Archives
PUBLISHED: 5:24 PM on Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Fall Favorites: pushing the envelope in October
It has been raining for three days. The river is restless, charged with new water blown down from the cold sky the color of gun smoke, and from mountaintops so far to the north and east they lie hidden behind an impenetrable fortress of spruce and hemlock. Brightly colored leaves are everywhere. They lie scattered in no design, clinging to the rocks like a wet blanket with the musky smell of fall.


Rich Culver photo
  Fall favorite flies offer late-season cohos a dominant profile to see, chase and grab in spite of the turbid flows associated with October.
Along the edge of the high water a solitary Dipper bobs and spins in soft puddles made by the rain. Hanging above the river is a clock, placed there by my imagination and anxiety. Worried, I watch the river slipping. It looks more like soup than gin. I wonder how many days of coho fishing I have remaining this season and whether the river will ever become fly fishable again.

The morning becomes a rather interesting chess game. Each move I make is deliberate and carefully thought out. Staring, my eyes focus on several sticks I placed yesterday at the edge of the river to mark the waterline. The sticks jump back and forth. The river does the same.


Rich Culver photo
  Fly colors for October do not vary much from those used in September. Black, pink, chartreuse and white tend to be the favorite colors for fall cohos.
The first stick vanishes quietly and is engulfed by the river. The hands on the clock circle around ... and around. My flies get larger and heavier, and my leaders get shorter. My anxiety and patience does the same. For many people in Southeast Alaska, October chimes duck hunting or stalking deer in high country meadows. But I choose to fish and I push the envelope in October, and more times than not, I strike success with flies I call my personal "Fall Favorites."

With shorter days and harsher weather, October fly-fishing in Southeast Alaska requires a bit more dedication and resilience than the summer months. Similarly, the flies I use in October reflect this difference. My "Fall Favorites," as I often refer to them, are generally much larger and significantly heavier than the flies I use in September. The only exception to this is when Southeast experiences a deep cold spell and water levels drop and the flows of rivers and creeks become crystalline clear. But aside from this, my fall favorites offer late-season cohos a dominant profile to see, chase and grab in spite of the turbid flows associated with October.


Rich Culver photo
  With shorter days and harsher weather, October fly-fishing in Southeast Alaska requires a bit more dedication and resilience than the summer months. However, loft rewards can be found on any cast.
The colors I choose in October do not vary too much from the colors I use in September: black, pink, chartreuse and white are my colors of choice. From my experience, these particular colors address a full spectrum of water and flow types common in October as they tend to cast nice silhouettes in muddy, glacial, tannic and clear water conditions. Another significant feature that my fall favorites all share is movement. Many fly fishermen feel that natural movement is equally as important (if not more so) than general pattern color, and I strongly agree. To achieve natural movement, I incorporate bunny strips, marabou and assorted soft hackles.

October in Southeast Alaska is a beautiful time. River bars are painted with multicolored leaves nipped by frost, and distant canyons roar in harmony. And lurking in the shadows of deep pools and glides are quiet pods of silver salmon that I'm confident can be triggered into striking a special class of flies - my "Fall Favorites."

this difference. My "Fall Favorites," as I often refer to them, are generally much larger and significantly heavier than the flies I use in September. The only exception to this is when Southeast experiences a deep cold spell and water levels drop and the flows of rivers and creeks become crystalline clear. But aside from this, my fall favorites offer late-season cohos a dominant profile to see, chase and grab in spite of the turbid flows associated with October.

The colors I choose in October do not vary too much from the colors I use in September: black, pink, chartreuse and white are my colors of choice. From my experience, these particular colors address a full spectrum of water and flow types common in October as they tend to cast nice silhouettes in muddy, glacial, tannic and clear water conditions. Another significant feature that my fall favorites all share is movement. Many fly fishermen feel that natural movement is equally as important (if not more so) than general pattern color, and I strongly agree. To achieve natural movement, I incorporate bunny strips, marabou and assorted soft hackles.

October in Southeast Alaska is a beautiful time. River bars are painted with multicolored leaves nipped by frost, and distant canyons roar in harmony. And lurking in the shadows of deep pools and glides are quiet pods of silver salmon that I'm confident can be triggered into striking a special class of flies - my "Fall Favorites."


Loading...