By: Matt Bennett
This time of year usually has me working on getting my own trout boxes in order for my yearly trip up to southwestern Colorado for a few weeks of fishing and hunting at our family cabin. With all the craziness this year has brought, it will be the first year in a very long time that I won’t make it up.
However, a couple friends are moving across the country to the Pacific Northwest and asked me to put together a few flies as they fished their way up to their new home, and I was happy to oblige. They’re focusing on a few different fisheries in several states, everything from high country creeks to larger freestones and tailwaters. I put this together with more of the smaller rivers and high country creeks in mind, and am hopeful they’ll have some luck. It’s pretty much what I would have tied for myself headed up to Southwest Colorado for the fall.
As you can see in the top photo, I started with an assortment of larger dries – Tri-Color Morrish Hoppers, my own Backcountry Beetles in the back, and my friend Chris Johnson’s Fluff Beast (above) in the middle. I’ve found many trout in some of the less-pressured waters become less selective feeders as the nights start getting cool and are more likely to move for a larger meal, so the standard Hopper / Dropper combo is something I fish nearly all the time.
For droppers, I’m typically fishing Frenchie or Pheasant Tail variations with tungsten beads to get down through the faster, more oxygenated water I tend to find more fish in. Water flows in the area depend highly both on the past winter snowpack and the annual early summer monsoon season, and have been fairly low in the past few years, with a couple exceptions. For calmer water, I’ll drop something like an RS2 or similar, like the below.
There’s a few sporadic hatches that tend to still happen in the fall where I frequently fish, mostly some remnant Pale Morning Duns or, if you luck on a cool, rainy day, you might find a nice Blue Wing Olive hatch, so I always have a few of those in the box. I tend to favor Parachute or Cripple-style mayflies for my own fishing, like the below CDC Cripples, which are easier targets for cruising fish.
And, of course, you can’t fish the Rockies without some Chubby Chernobyls. Here’s a smaller version I’ve started fishing the past few years that’s scaled down for some of the smaller waters I frequent.
Finally, I always have a box full of streamers, mostly my Lunch and Brunch Moneys that I carry with me. There’s arguments to be made for all kinds of color options, but always have a few juvenile trout-colored Brunch Moneys in the fall, like below.
That rounds out the box. I personally have an incredibly hard time fishing out of just one box even for a couple hours on the water, and always bring entirely too much stuff. But, if you were looking to trout fish over the next two or so months in the Western Rockies, I think you could do a lot worse than the above!
Feel free to shoot me a message on Instagram (@flygeekmatt) with questions or comments – I’m always happy to talk flies and share the recipes for the above patterns. Good luck on the water this fall!