Yeah, what was I thinking… Rain forecast for the weekend probably wouldn’t budge the rivers until Saturday night, leaving me all of Friday and Saturday to swing flies in favorite November steelhead runs. But I was consumed with bugs, rising trout and flat water. The rain would probably lead to some decent overcast conditions, if not cold, over on the Fall River… The PRD (precision rowing device) is paired up with some electrical assistance and loaded up Thursday night for an early morning departure. Weather forecast for Fall River: partly sunny with a high near 40 and, most importantly, light winds. I’ve never fished it this late in the season, but saw no reason it shouldn’t just be an all around decent day.
Snow the night before dusted the Fall River valley and a thick fog burned off as I dropped into the valley, leaving, you got it, partly sunny skies. The light breeze seemed manageable and the cold wasn’t the arctic chill I was expecting, though the forecast temps seemed right on the mark.
The baetis were coming off sporadically once on the water around 10:30. I made a few casts to a pod of fish just up from the launch – more to warm up than anything. Then off I went through a dazzlingly busy river chock full of coots splashing, feeding and cooching at every turn. Flocks of geese were caught unawares at some turns in the river, taking flight in a slow, lifting honking parade. Finally, way up near the top of the reach at Spring Creek Bridge, a lone angler sat quiet in a boat, bundled and apparently watching a pod of feeding fish. The baetis were becoming more numerous.
I settled into the wide stretch I was hoping to set up shop on – all alone except for the hundred of coots that just swam to the other side of the river, leaving me to my business. The fish were starting to show pretty good to a steady parade of emerging baetis, the occasional mahagony and a few PMDs, which I hadn’t expected. By noon, the breeze rippled the open water making things a bit more challenging, so I opted to shuttle into the lee of the bankside willows and work fish in the calm water. The PMDs become more numerous, and at some point probably outnumbered the baetis. I had a few fish to hand on both patterns until I spotted a decent fish working tight back in the sticks, right on the seam where a cast would be tough, but manageable. So, as the day went, I spent most of the hatch casting spot-on casts to this fish, finally raising it after maybe thirty casts, missing the hook and finally settling for a nearby partner that went an easy 18″.
Probably one of my best days on Fall River… that afternoon of steady baetis and PMDs. It was nice to find many fish rising on station rather than moving around as they seem apt to do here. Fishing the seams along the bank probably helped. I especially enjoyed working a decent fish for what seemed most of the afternoon – for me, that’s what I really came for even if I didn’t bring it to hand. I can’t say it was a best day in terms of fish numbers or size, just quality fishing on an, er, empty river in late Fall. Duly noted for future years.