My Top Ten Flies for Autumn

Photo: David Lambroughton

Photo: David Lambroughton

Autumn is the most spectacular season in Colorado. The dogs days of summer are over. Angry August gives way to the mellow days spectacular September. Monsoons are slowly fading out while the daytime temperatures become reasonable again. It is worth bringing along a pack jacket or venture out in a comfy flannel plaid shirt. Ambient mid day temperatures may require you shed a layer to stay cool. 

Aside from the weather being agreeable to us bipedal terrestrial pescadores, the cooler water temperatures bring fish back within the optimal range for thriving instead of just surviving. As the water temperatures drop, many find that wet wading is still very pleasant.

You can count on new cast of characters as well as some lingering summer hatches to comprise the bulk of your fishing options.

On overcast days or early in the morning, streamer fishing is a very popular tactic. Bring along two rods, one with a sink tip for chucking streamers and your 10' nymph rod.

Below is a short list of likely insects that make the A list throughout most of the west.

  • Slate Wing Mahogany Dun
  • Black Drake
  • Red Quills 
  • September Stone AKA Short Winged StoneClaassenia sabulosa
  • Little Black Sedges
  • Micro Caddis
  • Black Midges
  • Hoppers and Beetles
  • Streamers
  • Eggs

Orange Ribbed Sexy Walt's

Hook: Hanak 400BL, 450BL (pictured)
Bead: Round slotted tungsten bead, black nickel
Body: Hares mask dubbing
Rib: Uni-Mylar peacock/orange
Note: covers so many bases I don't know where to begin. I've used em during the red quill and PMD hatches but almost any time is a good time.

Zika Jig

Hook: Hanak H400BL Jig Classic 16-18
Bead: Round slotted tungsten silver.
Abdomen: Black and silver uni-wire
Thorax: Black Hare'e Ice dubbing

Flashback Black Pheasant tail

Hook: Firehole Sticks 633
Bead: Round black nickel tungsten
Tail: Dyed black pheasant tail fibers
Abdomen: Dyed black pheasant tail fibers
Rib: Small stainless steel wire
Thorax: Black hare'e Ice dubbing
Wingcase: Peacock uni-mylar and UV epoxy

Possie Bugger

Hook: Firehole Sticks 839
Bead: Black Nickel Tungsten
Tail: Australian opossum
Abdomen: Australian opossum
Rib: Small oval gold tinsel
Thorax: Tan Brahma hen followed by black hares mask fur.
Note: Makes an excellent imitation for the September stones.

Sexy Betty

Hook: Hanak H400BL
Bead: Painted fluorescent pink tungsten
Tail: Australian opossum
Abdomen: Australian opossum
Rib: Small UV blue mylar (flashabou)
Thorax: Adams gray hares mask fur
Collar: Black hares mask fur
Note: Brown trout, brook  and cutthroat trout spawn in the fall. Think eggs?

Black Foam Caddis

Hook: Hanak H130BL
Body: Black foam wrapped
Hackle: Black micro saddle, slightly undersized
Wing: Natural elk

Thread Quill UV RS2

Hook: Firehole Sticks 315
Tail: Medium pardo Coq de Leaon
Abdomen: Olive, tan & black 8/0 uni thread treated with UV resin
Wing: Dun CDC, clipped short
Thorax: Olive gray superfine dubbing.

Gray PT Frenchie

Hook: Hanak H400BL
Bead: Round slotted tungsten, black nickel
Tail: Medium pardo Coq de Leon
Abdomen: Dyed gray pheasant tail
Rib: Small stainless steel wire
Thorax: Adams gray hares mask dubbing
Collar: Optional, pink Veevus stomach body thread
Note: Red Quill, Slate winged mahogany and a host of many other aquatic edibles.

Traditional Olive Czech Nymph

Hook: Hanak H300BL
Abdomen: Light Olive, dark olive hares mask dubbing
Rib: Fine oval gold tinsel
Thorax: Dark olive hares mask dubbing
Counter Rib: Small stainless steel wire
Shellback: Olive scud back
Dorsal Markings: Dark gray Copic marker
Note: The net spinners get bigger in Autumn. I carry sizes 8-12 with me

Beadhead Miracle Nymph

Hook: Firehole Sticks 316 (not pictured)
Bead: Round tungsten silver
Body: White thread
Rib: X-sm copper wire
Collar: Black marking pen on thread.
Note: Sometimes a small white shiny thing gets the job done.