Late fall can be a wonderful time to fish in New England. If the winter doesn't set in too quickly, which, this year is clearly not an issue, the fishing can be spectacular. Water is often lower, but the fish are still active and the big ones are moving up into the headwaters and tributaries. Its also a great time to chase some larger fish on wider rivers.
Over the last few weeks I've been able to visit the Farmington a few times, the Housatonic, and many other tributaries and small streams.
I've continued exploring new water and new access spots, sometimes finding wonderful dirt roads that take you back into slightly less-fished areas.
Staying low and moving slow is of the utmost importance as the slower and lower water gives your presence away more easily.
Another great aspect of fishing this time of year is the light. Late afternoon right before sunset creates an epic glow of color that often leaves one in awe.
Its hard to leave the water when its this beautiful, and packing a headlamp can mean you don't have to stress about hanging out until the last moments of light.
Tributaries have been low in the Northeast as we, too, have been in need of rain. But the water is cold, clear and the fish are still there, for the most part.
As is this beautiful fall fungus that always stands out strikingly, against the now-duller colors of the pre-winter forest landscape.
The red spots on wild browns also create strikingly beautiful contrasts.
Oddities like this indian head rock on a tall stump also leave me pondering. But I dare not dally long, as the short days of late fall leave less time to wet a line each day...
And yet the colors of the late fall fish remind me that this time of year its not about the numbers but rather the beauty of each individual fish caught and released.
A few rainbows make for a fine catch, even if the target fish of the day might have been Salmon.
Some tumbling streams are easier to navigate and the features easier to read as the water levels drop (but we must still hope for rain.)
I pause a moment on streams like that to photograph the tools of the day.
And to document the surroundings...
because sometimes even the best looking water is a bust and inexplicably the fish are nowhere to be seen (or hooked!)
And when in such a place, one's mind may wander back to the surroundings...
seeing once again the wonders of nature in different forms.
Even a moment when a fallen tree blocking your trail becomes not an obstacle, but a spectacle worthy of appreciation just as it lies, can be had.
And then there's the overwhelming emotion of the final trek back to the car, as the sun is low and the fun for the day is over... the air is cold and crisp, the smell of fall is present - yet fading with the light.
The thought of soft light, a warm home, friends, family and a hearty meal makes it alright.