It is the time of year when the first hints of fall become evident. On the trout streams this comes in the form of cooling waters and fall hatches. This week we saw our first ant swarm of the season. I've probably written and talked more about the fall ant swarms than any other "bug event". Although not truly a hatch the mating of fall ants triggers perhaps the most prolific feeding frenzy of the year in almost all of our area waters. These ants come out on humid late summer/ early fall days and according to my records begin on or around the last week of August. In-fact it seems that the date of August 24th is often when I see the first of these bugs.
Although prolific when they are mating these ant swarms are unpredictable as they have more to do with weather conditions than time of the year. That being said it is always a good idea to fish cinnamon ants in sizes 18-14 and chocolate ants in size 18-26 this time of the year. Even if you don't see them on the water trout remember these delicious bugs and take notice.
When the ants aren't on the water there are a plethora of other bugs for the trout to choose from. Yesterday my client Jack Sins and his sons Nate and Cam did well all day fishing October caddis imitations including orange stimulators on the surface and October caddis nymphs underneath. Jack even had a large rainbow break his line when he finessed a drift by a downed tree stump.
On the Androscoggin river the isonychia have been hatching and should become more prolific as we head into September. These large mayflies hatch sporadically throughout the day and fish take advantage of every one they happen by. Isonychia nymphs are one of the fastest swimming mayfly nymphs and fish will often take them as they swim to the surface for emergence. I like to dead drift a heavy isonychia nymph under a buoyant Purple haze dry fly, I then let the flies swing at the end of the drift. I complete this presentation with some quick strips before re-casting. Often times fish will strike on the last strip.
This time of the year it is also a good idea to keep some large golden stonefly nymphs and dries in your box. It is easy to forget these bugs as they tend to emerge right at dark but if you see just one bumbling through the air it is a good idea to tie one on. It is a rare occasion that I don't get action on these bugs when I see even just one on the water.
The forecast for this week calls for daytime highs in the 70's with lows in the 40's and 50's. This should drop water temps in a hurry and get fish on their fall feeding routine. Unlike waters in southern New England our rivers are at average and ideal flows for fishing. Some rain mid week should help keep things that way. Fall is our favorite time to guide in the White Mountains. Days are cooler, fish are active, crowds are low, and the best fishing is often in the middle of the day. We are booking fast for September but still have some dates available. October still has availability as well but will fill quickly. Don't hesitate to call if you'd like to enjoy some great fall fishing! Below are some memories from last fall! Based on what we found this spring, 2016 should see some even bigger trout.