September is a difficult month for fishermen. Everything converges all at once. Freshwater fish like brown, rainbow, brook and cutthroat trout feed aggressively, preparing for the long winter ahead. When you land one, take an extra minute to study their vibrant colors – it’ll help you through the long winter ahead. Warm water fish like bass and panfish prowl the shallows for the smorgasbord of damselflies and dragonflies
and dace and shiners. The Northwestern waters come alive as steelhead runs gain momentum. Pacific salmon crowd the rivers and Atlantic salmon return to their homewaters to spawn. The Northeast saltwater offers striped bass, bluefish, False albacore, bonito, skipjack, tuna and more. The fall run spans from Maine to North Carolina. The fishing list goes on throughout our country.
For fishermen, the only difficulty with September comes with Labor Day. It’s the time of year when schools are either in full swing or are just getting underway. Kids replace fishing rods with footballs, field hockey sticks, and soccer balls. Activities soak up freetime. For adults, work picks up after a slower summer season and coupled with busy kids, September flies by. If you blink you’ve missed one of the best fishing months of the year.
Not to worry, October may be an even better fishing month. It seems to me to be broken into two parts. In the first half of the month there are still many warm days to be had. Indian summer can bring balmy temperatures, with winds still blowing from the south-southwest. With hot temperatures come light winds and casting and boating is about as perfect as it can get. The second half of the month brings a wind shift. Colder Northern winds can drop temperatures overnight, and a morning frost coats many boat decks. The t-shirts worn in the first half of the month are replaced by wool and fleece.
October has all of the great fishing that September does, but without the frenetic pace. If you can shake free from some of your many obligations you may find a better month on the water. That may be hard to believe, but give it a whirl and see if it’s true. Let the fish be the judge.
Tom Keer is a freelance writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He regularly writes for over a dozen magazines, and is the contributing editor of Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America and a columnist for The Upland Almanac. His book a “Flyfisher’s Guide to the New England Coast” was published by Wilderness Adventures Press in 2010. Visit him at www.tomkeer.com or at www.thekeergroup.com