September is always a month of mixed feelings for me. It’s easily my favourite time of year to be on the river, with the cooling temperatures, colourful scenery and hungry trout. Unfortunately, it also brings much shorter days and the end of open season for most fly fishing in Ontario.
I spent my Labour Day with a bit of a change in scenery, opting to fish the Brook Trout water above the Cataract on the Credit. I’m usually hesitant to give specifics about where I fish, for good reasons. However, I think in some cases, secrecy and tight lips can lead to lack of awareness about issues. This is water that has been in a state of decline for the last decade or so and only more recently are these issues coming into the foreground. There are definitely still healthy Brook Trout here, but in much smaller numbers and generally in smaller sizes as well, especially at the more easily accessible locations. Catch & Release and barbless hooks are more important than ever here.
I fished a long stretch of this section Monday and caught mostly tiny brookies, in the 4″ range. This is water that, not many years ago, was teeming with brookies in the 8-10″ range, some larger. It wasn’t until I made my way much further downstream, around dusk, that a fairly thick hatch of some (unidentified) large mayflies got things going. I assume the bugs were either Isonychia or Hexagenia atrocaudata (Late Hex). I tied on the largest fly I had in my box, a size #8 Robert’s Drake. I cast it upstream into the corner of a back eddy where a large amount of foam was accumulating and this fish smashed it as it hit the water.