There is nothing worse than trying to enjoy a hunting or camping trip in the early fall in Utah and not being prepared for the fantastic fishing opportunities that await those who seize the day and catch the fish.
Let’s look at several methods of catching fish in September, from lakes and rivers to beaver ponds and small streams.
In northern Utah, whether you are fishing small or large lakes, the fly and bubble combination is a great way to catch fish right now and until winter. Remember that black wooly buggers, double renegades, and even smaller flies like Hare’s Ears and midges work extremely well even in the middle of the day, as soon as the weather in the high country begins to cool.
Power Bait rigged on a #16 treble hook on a 3-inch leader with a split shot placed a foot above the hook, and fished below a safety pin swivel and a “fillable” bubble (just like the fly and bubble combo) will work in any and all of the Uinta lakes, and from the shores of larger reservoirs such as Current Creek, Rockport, Echo, Deer Creek, Starvation and hundreds more.
Jake’s Spin-A-Lures in gold with red dots, and black or green marabou jigs in the 1/8- or 1/4-ounce weights will also work as long as you can keep them out of the grass.
If you are near a lake or reservoir, take some time in the middle of the day (if you are hunting) or early in the morning or late into the evening if you are camping, and give each of these methods a try. Our family has been known to catch 5-pound trout on a regular basis while deer and elk hunting. Few meals can beat fresh trout on the half shell roasted in tin foil over a fire.
Take at least two rods, three colors of Powerbait, small and large flies, bubbles, swivels, split shot sinkers and leader material, and don’t forget some tin foil, seasoning salt, and a little cooking oil or butter. With these preparations, you should be able to catch some great fish while enjoying the early fall.
Now, let’s shift gears to fishing rivers and streams, from the large and swift to the small and slow.
Regardless of where you hunt, ride ATVs or just camp, water is a key to your success. Hunters like to follow streams and find beaver ponds or small impoundments that hold drinking water for the game they pursue. It is amazing to me how small a stream can be and still hold trout in numbers and in sizes that astound. The key is being able to multi-task, search for game, ride your ATVs or hike, while still being prepared to catch fish in a moment’s notice.
A small telescoping rod is crucial to this strategy. I have a rod that is a foot long and with a micro reel takes up very little space in a day pack. I rarely pass a stream without stopping, resting for a few minutes and trying to catch a fish.
Take a small box of tiny spinners that fits nicely in a day pack. The spinners should be in rainbow or brown trout colors, and remember to take several of each color because they are a little fragile, besides the obvious fact that some streams flow through dense willows or other vegetation and snags are inevitable.
For larger rivers, I’ve found that spinners and marabou jigs are much easier to use than a fly rod, especially given the space concerns when you are hiking or riding through a remote area. Go as small as possible with your presentation to insure plenty of strikes and therefore fish.
Several species of fish will spawn between September and November and will congregate in holes just outside the current and will “react” to spinners or jigs brought through the deeper water.
Don’t let another hunting or camping season conclude without going prepared to make more of your outdoor adventures by spending some time with a line in the water. I promise you won’t regret the effort.