Gone Fishin’: Fishing in fall weather
The end of daylight savings time is a sure sign the general trout season is drawing to a close. With the time change it becomes difficult to sneak out to your favorite local waters before it gets dark. Fishing is best this of year during the mid-day hours. Because the ambient temperatures are cooler, the water has cooled significantly as well. The warmest part of the day usually represents the most active time of the day for fish during the fall. Think of it in relation to your own comfort.
When you are most comfortable, the fish are probably most comfortable as well. That is not to say that fish cannot be caught at other times of the day. In fact, some of the best fish that I have seen taken have been during the last hour. Just be aware it gets very cold once the sun drops over the mountains. To be comfortable during these cold months, the angler should be prepared for any conditions. This means that the best method of dress is to layer one’s clothing. This allows you to shed clothing if the weather warms up, or add clothing if the temperature dips below freezing.
Being properly dressed can make the difference between a good trip versus a bad one. While most of us remember the thermal underwear, many forget two of the most important items. Those are a good pair of warm socks (not cotton) and a wool ski hat to keep your head warm. A hood on your jacket to keep the wind off your neck area and a muffler work well too.
Taking extra clothing with you during this time of year may also save the day. I can recall a very cold fall day and getting soaking wet when we rolled a canoe. Fortunately we had extra clothing with us and were able to change into dry clothing. This is real important and helps to prevent the possibility of hypothermia. Warm liquids are also a great thing to carry with you on your fishing trip. A warm thermos of coffee, tea or hot chocolate is a great thing to have to warm your insides.
If you are a fisherman like me, you will find yourself standing in the water for great lengths of time. Be sure to take a few minutes periodically to get out and warm up a bit. Remember the water is extremely cold now – high 40s to low 50s. If you are adequately dressed for the cold, your trip will certainly be better. You know it is cold when your rod guides freeze up on you or the line in your hand has ice crystals forming on it. You can remove the ice from the guides by dipping them in the water for a second and then casting. They will refreeze, but you will get a few more minutes of ice-free fishing.
The good news is the fish still cooperate and will continue to feed. As the water gets colder, the fish’s metabolism will slow down and they will not have to eat as often. What this means for the fisherman is you will have both good days and bad ones during the late fall as the water temperature plummets. It will depend a lot on the feeding cycle of the fish. By being prepared for the cold weather means you will have a great trip and enjoy your fishing experience no matter what mood the fish are biting on.
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