Fall Fly Fishing Interior Lakes of BC
The leaves are turning colour, the days are getting shorter, the mornings are becoming crisper and the smell of Fall is in the air! This is an outstanding time of year to think about a trip to the Interior. This is often a time of year that is overlooked as many people turn their attention to Fall river salmon fishing or sometimes it’s just plain overlooked.
This time of year does come with a change up from the often more anticipated Spring and Early Summer fisheries in the sense that a good majority of the common insect hatches have occurred. This doesn’t mean that fishing slows down, in fact quite the opposite can be the case. The trout can sense the long winter ice-up is coming and are fattening themselves up.
Fly rods are typically in the 4wt, 5wt or 6wt size and 9’, 9’6” or 10’ in length. The weight and length are really a personal choice. A few things to consider is yes, the lighter 4wt can be more fun, especially with a smaller fish on the line and casting a weighted fly or trying to cast into a wind will be more challenging than using a 6wt. There’s simply more power in a 6wt rod. Some good models to consider are the Dragonfly Quest or Kamloops, Fenwick Aetos, Greys GR80 Streamflex, Redington Vice, St. Croix Imperial and the Sage Foundation Fly Rod.
Fly reels should be purchased to match the rod size. We wouldn’t want to put a large 8wt reel on a smaller 4wt rod because it would be unbalanced and awkward. It’s sometimes said when trout fishing that the reel is the least important part of the set up. This is generally not a bad statement, if the reel is functional and by that we mean that it doesn’t bind (spool rubbing on the frame) when reeling in a fish.
A wonderful thing in today’s fishing product market is that the quality of reels has gotten better and better, even in the less expensive bracket. This comment can also be carried over to fly rods. Now, as we make this comment there are some really nice higher end reels available that will offer a lifetime of usage and you can notice the difference in the performance and smoothness of these higher end reels. In the “cheaper” price bracket good reels to consider are Echo Base, Echo Ion, Redington Crosswater Fly Reel, Redington ID Fly Reel and Dragonfly Venture 3. For reels with a higher price tag but still very good value we have the Lamson Liquid, Lamson Remix, Redington Behemoth, Sage Spectrum, Sage Spectrum C, Galvan Rush LT and the Galvan Torque.
Having multiple fly lines with you is a must with any lake fishery. The fish in the Fall can be cruising the shallows or along drop offs. They are not typically going to be found in the deeper water at this time of year. Floating lines will be a go-to for sure, especially if the fish are in really shallow water or for dangling a fly on a drop off. Good fly line choices are the RIO Grand Elite or RIO Grand Premier series, RIO Gold Elite or RIO Gold Premier, Scientific Anglers MPX Mastery or MPX Amplitude or the AirCel. A Clear Intermediate (slow sinking) line is another go-to line at this time of year. Clear lines do not spook fish, especially in a clear lake and their slow sinking properties are great in the shallow waters frequented by fish during the Fall season. We recommend the RIO Premier Aqualux, Rio Mainstream Clear Intermediate, Scientific Angler Sonar Stillwater Camo Clear or Scientific Anglers Wet Cel Clear Intermediate. While the floating and the intermediate will be your go-to at this time of year, it’s never a bad idea to be prepared with some faster sinking lines such as the RIO Premier Fathom, RIO Mainstream, Scientific Angler Sonar Stillwater Seamless Density and WetCel in sink rates of type 3-6.
Leaders and Tippet
Your standard tapered leaders like the RIO Powerflex Trout Tapered Leader, Scientific Anglers Absolute Trout Tapered Leader or Dragonfly Knotless Tapered Leader in 9’ in 5X, 4X or 3X would suffice for most situations with the one real exception being when fishing with chironomids or bloodworms. Check out our chironomids blog for how to set up for that style of fishing. We really like to use a few feet of fluorocarbon as our tippet as it does disappear more in the water then a regular monofilament tippet material. Seaguar Blue Label, STS or Basix are the recommended fluorocarbons.
Fall Flies and Strategies
As mentioned, a lot of our fishing in the Fall is done in shallower water. This is where the food sources the fish are keying in on are frequenting at this time of year. Fish can move right up in the shallow water areas or cruise along drop offs. Given we are fishing predominantly in this shallow water, we would like to highlight the benefits of using polarized sunglasses while fishing.
At this time of year there may not be prolific bug hatches, but there are some all-year food sources in the water and there are still some hatches occurring. Some key all-year food sources present would be shrimp. These are a very nutritious meal for a trout looking to fatten up for the winter. There are many colour variations of shrimp, and they tend to take on the colouration of their surroundings. Shrimp have quite an erratic swimming motion. A good thing to do is go down by the shoreline of the lake and try and find some to observe and then try and replicate that when retrieving you fly.
Leeches are another hot item in the Fall time. Again, having a variety of sizes and colours is recommended as there can be preferred sizes and colours from lake to lake. Some of the popular colours are black, olive, black and red, black and olive, brown, grey and burgundy. Leeches can be fished in a variety of manners. They can be cast and retrieved. Line selection would be relative to the depth of water you are fishing. They can be trolled or they could be fished under a strike indicator. When being used under an indicator it has become quite popular to use what’s called a balanced leech. This is a leech that is tied on a jig hook. This presents the fly vertically when hung below an indicator giving it an incredible action.
Chironomids and Bloodworms
Chironomid fishing in the Fall can also be productive. Smaller flies are the norm at this time of year. Size #14 and below would be the go-to. Don’t forget about bloodworms in the Fall as these can be very productive at times.
Dragonflies are another go-to food staple. They’re always present in the lake and provide a good meal to fish looking to pack on some weight for the long winter. When fishing a dragonfly nymph the important things to consider are that when fish hit them, they hit them hard so up-sizing your tippet is highly recommended. Dragonflies are usually found quite close to the bottom.
Water boatman and the larger relative to the backswimmer and can be very productive. These insects are targeted after they have taken to the air, mated and are now returning to the water. They dive through the surface film and down to the bottom of the lake. Trout key in on this and ambush them on their way to the bottom. A full sinking line is the most productive for fishing these bugs.
How can we not mention attractor patterns? Boobies and blobs can be the difference between a skunking and having a great day so make sure you have some in your fly box.
One last thing to remember about the Fall Interior fishery is to be prepared for the cooler temperatures that can be had during this time of year especially in the morning and evenings. Daytime temps can be quite pleasurable at this time of year, in fact they can be downright lovely but when that sun dips it can get a little chilly. We hope this has article has been beneficial to your Fall Interior trout adventures.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us by email firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at 604-931-5044 or stop by
Sea-Run Fly & Tackle at #110 1140 Austin Avenue in Coquitlam BC.
Good luck on the water.
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