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Fishing in the Rockies during the fall not only offers the chance to see richly hued trees against deep blue autumn skies, but it can also result in some of the most productive angling of the year. I have had many of my best fishing days in cold autumn weather on Western rivers. The crowds of summer have gone home, and rivers that ran too high to wade all summer become prime wading spots. The brown trout in most rivers are preparing for the spawn and eating heavily in anticipation of the oncoming cold weather.

When choosing a fall fishery, I think it’s important that you start by focusing your attention on rivers that have steady flows this time of year and maintain reasonably warm water temperatures. Fall in the West means everything from snowstorms by late October and early November to Indian Summer as late as November. Your river needs to be able to withstand the capricious Western weather. This typically means a tailwater, but not always.

One of my favorite fall fisheries is the North Platte River in southern Wyoming. Early fall fishing here means quality, solitary angling for large brown trout as water levels on this usually high-running river begin to drop. The legendary Miracle Mile section fishes especially well in autumn. Don Walls of Platte Valley Outfitters (*) says he thinks some of the best fishing of the year here takes place in October and early November when streamers, muddler minnows and nymphs swung through riffles draw heavy strikes from spawning browns. Float trips on this wide, flat river with Platte Valley Outfitters begin at $300 per day. It can get brutally cold by late November in this part of Wyoming, but if you don’t mind bundling up, you can have the river to yourself. The fishing can get tough by late autumn, but you might hit one of those Indian Summer days when the mayflies come off all day. – Mark D. Williams.

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