Mid-September. The temperatures are a bit sporadic with summer heat lingering on some days but the cool mornings and angle of the sun hints more of autumn. It’s a beautiful transition from one season to the next. With this Spring’s high flows behind us, with the summer monsoons and dog-days in the rear view mirror, this late summer and early fall fishing promises to be a great season.
If you’re heading out in the next week or so, with temperatures still in the high 70’s and low 80’s, it’s not too late to fish a hopper-dropper combination. Amy’s Ants are still producing, and the foam body is buoyant enough to trail a dry fly or midge. The red Amy’s Ant is my go-to, but the purple has been productive this year, as well. As we move into late September, it can be productive to throw beetles or flying ant patterns to get a rise.
In the late summer, it becomes time to downsize with size 22 and 24 mayflies on the menu. Trailing a Pale Morning Dun or BWO in late morning or early afternoon can fool fish. Tricos are still in the game with the right conditions offering a late morning hatch and spinner fall in the early afternoon.
And midges are in the mix. One of my favorite flies, sometimes lost in the shuffle because it’s old school, is the Griffith’s gnat. It can simulate a midge cluster, or a single midge depending on the size. It can be fished year-round, and in late September, the hatches may be a little more prolific in the morning hours. Other midge patterns that can be productive include the Mercury Midge, Jujubee, and the Chocolate Foam Emerger and Barr’s Emerger. I would make sure I had some RS2 in my fly box, as well.
Before changing patterns, a good first strategy is to drop down a size and swap out that 20 for a 22 or a 22 for a 24.
Come on into the shop for your late summer supplies and talk with our informative staff and guides. And don’t rule out a guided fly fishing trip with one of our Orvis-endorsed guides to get you into some fish!