Who's ready for a fun Halloween weekend of fishing???
The warm & sunny weather has persisted throughout October but we're starting to feel the North wind and see cooler overnight temperatures; all great things for bringing more fall steelhead into our rivers. What we truly need however is rain. A good rain event lasting two days or so is the missing piece of the puzzle for great fall fishing.
Although there are still salmon in our rivers, most are about done with their business. If you are hoping to target salmon, coho will probably be your best bet as they tend to stay active much later into the year. These fish will enthusiastically chase streamers and can provide a fun afternoon of sight fishing.
Steelhead are on the trickle currently and those fish that are in the system have seen a lot of drifts by now. Our guides are having success changing up tactics and showing these fish something besides just drifted egg patterns. Egg patterns are still going to produce a good number of fish but I would definitely recommend fishing a tandem rig with a nymph as your second fly.
For Coho: keep it simple and run single hook streamers in black or white. Wooly Buggers, Montana Mouthwash, and small Game Changers have all been producing this fall.
For Steelhead: if you're nymphing, fish a tandem rig with an egg imitation and a nymph. We're starting to fish duller colors as we move into November; apricot, cream, glo roe, cheese, and egg yoke have all been productive. For nymphs, keep it simple; buggers, green caddis, and stoneflies have all been producing. If you're looking to get out and swing flies, this is a great time to do so. Experiment with different color schemes and fish near structure: wood is good.
The fall streamer bite has been fairly inconsistent for us at the shop. The upper manistee is running low and clear: not exactly ideal conditions. Anglers willing to give up their 8" deceivers are going to produce a lot more action with 3-4" flies and lighter/longer leaders. I would even encourage folks dig out their soft hackle box and swing through fishy looking runs. A light touch with conditions like these can save the day.
Of course if you're willing to pick apart water with a nymphing setup, you'll have the best opportunity for numbers. Generics should do the trick this time of year and if you're on a watershed that has salmon & steelhead, don't forget trout love to sit in tailouts and drop-offs behind redds eating eggs!
Streamers: Slider Bugger (black), Craven's Swim Coach (olive, yellow/brown), Montana Mouthwash, Zoo Cougars
Soft Hackles: Hare's Ear Soft Hackle, Pheasant Tail Soft Hackle, Peacock & Partridge, Sparrows
Nymphs: Pat's Rubber Legs, Walt's Worm, Squirmy Wormy, Red Tag, Prince Nymphs