Sunday, October 30, 2022

Fall Popper Action

 Fly fishing in the fall compared to fly fishing in the spring for warm water species is different when it comes to catch ratio. In the spring the fish are more active and move into the shallows to feed and get ready for the spawn. The fall brings cooler water temps, low water levels, and cold fronts that cause the fish to become dormant. This time of year tests your skills as a warm-water fly fisherman if you fish small bodies of water or large lakes. As the water cools the fish tend to move to deeper water causing one to work harder for a hit on surface flies and poppers. 

Friday's trip fishing Smith was planned before I ever left the house knowing I was going to fish on top using  Bea's popper in a size 8. This popper is not large but still got the attention of some of the spotted bass lingering near the walls. This bass slapped at the popper twice before it finally inhale it. I've noticed the hits are not as aggressive when the water temps are colder. Today the surface temps were ranging between 63 to 65 degrees. Patience is the key when fishing surface poppers on the water this cold. 
All the hits today occurred 7 to 8 ft. away from the walls; this area showed a depth of 40 ft. away from the wall. I like to fish in an area of water like this that is silky smooth. Moving the surface fly with a little twitch can at times get a reaction in the water this deep. 
The only bluegill of the morning which is unusual when the water temps are this cold. My four-weight 9 ft. was the only fly rod that got tested today. I will have my five-weight 9ft. spooled with a sink-tip line using a wooly bugger or a streamer for the next trip. It's hard to stray away from the top action knowing at any minute you might connect with a super size spotted bass. 
I will continue to fish Smith until the water temps fall below 60 degrees. After the season ends on the lake I will move to the tailrace and fish for the rainbow below the dam using my Euro Nymphing ten-foot fly rod. 


  1. HI Bill. There is always that "crash", when a surface lure is taken, that get's the blood flowing.

  2. Thanks Bill. No doubt the fishing will slow down some as the water cools, but given an occasional strike at the popper or a surface fly, or a chase at a lively streamer, the blood stream warms and we're thankful to be out there on another fine autumn day.

  3. Mark, the last couple of seasons fishing Smith have spoiled me, becasue of the amount of fish I have landed using the dry flies and poppers----BIG difference on the tailrace fishing for trout

  4. Walt
    I'm looking forward to fishing the Sipsey during the winter months using the Euro method. In the meantime I will continue to land a few fish bass using surface poppers and streamers. Thanks for the comment

  5. Hi Bill! Good to see you catching a few in the deeper depths... Hope you have a wonderful holiday season this month with family. It's been awhile for me to post something. Maybe I will do it today! Haha.

  6. Emily
    The season is over on the lake. I will spend the rest of this year and the first part of next year fishing for the trout below the lake. Time to get out the Euro Nymphing fly rod. Hope you all have a great Christimas--thanks for the comment