout using this simple but highly effective pattern.
Wooly Bugger flies can be tied in various sizes and colors depending on your target species and conditions. A popular olive green hue, but there is a wide range of other hues you can dress yours with to fit different fish species and water conditions. When matching size of Wooly Bugger fly to target species it is key that size coincides with species being targeted – for instance tying one in small stream works better than in river with stronger current; or use more effective patterns like brown Wooly Bugger in large rivers with strong currents!
Altering the presentation can further your odds of success when fishing flies, such as adding split shot to the hook can help it sink more quickly – this is particularly helpful in fast, cold waters. Also consider adding weighted tails for greater movement and visibility in the water.
An important way to increase your odds when fishing a Wooly Bugger is with a strike indicator. This tool is especially important when fishing cut banks or deeper seams where any subtle takes may happen – thus helping detect subtle takes when they do occur.
Start with an olive green marabou strip about as long as the hook shank. Attach one portion to the front of your fly with several wraps over where thread meets hook, before securing with your bobbin holder by wrapping several times around shank and locking into place with it.
At its heart is a simple yet highly effective fly pattern – the Black Beetle! Throw this on either a dry fly rig or as a dropper to trigger strikes from finicky trout. It features a dark black body with a vibrant red beetle tail for realistic movement that draws strikes from unsuspecting trout. A CDC wing allows it to float easily while its palmered body hackle adds bulk. Lastly, metal beads add weight for deeper waters.
Along with your selection of dry flies, it’s also essential to have an abundance of nymph and emerger flies available in your fly box. Nymphs can be especially effective during Fall when trout are feeding heavily; indeed they may even outperform dry flies when conditions permit! Being sure you always have access to several sizes of nymphs will ensure you always have something suitable available when the time is right.
One of the best hatches to target in October are Blue Winged Olives or BWOs. These small olive mayflies hatch midday during fall and can provide food sources for trout. When fishing these flies, an olive or black fly with flash works best; typically using sizes 18-20 olive is recommended since trout tend to get nervous around this size fly.
October Caddis imitation is another popular autumn choice, providing trout with easy prey that are an easy meal. Caddis can also serve as an effective dropper fly for dry fly anglers who prefer fishing subsurface, making this pattern suitable for double nymphing as well.
Trout during the Fall are busy feeding up for Winter by devouring as many crabs and baitfish as they can before spawning, which means they may prefer larger prey like crabs and baitfish over smaller offerings like streamers that resemble larger prey like crabs or baitfish. Therefore, streamer patterns can be great ways to target trophy trout in autumn!
Pheasant Tail nymphs are one of the most versatile patterns in any fly fisher’s arsenal and are an invaluable asset in every situation. Constructed using two materials, they’re simple yet effective when trout are feeding on small nymphs in spring.
Numerous pheasant tail nymph patterns exist, but the standard unweighted version may be the most versatile. To create this version of this fly, strip 10 or so fibers free from their stem while doing your best to align their tips, measure down to the hook eye and anchor with firm thread wraps leaving just enough space behind the eye for you to tie on a tungsten bead if necessary.
Add a small peacock herl for the thorax. The size will depend on what insect species you’re imitating; I typically opt for something between sizes 14-20. Once added, secure it using thread wraps before trimming off square ends on both ends.
Add a long piece of medium opal tinsel and wrap it tightly around the pheasant tail fibers on the shank of the hook, trapping about one bead length before each bead before tightening further to secure it in place.
This basic pheasant tail nymph pattern is an effective choice when heavier fly is necessary to target trout in October’s cooler waters. I like using it alongside a tungsten bead and larger dry fly attractor patterns like Royal Wulff, Parachute Adams Chubby Chernobyl or orange Stimulators for maximum success.
As temperatures cool off and mayfly hatches fade away, subsurface nymphing with standard beaded nymphs such as Princes, Pheasant Tails or Euro Rubber Prince is another effective method. You might even come across Tricos, Hecubas or Blue Winged Olives hatching on warm afternoons; I suggest Ron’s Hi-Viz Trico Spinner or size 12 Tan Elk Hair Caddis for these species.
Last Chance Cripple
When October rolls around, people often tend to put away their fly rods in favor of tasks that must be completed prior to Winter. But this would be a huge miscalculation; October can be one of the best times of year for fly fishing; rivers are less crowded while trout feed actively on baitfish and smallmouth bass. Utilizing both summer and autumn tactics may offer optimal results at this time of year.
One of the most productive fly patterns to use during October is a Last Chance Cripple, an impressively big caddis pattern which can imitate large October Caddis hatches that occur this month. Baetis hatches can also be abundant during this month; therefore incorporating Tilt Wing BWO, Split Flag BWO or Swishers Clumpa patterns as viable dry fly options would all be excellent additions to your dry fly collection for this month.
Egg patterns can be extremely effective this time of year in certain locations, making a versatile selection of egg, caddis and midge flies in your fly box essential for adaptable tactics when fishing.
As September and October progress, many anglers still rely heavily on nymph fishing for trout. But this doesn’t have to be the case: top water feeding continues throughout autumn and there are hatches of caddis flies, baetis, isonychia and other insects which may trigger strikes on dry flies too.
Mercury Midge Fly is a simple yet effective dry fly designed to imitate midges at the tail end of their hatching season in October. Tied with a glass bead at its base to simulate air bubbles and attract trout when fished slowly through film or on slow retrieve, this fly can be great on sunny days when temperatures encourage trout activity on their surfaces – its slightly broken appearance adds character.