The lake fishing season ... "palindromesque" ... ( I think that's a made up word :) ... it is a bit like a palindrome in this part of the world, at least in some ways. Both ends of the natural lake season have crescendos of activity. The Spring crescendo is well known and heavily fished. The water warms up, the hatches get more plentiful, and fishing comes alive. Everybody and his dog may show up when the Chironomid hatches, for example, are in full swing in May. It all peters out quite a bit by July and we are all familiar with the hot August doldrums when many tug-thirsty lake anglers will take to the rivers for a while before Fall cooling starts.
Fall cooling ... that's the start of the other crescendo. It begins slowly through September and builds through October. This crescendo is not heavily fished. I don't know why. Maybe a lot of the Spring fishers are now hunting. Maybe it's the lack of hatches. Maybe children of the intrepid Spring fishers need extra attention during the beginning of the school year. Maybe there's no good reason, although weather-wise it's usually about the same average temperature as in the Spring. However, fisher psychology is certainly different. In the Spring the intrepid stillwater fishers have been anticipating the coming of "the bite" for months. The agonizing wait through the long winter has intensified that hunger for Spring and "the tug". On the other hand the Fall cooling brings the realization that open water fishing will soon be over. A quiet melancholy may set in which some stillwater anglers may wish to avoid. I don't really know.
Whatever is going on one thing is for sure ... the Fall feeding crescendo happens for a different reason. There are no major insect hatches in the Fall. But the fish need to put on weight at a great rate to see them through a long winter. And fortunately over the early days of September the water temperature has been gradually falling back to a point that is much more comfortable for them. As the trend continues we hit the point where the fish actively seek out the warmer water of the shoals during the heat of midday, just as they did in the Spring. But this time it's "every fish for himself" opportunism that reigns. They turn to the stuff that's always there for them - shrimp, bloodworms, baitfish and leeches ... lots of leeches ... and the bugs that moved towards the shoreline from deeper water in the Spring now start to migrate back. The fish know this.
Although that psychology of the impending end of the season does hold some sway this is still a favourite time of year for me. It's quiet for one thing ... except for the crashing back to surface, for instance, of a leaping Pennask rainbow on the end of your line!