Mid-September certainly means longer nights and cooler mornings. However, this doesn’t always translate into better or more consistent fishing action so you need to know five of the best flies for right now. As weather and rivers transition from summer to fall, it is important to remind ourselves that even though the calendar may say September this doesn’t always translate to classic fall season storybook days—days filled with hatches of mayflies, October caddis, and aggressive brown trout chasing streamers. It does mean that each day serves up something unique.
Here are five of the best flies for right now.
Seeing a trout rise to a large dry fly is what brought many of us to the sport. As the mornings cool, the ‘hopper bite will start later in the day. The legs of the Morrish hopper are thin and supple, which means they have great action while the fly floats on the surface. This fly catches a lot of fish. But because the legs are so supple, they are delicate and rarely last for more than one or two catches. They’re great for fly shops because they sell a bunch, but they’re not great for your pocketbook.
Any trico mayfly pattern
Hatches of tricos occur early in the morning, often just as the sun begins to rise. Smaller than most midges, tricos hatch in late summer and early fall. The hatching adult insects range from size 18 to 22. Choose patterns with a parachute for added visibility—the post rises above the water’s surface. If a hatch of trico mayflies does occur, it may only last a few hours but if you are at the right place at the right time, this is the right fly.
A fly more frequently associated with stoneflies, this is an ideal late summer and early fall pattern. You may not see an insect that resembles this pattern, but with its high wing and plethora of rubber legs, it looks plenty buggy to a trout. It’s also ideal to use this high-floating fly as the top fly in any two-fly dropper rig.
Parachute Purple Haze
Mid-September often sees equal chances of cold and rainy weather or sunny and warm weather. If the cold and rain come, fall mayflies—most of them are Blue Winged Olives—could hatch on any given day. A regular Parachute Adams will work fine but the purple body can make a big difference.
Tie: Zuddler and Sculpzilla
As much as we want mid-September to be paired with consistently good streamer fishing, it rarely meets expectations. But, like a Blue Winged Olive hatch, if the weather patterns align and bring an overcast day, fish may target streamers. Both of these patterns are intended to imitate baitfish and larger food sources, such as crayfish. They can be fished with action or dead-drifted under an indicator. When choosing a color, a widely accepted rule is to choose a light-colored fly on a sunny day and a dark-colored fly on a cloudy day.
The next few weeks can serve up some very good fishing, but also some very inconsistent fishing. Each day of fishing really is like a box of chocolates so what matters most is that you gear up and head out because ski season is less than a few months away. But for now use these five of the best flies for right now for exploring your waters.