It's October and things are cooling off quickly. The ski crowd is starting to buzz and as their anticipation of fresh powder heightens, the river temps drop and the fisherman mindset shifts to winter. Browns are spawning so watch out for the redds and let them breed. Otherwise, the conditions really seem to dictate the fishing and having a flexible approach is best.
Hit the Tailwaters
If the weather and temperatures are seeing big swings, skip the freestones and move to the tailwaters where water temps are stable. Although weather events will sometimes trigger hatches and activity, they can also shut everything down. The tailwater environments tend to fish more consistently. It's also a good time to hit these popular rivers without the crowds.
Change Your Gear
Somehow I make the same mistake every couple of years. It's nice weather with shorts and sandals all week so I don't pack rain gear and warm cloths for the weekend. Next thing you know a storm hits and I'm suffering through sleet, snow and rain. Pack a bag of warm gear, waders and prepare for anything. You can fish through the elements when you are ready. Don't let a lack of preparation ruin your trip.
New Fishing Hours
Last month you were up before the sun to get prepped and beat the mid-day heat. Go ahead and have another late night cocktail and sleep through the alarm. Getting a jump on the day is ok if you're slinging streamers and hunting a big one. Otherwise, wait for the sun to hit the water and warm things up. A single degree temperature bump can make all the difference.
Regional Species Options
Cold weather shuts down the warmwater species to a large degree but it also triggers migrations. The Great Lakes tributaries and the west coast experience runs of salmon and steelhead. Hang up your pike and trout rods and grab a 2 hander to swing for these awesome species.