Autumn has many perks. Not being forced to sweat like a dog every day spent outside is one. This summer was brutal. Hot and wet. It didn't rank anywhere near my best year for cloud photography, but we've had eight tornadoes in the state this year. That's tied with 1973 for the most in one year here. After a turbulent and wet spring full of severe weather, summer burst forth in late June with seemingly unending heat, but has since less than quietly dispersed. The last of the hot weather left its mark with two (likely final) tornadoes in New Canaan an Mansfield. Frustratingly, I got to see exactly none of them. Anyway, it was a rough summer. Mediocre fishing, mediocre storm photography for me, high water levels and temperatures, and just so... much... sweat. I'm glad that fall is here and I do not in the least bit mind that it is still very very wet. The stream flows are the best I've seen them since I started this blog! Seriously! I took advantage of that this week to get some time in with my favorite local salmonid.
The streams I was fishing can be really tricky this time of year in large part because the are home for copious amounts of small dace and shiners. These little fish drown dry flies quickly and constantly nip subsurface presentations. It can be hard to get through them to get at the resident brook trout and occasional brown trout. This time it took me a little while to find the pattern. An Ausable Bomber did the job. The rises were very subtle, the fly just disappeared every time a char took. I caught numerous colorful brookies, all starting to get into spawning dress but not quite at their peak yet. Just like the foliage.
On the second stream the bomber just wasn't doing it, the dace were drowning it too quickly. I opted to imitate those dace. The initial tactic is one oft used in Maine in the fall: the streamer is cast upstream and retrieved straight down at a blistering pace.
This failed to get any attention at all, but instead of changing flies I changed presentation. A single shot was placed immediately ahead of the little bucktail streamer, and instead of retrieving the fly I performed a delicate dance deeper in the water column. The fish demonstrated their approval with strong grabs.