Spring gets a lot of hatch hype for fly-fishermen, but fall, when leaves are changing, temperatures are dropping, crowds thin out and fish are hungry, can be a great time to hook a lunker. Here are some prime spots to wet a line.
Green River, Utah
The tail water of the Flaming Gorge Dam, right on the Wyoming/Utah border, is home to fat, hungry trout, crystal-clear water and a beautiful red-rock canyon. The 9-mile “A” section, right below the dam, is nicknamed the Aquarium for a reason: There are reportedly up to 20,000 fish per mile.
The Bighorn, which is one of Montana’s many big-deal fly-fishing rivers, is full of options. In the fall, your best bet is to pull in somewhere in the 13 miles below the Afterbay Dam, where the river is cool, clear and full of huge brown trout all year round.
Adirondacks, New York
Fun fact: Adirondack Park, in upstate New York, is the largest park in the Lower 48. It’s lined with rivers that have been known for their fish-ability since the 1820s, and the West Branch of the Ausable is a good place to start.
Vermont is justifiably known for its spectacular fall foliage, and there’s nowhere better to see it than from the river. The Battenkill has historically been a tricky river to fish, but lately trout populations have been rebounding, so it makes for some potentially challenging, but definitely beautiful, fishing.
Upper Colorado, Colorado
Thanks to some innovative land-use management between local ranchers and fish advocacy group Trout Unlimited, there’s plenty of good habitat for fish in the headwaters of the Colorado River. The floatable section from Pumphouse to Radium holds fish, as do some of the wadeable zones around Ranch Del Rio.
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