Washington Rivers


What to Expect in September

Note: This What-To-Expect is from Westfly's Legacy pages and may not accurately reflect the current fishing at this venue.

This is a great time of year, with fine weather and abundant opportunities for both trout and steelhead. However, no matter which species you pursue, you will find slippery rocks this month. A summer of low rivers and warm sunshine has encouraged thick coats of algae on many submerged boulders. Watch your step!

After a couple of months of caddis-dominated hatches, two mayflies return to prominence in September: mahogany duns and blue-winged olives.

The mahogany duns (Paraleptophelbia) create trout feeding activity in quiet bankwater because that's where the nymphs migrate before hatching. If you see trout languidly rising in slow water near the riverbank this month, you're probably witnessing a mahogany dun hatch. DON'T cast blindly. In this quiet water you'll spook the fish. Instead, watch the rises and pick a single trout. If trout seem particularly fussy, try a downstream presentation so the fly reaches the fish before the leader and line.

The other mayfly that returns this month is the blue-winged olive. Hatches will be sporadic, but nymphs are active and are taken by trout more regularly than the duns, especially in riffly water.

Caddis continue to be active. Many of the September hatchers are size18-20, but the huge October caddis makes its appearance late in the month. Trout take pupa patterns as well as adults. When fishing an adult October caddis pattern, try both a standard dry fly presentation and a skating presentation. Usually one will work better than the other, and you should stick with the magic bullet once you've found it.

Salmonfly nymphs, which are never totally off the menu for trout, will become more important this month. Two-nymph rigs, with a salmonfly nymph on the point and a smaller fly, such as a size18 Pheasant Tail or Sparkle Pupa, will be very productive when no hatches are in progress.

iiiSteelhead.ggg For many anglers, steelhead will be the biggest news of September. Most major summer steelhead streams are hitting their prime. As the sun gets lower in the sky and temperatures cool, you can be productive for a longer time each day, instead of restricting yourself to the early morning and late evening.


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