After that surprise snowstorm in October, the weather has evened out and brought a number of welcoming warm days, added time to do more autumn activities usually relegated for earlier in the season, such as last-minute garden chores and….fishing!
We are fortunate to have miles of Special Regulation Catch-and-Release fishing in our area, and it is not unusual to see neoprene-clad anglers casting their lines under the last bronze leaves of the oak trees, long after the maples and birches have shed their colorful bounty. A warm, sunny day, even this late in the year, can spur on a hatch of tiny flies and cause trout to rise. We had enjoyed a warm, sunny Sunday morning setting up our deer blinds and observing new buck rubs, and were eager to spend more time outdoors that afternoon. And so, as it was about 53 degrees by lunchtime, we decided to try our luck one last time before officially putting up our rods and taking down our rifles for the upcoming season.
We arrived at one of our favorite Special Regulations sections at about 1:30 pm and found some fish rising. And due to the relatively slow flow and small size of the few flies we noticed, I tied on 7X tippet, and a size #22 Red Midge. I made my first cast and, after noting the water temperature was a brisk 42 degrees, caught my first November fish – a 12” brown trout. He was lively, probably due to the chilly waters he was in, and as I released him I noticed another small rise. I hooked this one, too, and went on to have more success, all on the size #22 Red Midge. After about an hour of standing in thigh-deep water (I didn’t dare go any deeper as it was pretty cold!) my feet felt like blocks of ice and my legs were freezing – it was time to go home and warm up by the wood fire with a hot cup of tea. I tallied my catch – I’d hooked seven fish, netted and released four; three browns that measured twelve, ten and nine inches, and a 14-inch rainbow that leaped out of the water three times and caused my heart to race.. And the well-worn Red Midge I took off my line was reduced to just a few twists of black silk!