Fall Foliage

The fall brings about wonderful changes in every part of the country. Where I live I see the most profound changes, with maples, birches, alders, and hickories becoming vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges. Many people come from all over the country to watch the leaves turn, and I can’t blame ‘em. I like to get a closer view of them along my favorite streams and rivers.

The trout that I catch are as colorful as the leaves. My favorites are the spawning brook trout. Their worm-like markings are jet black, and depending on their gender, they’ll have either bright red or bright yellow bellies. Their in-season light-green backs become dark, and they have wonderful light blue and red dots. For natural beauty, the brook trout are tough to beat. I think of them as the sugar maples of the river.

Rainbows get the reddish hue on their gill plates, and a similarly colored line continues all the way down their sides. Their bellies turn a different shade, too, and it is a golden yellow or orange hue. Their background color is green which makes their black spots all the more pronounced. ‘Bows are sort of a combination of maples and birches, with a little evergreen thrown in for good measure.

The browns have bright red spots that contrast sharply with their other pitch black markings. Their skin turns a unique buttery-brown color. They’re not as flashy as the brookies, and the brown trout are muted and stately, sort of like an oak.

Air temperatures are still warm, but I can feel the water rushing against my waders carrying a little chill. It’s what makes the trout hit so aggressively and the brookies and the rainbows so acrobatic. They know that Old Man Winter is around the corner, so they pull out all the stops. The high point is landing a pretty trout while a bunch of colorful leaves float down the river.

It won’t be long before all the leaves are down, which is about when the trout start to go dormant for the winter. But in terms of ending with a bang, the fall is absolutely the best way to do it.

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Tom Keer

Tom Keer

Tom Keer is an award-winning writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a Contributing Writer for Covey Rise magazine, a Contributing Editor for both Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program.  Keer writes regularly for over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics related to fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor pursuits.  When they are not fishing, Keer and his family hunt upland birds over their three English setters.  His first book, a Fly Fishers Guide to the New England Coast was released in January 2011.  Visit him at www.tomkeer.com or at www.thekeergroup.com.