Winter is approaching quickly. Days are short and temperatures are beginning to fall. Fall colours are long gone and as each day passes, the opportunities for stillwater fishing lessen.

Earlier this week a few of us had a chance to get out for a bit of trout fishing – a full day and the morning of the next. We were hoping to encounter rainbow trout bent on fattening up for the winter months. Depending on how you look at it, the weather conditions were going to be good or bad. Sunny and warm was inviting from the perspective of being out on the water with legs immersed in 43F water but maybe overcast would be preferable for the fish. What we got was sunny and warm and mostly no wind which made for very pleasant float tubing.

We arrived reasonably early Monday morning and wasted no time getting on the water. Fishing proved to be steady. By lunch time most had managed to coax several trout into dining on whatever was at the end of the line. In my case the menu du jour consisted mainly of the rusty brown bugger concoction I had come up with a couple months back. I admit it looks somewhat strange when dry but in the water the Krystal Hackle flattens back nicely to match the shape of a minnow body. Under the bright sun conditions the subtle sparkle seemed to be an added attraction for the fish. Who knows what goes through a fish’s brain but whatever it is, they seemed to like it.

Most of the fish caught were in the 12-14 inch range with a few approaching 16 inches. I was fishing a clear intermediate sink line. Fish were caught at various depths, generally while stripping in the line. Dusk comes early these days and by 5 o’clock the sun had set and everyone was ready for a warm cabin and dinner.

We were up the next morning, greeted by near flat calm conditions. As the sun rose over the hills, the temperature warmed and the wind stayed away. I headed to a shallow bay where I had had some success the day before. Same thing this morning as landed three rainbows in quick order and lost three more.

Somewhere I have heard or read – don’t leave fish to find fish, but not heeding that advice I decided to move on, thinking I would finish up the morning in another favourite bay. That proved to be an unsuccessful idea as the fish seemed to either have left the area or decided they weren’t hungry. At any rate after an hour with no activity, it was time to head in for a cup of coffee and to warm up.

With the toes feeling better I decided to hit the water for a bit before we had to pack up and leave. Based on experience from earlier in the morning, I headed back to the bay I had started at and was rewarded with action once again. It seemed the fish were active along the edge of the flats. Several fish and an equal number of misses it was time to call it quits and head for home.

The rusty brown bugger proved to be my most successful pattern on this trip. Who knows if that will be the case in the future but it will be one on the list for winter tying.