Flies for Fall Trout Fishing

Last Updated on October 2, 2023 by Kyle Whitley

flies for fall trout fishing

Fall fishing is a special time of year. The colors are beautiful, the air is cooler, and the trout are hungry! If you’re looking for success this fall season, then you should focus on stocking up on the right flies for fall trout fishing.

But knowing which fly to use isn’t easy – different flies work better with different species of trout. So how do you know which ones will work?

Must-Have Flies for Fall

Rainbow tungsten warriors are perfect for fall fishing. They are easy to tie, cast, and fly. They are also very effective flies for trout, bass, panfish, and even salmon. Tungsten warriors are great because they don’t sink like traditional nymphs. This makes it easier to fish them out of slow-moving water.

Muddler Minnow

The muddler minnow is one of the most versatile patterns out there. Depending on how you want it to look, this fly can be fished wet or dry. If you want it to sit still like a nymph, then go dry. If you want it to move around like a streamer, then go wet. There are several different ways to fish this pattern, too. You can use a dropper rig, a split shot rig, or even a simple hook-up rig.

Chubby Chernobyl

The Chubby Chernobyl fly works well as an indicator or tandem combination. It is a good choice for fishing in cold water. This pattern is named after the famous Chub Lake near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

Zebra Midge

A Zebra Midge is one of the most versatile flies around. This small black/brown fly is easy to catch and can be used for fishing throughout the summer months. They are found in streams, ponds, lakes, marshes, and rivers. You can use a Zebra Midge for trout, bass, panfish, salmon, muskellunge, walleye, pike, catfish, carp, and many others. You could probably find a place where there isn’t a fish that won’t take a Zebra Midge.

The bead on the head makes this fly very effective for casting. If you want to ensure that your Zebra Midge sinks fast enough, add some weight to the head. Try tying a small piece of lead wire onto the head, or tie a few beads onto it. This will help the fly sink quickly.

Elk Hair Caddis

The elk hair caddis pattern works well during the day, and the trout love it after sunset. Elk hair caddis imitation flies are great for late afternoon / early evening action. Elk hair caddisflies are available in sizes 1420.

Egg Fly

Trout loves eating eggs. They’re easy to catch, especially when you throw them into the water near the bank, where the fish like to hang out. But there’s one problem: Eggs don’t float well. So how do you ensure the egg floats long enough for the fish to find it? You tie it onto a small piece of hair tied around a hook. This is called an “egg fly.”

Wooly Bugger

The wooly bug is one of the most popular flies during the fall season. It is considered a traditional fly tied with a single feather hackle. This fly is usually tied with a single hook and uses a split shot head. The main advantage of this fly is that it is easily tied and can be fished with various techniques.

Pheasant Tail

A pheasant tail is a fly fishing lure used in North America. A pheasant tail consists of a feather attached to a piece of wire about 4 inches long. The feather resembles the head of a pheasant, hence the name “pheasant tail.”

The feathers are usually dyed yellow, orange, red, brown, black, green, blue, purple, pink, white, gray, tan, cream, silver, copper, gold, or combinations thereof. Some pheasant tail lures are tied into a knot called a cloverleaf knot. This knot is formed by wrapping the feather around itself several times.

RS2 Emerger

The RS2 Emerger is a great fly for fall trout fishing. This pattern imitates emerging mayflies, and it can be fished in a variety of ways. It is tied with a light gray body and dark gray wings, making it very visible in the water. The RS2 Emerger can be used as an emerger or an adult dry fly.

Slump Buster

The Slump Buster is a great fly in your arsenal when trout fishing in the fall. This fly has an olive body with a bright orange tail and hackle, making it highly visible to trout. It is designed to be fished deep and slow, which makes it perfect for those days when the fish are sluggish and not actively feeding.

fly fisherman fishing for trout in a stream in the fall or autumn

Major Differences in Fall Fishing

Spring fishing is well underway across North America, and it’s time to start thinking about what you might catch in the coming months. There are major differences between trout fishing during the spring and fall. Let’s look at those differences and how they affect your chances of catching fish.

The most obvious difference between spring and fall trout fishing is water temperature. Stream temperatures tend to be warmer in the spring, and many anglers find that the warm water attracts larger baitfish. This makes for better feeding opportunities for trout, especially in low stream flow.

Another important factor affecting spring fishing success is the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water. When stream flows are high, oxygen levels remain relatively stable throughout the day. As a result, trout typically spend much of their time near the surface, where they can easily detect food sources. However, when stream flows are low, dissolved oxygen levels drop quickly over short periods, making it difficult for trout to locate prey.

The Fall Slow Down

Insects are decreasing in number and size. Fish are moving out of colder water and into warmer areas to spawn. Water temperatures are dropping, and flow rates are slowing down as we move toward winter. This is one of those times you might want to consider putting away some of your outdoor equipment. If you don’t, it could cost you money.

Spawning isn’t Complete in the Fall

As the fall season approaches, trout are preparing to spawn. Trout typically spawn in the late summer and early fall months when water temperatures are between 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit.

During this time, trout will move into shallow areas of rivers and streams where they can lay their eggs. The males will also develop a bright coloration as they become ready to mate.

Trout spawning is an important part of the life cycle of these fish, and it is essential for maintaining healthy populations of trout in our rivers and streams.

A man casts his fly rod into a river during the autumn

Where to Fish for Trout in the Fall

Fall is a great time for trout fly fishing trips. The warm, stable days with light or calm winds are perfect for mayfly hatches. These hatches come in several varieties, the most common being small olive mayflies. When fishing for fall trout, it’s important to have plenty of olive emergers and dries in sizes 18 through 24. Don’t try to cheat by not buying or tying the size 24s—they are essential for catching those big trout! It’s also important to remember that different flies work better at different times of day and under different conditions.

For example, during the morning, you might want to use a dry fly, while in the afternoon, you should switch to an emerger pattern. Additionally, if a strong wind blows, you should opt for heavier-weighted flies that can cut through the wind and get down into the water column where the fish are hiding. With all these tips in mind, you’ll surely have a successful fall trout fly fishing trip!

Fishing with Motion

Fishing with motion is a great way to catch trout during the fall season. When the wind picks up and leaves, twigs and nuts start to cover the water, it can be difficult for trout to discern food from debris. To help them out, you can twitch your hopper or beetle once during its drift, which will often get a trout’s attention. As the weather gets colder, rainier, and windy, it’s time to put away the dry flies and switch to streamers in deeper water.

Brown and brook trout migrating before spawning in late November tend to stack up at the back end of pools, so having a sink-tip line handy is essential for getting your fly swung across their noses. This technique will help you land more fish even when they aren’t actively feeding due to their spawning instincts kicking in.

Leaves and Debris? Just Twitch It…

Leaves and debris in the river can be a real challenge for anglers, but with the right technique, you can ensure your flies are just twitchy enough to entice trout. You should twitch the fly occasionally to help trout tell the difference between your fly and debris. Doing this too often can spook the trout.

Keep the bead head off the bottom, so you don’t catch too many leaves. To do this, first, gauge the river’s depth and then tie your dropper rig 3-4 inches shorter than you would in the summer. This will ensure that your fly is just above any debris on the bottom of the river and will give you a better chance of catching fish. With this technique, you’ll be able to make sure that your fly looks like a natural insect rather than just another piece of debris in the water.

When and Where to Use Hatch Patterns

Hatches are a great way to target trout during the autumn months. During October and November, trout will feed on both dries and nymphs, making it important to have a variety of flies in your arsenal. The Diptera midge is one of the most popular wet flies to use when a cold front comes through. This fly can be used to warm up if you find yourself wearing gloves and a toboggan.

During the month, midges from sizes #18–#22 are the most commonly found species in our rivers. Tying on a few small midges can be key to catching those shy trout. To increase your chances of success, don’t forget to stock up on midges!

What Fly Fishing Gear is Needed for Fall

Fly fishing gear is an important part of the sport, and leader sizes and tippets are two key components. When fly fishing in the fall, it’s important to use a leader size one or two sizes smaller than what you would normally use during the summer months. This will give you an edge over other anglers using a shorter leader or knotted tippet. Additionally, a 12ft. leader is preferable to the 9ft. leader that many anglers have used all summer long.

The clear fall water and high oxygen levels make it easier for trout to spot your leader, so having a smaller size can help you stay undetected by the fish. It’s also important to choose the right tippet for your flies; 6x or 7x for dries and 7x fluro for nymphs are good choices for this time of year. With the right gear, you can maximize your chances of success when fly fishing in the fall season.

Which Trout Flies Should I Use in the Fall?

When choosing a fly for fall fishing, it helps to know what fish you want to catch. For example, do you want to catch brook trout? Or brown trout? Or rainbow trout? Or even lake trout? Knowing the species, you wish to target will help narrow down your choices.

Fall is a great time to fly fishing for trout, and choosing the right combination of flies can make all the difference. With so many available options, it can be difficult to decide which ones best suit your needs. Fortunately, some top 20 trout flies have been proven to work well in the Fall. These include nymphs, emergers, and streamers designed to imitate natural food sources and attract fish.

Summing it Up: Flies for Fall Trout Fishing

Fall trout fishing includes many types of flies, so you should stock up with a variety of them. Each fly will allow you to find which is more effective in catching your desired trout. Remember to stock your tackle box with flies ranging from dry flies, nymphs, and streamers to enjoy optimal results when falling trout fishing.