Thursday, September 30, 2021

Autumn Brook Trout


Some folks live in parts of the country where fishing season never closes. I like the idea of fishing year-round, but I also understand the reason that stream trout season ends the last day of September. Here in northern MN the season closes to protect the Fall spawning brook trout. That makes sense because, well, you can never have too many brook trout. 

For bird hunters like myself, it's hard to think of anything but grouse and woodcock now. Hunting season is open and my eager setter, Gabby, knows it and is ready to hit it. The foliage is still heavy, but turning to the reds, yellows, and oranges of Autumn and after all these years the beauty of it still strikes me. Although there have been some chilling mornings, lately the daytime temps have reached 80 degrees making it too hot for hunting. Hiking through the cover following a bird dog is warming enough -- add that climbing temperature and bright sun and each hunt finds me with a sweat-soaked shirt and exhausted dog. But if it's too hot to hunt, doesn't it make sense to go fishing? 


I hung around home for most of the day after a short early hunt with Gabby, then loaded my gear and a cold one on the ATV and headed for the stream. I had my favorite trout rod along and looked forward to an enjoyable evening. The stream looked clear and inviting and I knew these brookies will often rise to a fly even when there's no discernable activity on the water.  Relying on past experience, I tied a well-used #14 Madam X to my 6x leader and cast over a submerged brush pile, the remnants of an old beaver feed bed. A strike came immediately and I jerked and missed, but happy for the quick action. 


After a summer of casting mostly 8,9, and 10 weight rods, my little 3oz. 7'9" rod felt like air in my hand and I had look occasionally to see if I still had a hold of it. I missed a couple of strikes before hooking up to a beauty of a little brookie in full spawning color.  I admired the fish with a photo and slipped it back into the water. For variety I changed to a #18 caddis and landed three more of those pretty trout.  Catching those wild, backwoods brook trout on dry flies is about as good as it gets, but time passes quickly when you're fishing and when I noticed the sky had turned from blue to purple and looked at the dark forest surrounding me, I knew it was time to head home. 


  1. Air
    Two of the best options there is fly fishing and bird hunting to enjoy the outdoors. Impressed with all the images in this post. The Madam X is a killer dry fly!! Thanks for sharing

    1. You know it, Bill! That old Madam X is getting a little raggedy but still has some good mojo.