Putah Creek Fall Options
Do you feel the nip in the air? That is Fall breathing down our necks. I am getting really excited about the current water situation and what is around the corner. Fishing is always better if it involves a sweatshirt. Think about it: trout are cold blooded. They prefer cooler temperatures and feed more regularly. Most people fish during the summer because they find more time to do so, but that does not mean the fishing is better. It’s typical that the crazy high summer Putah Creek flows drop after Labor Day weekend. Sometimes it is a week or so behind but that depends on the weather. The flows are managed first for agriculture needs the farmers basically take what they need during the summer and take less when it cools off. Also, when the weather cools there are less energy needs to be produced from Monticello Dam.
If you are running your air conditioner less that means the flows will drop sooner the later. The first few weeks after that drop is crayfish time. Crawdads are like any crustacean and need to molt a few times a year. They eat and grow, in order to do so they soften there shells first. Generally, they are in molt towards the end of summer. Then the flows drop out from underneath them. This freaks
them out because there safe hiding spots quickly disappear. Fish smaller ones the bigger ones do not seem to work as well. The other effect the flow drop has is on the system is that the smaller bait fish freak out. The sculping and sticklebacks are searching for new cover too. This is our chance to hook a trophy fish on decent sized hooks and tippet.
The rest of the game is pretty typical. Midges, mayflies, and afternoon caddis. Let’s take a quick moment to discuss midges. It is by far the most prolific bug in the creek. Yes, they are small but there are millions of them. I think unsuccessful anglers are ones that don’t try to up their midge game. There are way better patterns out there then Zebra Midges. Do yourself a favor and do some research on different patterns. Everyone seems to throw zebra midges, but that means the fish see them all the time.
I am not saying they do not work, they just don’t work very well enough for my standards. I still have a lot of openings this fall but those dates do not stay open for very long.