Published Aug 20. 2011 - 5 years ago

Autumn Gallery

My favorite time for coastal fishing has always been in the autumn. Only a few things will beat a nice September or October day on the coast.

Butterfish - Many autum sea trout just have a slight yellow touch on the belly like this one caught by Steve Wade
Autumn beauty - The fish that is... Paul Kalbrenner with a very nice autumn fish.
Almost a stream fish - Many coastal sea trout look more like stream brown trout when spawning season approaches
Autumn fish
Henning Eskol

You will hear many coastal anglers in the Baltic area hail spring as their favorite time of year. And I can very well understand why: The season starts after a long winter, the weather gets better and the fish are hungry. It can be good time to fish, because whenever you run into a trout, it will most likely take almost anything you present it, from a piece of metal to a crudely tied splashing fly.

Personally

I'm much more of an autumn guy.

Right now

, we're seeing the end of summer, and even though this particular one hasn't been like most people dream with endless hot days, blazing sun, warm evenings and nights, it has been warm, and closing in on September as we are we can feel the temperatures falling, and days getting cooler. This is a time of year where I get cabin fever and start longing for the coast.

I simply love

those Indian summer days in September and October where the air is fresh and clean from a recent shower, the gentle sun is low, but still warm, the water is cooling down after a hot summer and the fish are in their best shape of any time during the year, ready to go on a spawning run or ready to live through the winter as bright, chrome bullets.

Happy me - Yet another autumn fish has taken my fly
A bright fish - Branislav Ondrejka with a nice, bright fish in the keeper range. If you want to keep a fish, this is what you want
Almost bright - Henning Eskol with a fish that barely has a touch of autumn colors
Leathery - A very brown sea trout, probably only days from entering the stream to spawn. This one was caught in very shallow water on an October day.
Late season
Martin Joergensen - Henning Eskol

The coastal sea trout

are less greedy and more picky in the autumn, which has led to the general opinion that they are difficult to catch. That's not my own personal experience. The fish may not go for anything that moves, and might sometimes be a little more shy and less aggressive than during the spring, but as a fly angler I find that fish are as easy to get to bite in the autumn as they are the rest of the year. As it's mostly the case with sea trout in the salt, the big problem is not to get the fish to bite, but to find them.

Perfect conditions - Just as you want it: waves and commotion, but the water is still clear
Calm but choppy - The shallow, coastal water is slightly choppy, but still very fishable and sure does look inviting on this September day.
Even into December - Sometimes the season will stretch into November and September with mild and sunny days. This shot is from December 31st!
Long shadows - The sun is low, but is still nice and warm - as is the sight of a stretch of coast like this
Fading - The forest is slowly fading. It\'s still green, but has a hue of brown and red blended into the greens
The autumn coast
Henning Eskol - Martin Joergensen

Fishing near streams

and estuaries can increase your chances, but remember that there often is a protection zone where streams enter the ocean, which disallows fishing where the fresh water enters the salt. This is of course done to protect the spawning fish (which has always made me wonder why we allow fishing on the exact same fish in the streams and rivers! But that's a whole other story).
The autumn fish tend to move in pretty shallow water close to the shore and seem to prefer the water slightly rough. So fishing close to the beach in a bit of waves can often be worth a try.

Chorme - When you catch a bright fish, there\'s no doubt. Henning Eskol\'s fish is bright as silver and has loose scales. It\'s not a spawner
Hard to complain - September and October can often offer meny beauties like this one
Tannish - Jari Wiklund showing a tannish autumn fish, but still distinctly colored and not bright
Colored, bright, chrome
Martin Joergensen - Henning Eskol
Other autumn joys - These blackberries are juts one of the many other thing you can ejoy during the late season. Rasbarries, apples, plums and many other wild fruits will be ripe and ready to eat
Autumn leaves - The landscapes are generally beautiful on an early autumn morning
Mullet! - In the late season you can also bump into mullet in the Baltic. They can be very challenging to catch, but having a bright green mullet fly in your box won\'t do any harm
Hefty fish - Mullet are both large and strong, like this specimen caught by Henning Eskol
Autumn joys
Martin Joergensen

If you fish

late in the season you are bound to run into fish on their spawning run. These fish will be golden, sometimes deep brown, and will not have the silvery, loose scales of the summer fish, but be leathery and often quite slimy. The fish are generally very robust, being prepared for the hardships of the spawning run, which may include some pretty harrowing stretches of water, starting on the beach when the fish cross into the streams and oftentimes including rapids and even smaller waterfalls. The fish is prepared for this, and it's skin is much more durable this time of year than in the spring and the summer.

I urge you

to release all fish that show sign of being on the way to spawn. Most of all because we need these spawners to complete their task and secure the future population, but also because they usually don't taste as well as the bright fish. They have started to loose weight and change their physiology to prepare for spawning, leading a lot of resources into egg and sperm rather than into muscles.
Let the colored fish go and keep the bright ones.

Back again - It\'s good karma to let the colored fish go back. They deserve to spawn and are not good to eat anyway
The landing phase - You can usually beach the fish without harming them. Autumn fish are very robust and prepared for the hardships of the spawning run.
C&R
Henning Eskol
Stay dry - Don\'t wade in too far. Deep wading is not needed, and can actually be dumb to do. Here Ripley Davenport fishes the water very close to the beach
A rainbow - In the autumn we will often see escaped hatchery trout on the coast
In the shallow
Martin Joergensen - Kasper Muhlbach
Jumpers - Fish often jump in the autumn - both hooked and unhooked. They seem to be much stronger and more engergetic this time of year
Energetic
Martin Joergensen
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Comments

listening to the global fly fisher in South Africa... enjoying it very much.

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