Fish looking for snacks come fall
The changing season is especially good for those of you who like to trout fish. Fall brings the spawning urge to certain species and the others seem to realize that winter is coming and gorge themselves in preparation for the colder months ahead.
It is for this reason that fall fishing can be some of the most spectacular of the entire year. Fish like the kokanee salmon, brown trout, brook trout and lake trout all have fall spawning rituals. The latter two fish tend to spawn in lakes and the prior two are stream spawners.
Spawning fish tend to attract other fish to feed on the rich eggs that are produced by the females. As a result, where you find spawning fish you will invariably find non-spawning fish, such as the rainbow trout, looking for a quick meal. I like to fish for them amongst spawning kokanee salmon. The kokanee are bright red and easy to spot. When you find a bunch of them, look downstream. You will see the olive-colored backs of the rainbows.
Once you locate these fish it is a simple matter of floating an egg pattern past them. Sometimes you can watch the egg pattern bounce along the bottom. When it disappears from sight, set the hook. If you cannot see your egg pattern you will have an approximate idea where it is, so just watch the fish to see if it opens its mouth. If you see the mouth open and close, set the hook. Following these keys, you will be able to successfully catch some of these nice rainbows that are feeding on the eggs of the spawning fish.
Brown trout become very territorial when they are spawning and thus will strike anything that they perceive to be a threat. Lures and streamer flies are really good ways to entice the fish into striking when they are getting close to spawning. Typically, I do not like to harass fish when I can see that they are obviously on a spawning site and actively trying to spawn. Catching these fish could harm them and you would lose a potential generation of fish.
Prior to pairing up for their spawning ritual, brown trout will still eat aquatic insects. As a result, when they begin congregating is the best time to go after these monsters.
Brown trout running up the local streams out of the lakes tend to be some of the largest fish in the system. It is not uncommon to see fish in the double digit range running up the streams during the fall. Catching the largest of these is not an easy task. Fish of this size are really hard to get to take your fly and even harder to successfully land if you do hook them.
Fall is a great time to fish. Like spring, it is also good for anglers because you do not have to be out there at the crack of dawn. Fishing during mid-day is typically very good and it is the most comfortable time for the angler.
So get out there and enjoy the fall colors, the spawning fish and those other fish willing to grab your offering! Is it any wonder why fall is my favorite season of the year.
Bruce Ajari is a Truckee resident and regular fishing columnist for the Sierra Sun and other area newspapers.