Season of Change

If you haven't hung up your waders for the season...don't.  If you have, get them out of the closet, grab your rod, and head for the river.

September is always a bittersweet month - a season of change.  I love the change.  I love to reminisce over good times with friends, the cool river flowing past my waders on a warm summer day, drinkin' cold beer on hot afternoons and sippin' whiskey by the evening fire, the wonderful nights of bugs on the water, and the fish landed...and those that got away.  However, I also seem to think about those times I missed.  That ONE night I should have been on the water, but had other obligations.  That little creek that I keep telling myself year after year that I'm going to fish.  And always, never enough days on the water, regardless if I log more days in my journal than most.

September is a time for brook trout in full regalia, and still plenty of opportunity to chase them in the headwaters spring creeks they populate, as the trout "season" has yet to come to a close.  The cool evenings hint at brown trout showing their true predatory nature as the water temps start to dip and they attack in full force to gain energy for their upcoming mating ritual.  It's the time when, while wading through a familar piece of water, a familiar smell comes to your senses...but this one, not recent, but never forgotten...a whiff of wood smoke from a freshly stoked fireplace as the summer heat gives way to cooler nights.  

Floating lines still run the length of the lighter weight rods, as the beetles, flying ants, and leftover tricos still cause dimples in the surface.  The warmer afternoons giving way to beautiful, yet clumsy attempts at the formation of new ant colonies...much to the delight of the trout.  However, the heavier rods are now being lined with intermediate tips and tungsten heads in preparation of the cat & mouse game of stripping fur and feather through the water column in anticipation of THAT EAT that we are always waiting for.  Others are rigging their heavier rods with floating indicator heads or shooting lines to chase salmon on their annual migratory run up the rivers.  It's been several years since the size and quantity of salmon in the big waters and pushing through the river mouths have been seen, and it is being met with delight from many anglers.

Others will soon go for the dual approach - a trusty shotgun and bird dog for a morning hunt, and a rigged fly rod for the afternoon rise.  An approach that even I cannot deny its charm.

For the early risers, September means a morning shrouded in a cool mist, only to watch the rest of the outdoor world wake as it lifts from the warm beam of sunlight as you watch your breath waft silently into the air while you wade carefully to the next pool.  For those that tap the 'snooze' button one too many times, it means an afternoon of warm rays and a pleasant breeze...the fond smell of season-old leaves still deteriorating in the forest duff as the leaves of green give way to red as others prepare their descent to the ground below.  An elk bugles in the distance.  A grouse drums to define his territory.  And a brook trout, no longer than the cork on your rod - but more beautiful than all sunsets combined - breaks the surface with delicate precision.