Autumn Update

Autumn Update

Matt Klara | Sunday, 22 October 2017

Autumn arrived in Montana with a heavy hand this year. Some years there are a few cooler nights leading up to a first frost, combined with some overcast days in between bright and warm moments. Autumn 2017 hit us with two nearly-back-to-back snowstorms just a couple of days after a high temperature of 90 degrees F. That first storm smashed my tomato plants and dropped local water temps precipitously, and also thankfully extinguished the many forest fires we'd been dealing with. Now things have finally sorted themselves out apparently and returned to the bit of glorious “Indian Summer” that we are currently having.

A couple of the Europe-based FP contributors have recently written about the end of the fishing season.  We don’t have much of that here, as regulations permit year round angling on many waters.  Whenever I tell this to friends who live in other states or countries they often express frustration or surprise that the Fish and Game agencies aren’t doing more to protect spawning fish.  I can’t deny that.  There are certainly individuals here who take advantage of our liberal seasons by targeting spawning fish.  That’s unfortunate and disgusting.  But the vast majority of folks take advantage of the open season in other ways, by pursuing rainbow trout in the fall, or simply shifting their focus to hunting deer and elk.  I’d like to see some changes in regulations for sure in order to close areas that are known spawning zones, while keeping other areas open, simply because Autumn is my favorite time to be out on the river.

On my favorite stillwaters, the true end of the fishing season for me is when the ice forms, and I can’t get my fly into the liquid water until Spring.  So, as much as I can, I binge fish the stillwaters in fall, knowing I won’t have a chance again for a while.  It’s a nice time too, as many of the trout “put on the feed bags” before winter and really go on the bite!  The POD today is an example of a PRIME stillwater rainbow trout from the fall.  Who wouldn't like that?!

I also start thinking hard about Spey casting and fishing in the fall.  Either for steelhead or for trout.  This year I was fortunate to participate in a Trout Spey event down in West Yellowstone alongside some great presenters.  Hopefully this was just the first of many such events.  Since the event, I’ve been fooling around with a number of different “trout Spey” and single hand Spey lines, learning a lot by trial and error, and dialing in a few sweet setups for our local waters.  Looking forward to sharing what I’ve figured out with folks through the winter when I’ve had time to really mentally digest things.

This may seem like a glamorous account, but in reality, normal everyday life goes on alongside fishing talk and thought.  Prepping the garden for winter, day jobs, and raising a family are all a huge part of Autumn.  As the days get shorter and shorter, I hope we can fit it all in.

Take Care and Fish On,