Yes, fall fishing is here. My wife is still clinging to the notion summer is not over, but the weather and changing leaves tell a different story.

And the fishing is different too. Dry fly fishing is back with a vengeance. Gone are the dog days of summer and it’s been replaced with fish rising to strong hatches of caddis, mayflies, and stoneflies.

I love this time of year.

One day last week, my fishing partner landed 6 fish to my 1. And it wasn’t because the fish weren’t rising where I was fishing. I couldn’t dial it in. Frustrating, but quite a challenge. And you know the fish win when I leave the river with respect for the fish that continue to rise. 

I’m a fly tyer, so I’ve been working on a few “beta” flies I’ve tied recently and testing out this year. These flies are the result of being “schooled” by rising fish. It’s part of the chess match I enjoy.

Here are a couple of size 18 caddis patterns I’ve tied recently.

Caddis - Beta 1 |
Caddis Beta 2 |

And then there’s the different versions of CDC Caddis I’m tying for matching the Little Olive Stones in size 16. Quite active on the water. The way they skitter across the water, you might think it’s an olive caddis. I need to sit down and tie up more of these.

CDC Caddis |

All of them have caught fish.

Fall fishing is the time of year the big fish are looking up.

Here is a picture of a 23″ Redside my wife caught over two weeks ago. The second biggest rainbow I’ve ever seen on the river in 45 years. The biggest was 26 1/2 ” I taped for a fellow angler about three years ago. This fish barely fit in my net. We took two pictures and got it quickly back in the water.

23 inch Metolius Redside |

Talk about shoulders and a belly! She landed it on 6X tippet. Proud of her.

Oh, what fly did she use?

Trixie – Lady of the Night (originally called the Hooker)

Trixie |

Do I tie this bug? Nope. It was purchased at Westbank Anglers in Wilson, Wyoming on a fly fishing road trip a few years ago. Took a guided trip on the South Fork of the Snake in the Box Canyon area.

And don’t ask for a fly pattern sheet…what you see is what you get!

Why did she fish with it? Beats me…look at the result! Why would I ask any stupid questions?

She’s the one who got me started tying the RiverKeeper Soft Hackle Cripple. Why? Because she was catching fish using a technique I hadn’t thought about. Fishing a soft hackle fly dry. Check out the fly pattern sheet for more information.

RiverKeeper Soft Hackle Cripple

So I’ll be out there soon looking for noses…trying those “beta” flies…and knowing there are still a few large fish in the river. 

But I’d take anything that will rise to my fly.

Enjoy…go fish!

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  1. WooHoo!! Not sure if he is talking about the belly and shoulders of the fish or me? But, that was a great moment with the big fish! I was shaking! And in my mind, I still have the take, the play, and the roll. My fish of a lifetime in this water. Ahhhh.

    And while I do miss my hot summer days, I can’t argue with the bug and fish activity of September and October!!

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