October is one of those idyllic months in the mountains. Sure, the fishing can be good, but it’s just as much about the feel. Days are shortening, temperatures are cooling and leaves are changing. I can not imagine a better backdrop for standing in a river and waving a stick!
This year things are looking better than usual. September and October are typically pretty dry months around here. So often, while cooling temperatures are cooling and fish are getting active, low water has them unusually skittish. But this year we had a wetter than usual September, including visits from two tropical storms. Fishing should be great!
Expect better fishing from late morning through late afternoon most of the month. And starting around the middle of the month, begin scanning the tail end of pools for large, pre-spawn brown trout.
While hatches are not as frequent or robust as we might see in spring, fall does bring a number of aquatic insects out, particularly caddis. Most of your standard mountain patterns should still be productive, but patterns in the caddis family should do even better. Staples like the Elk Wing Caddis are great and larger, orange dry fly patterns like Stimulators and Neversinks will make a nice representation of the large ginger caddis. Wired Caddis and tan, orange or rusty soft hackles should fit the bill below the surface.
As always, the Clinch is pretty hit and miss with generation schedules. Recently, they have not been releasing in the morning, allowing for a small window of wade fishing.
Not a lot changes on the Clinch when it comes to fly selection. Zebra Midges in size #18 and smaller are productive most days. Really any midge pattern in that size range is worth playing with. Small Pheasant Tail Nymphs are also a good bet.