Fall fishing lurks just around the corner, and in the old days Mainers referred to this period as “September” fishing, but those days have passed. Thanks to fall-fishing advocates pressuring state officials, myriad waters have opened for trout-and-salmon angling after Sept. 30.

For a few years in the late 1990s and early 2000s, October turned into a salmonid fishing month for me, a writer with a published book on New England upland-bird hunting to his credit. Late-year fishing options proved so good that I fly-fished exclusively through several October bird seasons.

Worse yet, one November, each day at 2 p.m., the Kennebec River just upstream of the Great Eddy in Skowhegan produced consistent hatches of size 24 blue-winged olives (BWOs), influencing me to quit deer hunting to catch this micro-bug emergence an hour-drive away. Browns were pounding the little BWO mayflies.

Here’s a caveat about fall fishing. We do have September salmonid fishing, but depending on weather, it seldom begins in earnest on Sept. 1. I’d choose the third or fourth week – but exceptions exist, particularly when hatches occur.

Also this month juvenile alewives running downstream encourage trout and salmon to strap on the feedbag. A Ballou Special in the right size works to match this baitfish.

For fall fishing, I often carry two fly rods in my motor vehicle – an 8 1/2-foot 4-weight and a 9-foot 8-weight. A 4-weight is common for Maine trout, but an 8-weight seems too big. Two reasons for the choice make sense:

 Casting big streamers, bucktails and huge weighted nymphs strain typical smaller trout rods, but an 8-weight can perform superbly.

I can throw a long line much easier with an 8-weight than with a 4-weight.

Now is the time to plan fall-fishing destinations, and the farther north, the better the chances of action in the month’s first half. That’s particularly true in mountainous regions because temperatures will soon plummet in Rangeley, Jackman, Moosehead, Baxter State Park, Allagash and similar destinations.

Let’s take the Kennebago, Cupsuptic and Rapid rivers and South Bog Stream in the Rangeley region and Moose, the East Outlet of the Kennebec and Roach in the Moosehead region. These flowing waters reign as my favorite autumn-angling hot spots for brookies and salmon.

Ponds and lakes add myriad choices for fall outings, but these days, wading in currents for fishing action pleases me much more. Exercise is a must for outdoor excursions.

All these places are storied spots, but folks shouldn’t neglect lesser-name rivers that IFW stocks with trout in fall. The brookie list would include Sandy River or Carrabassett River, both in Franklin County. Neither attracts mobs now. St. George River in Knox County and the Medomak River in Lincoln County also receive plenty of fall browns and brookies sans crowds.

Farther north each fall, IFW stocks the Piscataquis River in Piscataquis County with brookies and the Kennebec in Fairfield, Anson and Solon with liberal doses of browns and brookies.

In fall, huge weighted nymphs dressed with black or dark brown dubbing and/or peacock herl tied on size 4, 8x long hooks appeal to big salmon, brookies and browns, as do baitfish patterns such as Little Brook Trout, Barnes Special, Harris Special, Red Gray Ghost and Jerry’s Smelt. A Little Brook Trout imitates a brookie fry, Barnes Special yellow-perch fry, Harris Special several forage species and Red Gray Ghost and Jerry’s Smelt rainbow smelt – all prevalent baitfish in so many trout waters now.

Bright orange bodies in a Wood Special or Cardinelle also attract fall salmonids.

This time of year produces insect hatches, particularly BWOs and small cream mayflies, but black, tan and olive caddis and mayflies can be popping through the meniscus now – perfect for a 4-weight rod. Here’s the problem for me, though. My two rods may offer a choice, but often enough when I’m a long way from my vehicle, I have the wrong rod.

Despite that, it’s a fun time of year to fish flies, a feast-or-famine proposition for action, but the feasts occur with enough regularity to produce memories galore to ensure confidence on those fish-less, often cold fall days.

Ken Allen of Belgrade Lakes, a writer, editor and photographer, may be reached at:

[email protected]

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