Western Drift Boats in the Fall

There is a lot of great fishing to be had in the fall, but if I had to pick one of my favorites it would be drifting a big, Western river.

The rivers meander in the fall.  They’re not running hard and cold like they are in the spring, and they’re not slow and bony as they are in the summer.  Fall flows are perfect, and when you go through flat water you’ve got time to work the bank and when you go through the rapids you’re in for some fun.

Cold nighttime temperatures and warm daytime temperatures mean you sleep like a baby only to wake up ready to fish hard.  Water temperatures are usually in the 55-65 degree range, which means that a trout metabolizes a stomach-full of food per day.  And that means that the trout are hungry and they’ll even eat a less-than-perfect presentation.

A drift boat transports fishermen through some of the prettiest areas.  Aspen turn bright yellow, oaks add a brownish/red, and any uncut hay or wheat field is a golden brown.  Pheasant and mule deer move in to feed, and snow caps the mountains way in the distance.

Seeing a brown trout come up and smack a grasshopper is dramatic, no doubt. But even a two-footer pales in comparison to the sheer beauty of a float down a big river in the fall.

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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.