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Fall is here. The weather, for the most part, is perfect. Cool mornings and evenings, and great afternoons that are just warm enough to enjoy the heat. In between the nice weather is the occasional storm that reminds us that winter is on the horizon.

For me this is the perfect time of the year. On the nice days I venture out to fish. On the stormy days I go looking for waterfowl.

I was anticipating the state waterfowl opener back in October of 2016. I was all ready to hunt except that I needed to make a minor repair on the Fat Boy, a fiberglass layout boat. The minor repair was no big deal and was fixed with ease, but the starboard rail had delaminated and was a major repair. A couple days of sanding, laying fiberglass mat and epoxying, and the boat was ready to float. I added new camouflage material to the boat and it was ready for hunting. All I needed was a bad weather day. The weather stayed good.

I took advantage of a windless warm day and headed out to the wild trout section of the lower Owens River. This time of the year I’m never in a big hurry to get out on the water. Middle of summer when the coolest parts of the day are first and last light I get out on the water early, but from now until summer comes back I prefer to be on the water in the middle of the day when the fish are most active.

Getting ready to fish I put the pre-rigged rod together. donned my waders and my fly fishing shirt, and slid on the tackle bag. Once on the water I did a quick straightening of my leader and was ready for the first cast. The first cast is just to get the flies and the leader onto the water in preparation of casting my brace of flies to the intended target that I know holds trout.

That Tuesday my first cast hit the water and I instinctively set the hook as I felt the tug of a trout on the leader. It was a six-inch brown. This, I hoped, was the beginning of a great day of trout fishing.

I systematically covered all the water from the very shallows to the deepest runs. I managed to hook fish in every type of water. I had my three favorite Czech flies on. The bottom fly is a hot spot pheasant tail in size 16. In the middle set of my flies was the number 12 stoner, the heaviest of the three flies. The top fly was not my usual olive quill bodied RS2, but an olive quill bodied mayfly nymph. The stoner hooked a couple of fish, but it was an even split between the pheasant tail nymph and the olive quill mayfly nymph.

This was just the kind of day I was looking for. Lots of wild brown trout to keep me interested in the fishing. Enough tough casts to make the fishing challenging. A warm afternoon with no wind to blow the flies off target. No one on the water except Tyler Smith, my fishing partner for the day. I would call this the perfect afternoon of fishing.

painting of a brown trout

Brown Trout by Duane Raver courtesy of U.S. Fish & Wildlife

Before winter arrives with cold winds and freezing temperatures I want a couple more perfect days on the water pursuing the wild trout that call the Eastern Sierra home.

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