You know it's fall when your dry fly keeps hanging up on floating leaves and brown trout attack with a vengeance as the fly nonchalantly bounces on the river's surface.
The colors bouncing off the mirror-smooth water are blinding and mesmerizing. I almost forgot to pay attention and look for rise rings to cast to. Almost.
I found a seam next to the bank, sheltered by overhanging rhododendron hugging blocks of granite. The water tumbled over some boulders, splashed like kids at camp and settled down to a smooth, clear pool full of mystery.
I put the little Adams midge a little ahead of where the last rise was. I let the tiny fly float and float and ... spash ... there it goes across the pool, then straight at me and then away again to the other side. The rod shuddered. I tightened my grip.
It was almost too easy.
But I had paid my dues earlier in the day, casting downstream to let the fly reach the trout's feeding lane before he spotted my line and swam away. I let out many feet of line, more and more as the fly sailed down the North Fork of the French Broad River. I got one hit and lost him. I wasted a lot of valuable fishing time (VFT) before heading upstream. I could see the feeding trout from where I was hunkered under the branches.
It was supposed to be the best day of the month for fishing, especially between 11:30 and 2 p.m.
And, you know what? It was. The forecasters hit it perfectly Monday and Tuesday.
Fall fishing at its best. With the exception of one rainbow trout, all the fish I landed were browns during the three-day period.
And with their fall colors sparkling gold and red and silver, those trout fit right in with the season.
You know its fall when the fish match their surroundings.