Like most of you I remember where I was 10 years ago today. I remember being glued to the television all day and all night, horrified at the devastation. Later, I went to the place in Shanksville where the plane crashed and my first impression as I looked out onto that field was that it looked like every field I've ever set the Beagles out in to hunt for rabbits or pheasants.
I remember that the day I visited, there was a hush about the place, as though no one could bear to speak aloud of those awful events. I have never forgotten and neither will any of us, I'm sure.
This year as we observe 9/11, we are faced with some of nature's capriciousness, the floods and rain. Once the water levels drop and brush is cleared, anglers will get out to discover how the course of their favorite trout stream has been changed.
The rain, if nothing else, brought water levels up enough to offer good fall trout fishing. Trout will be looking for all sorts of natural baits to wash by them and garden worms are easier to dig up now than during those awful summer days.
Trout are hungry in the fall as they - like many other species- get ready for winter and they attack anything that looks like a good meal. And fall fishing is good for the soul since the fall-scented air and the colorful foliage adds that special touch to any fishing day.
Since natural baits such as worms, minnows, grasshoppers and beetles are at their largest and fattest in the fall, using them will often entice the largest trout to bite. When I trout fish in the fall, I offer all sizes of spinners and natural baits early on and then settle on the ones that are working that day. Since the streams will be fuller and faster-flowing than they generally are in the fall, you may not have to be as sneaky in your approach to the water to cast.
Spinning gear, bait-casting and fly fishermen should all have a ball in the next couple weeks. About mid-October, when deer hunters are watching the woods for the rut to begin, anglers know trout are about to spawn. Sometimes that will mean trout will not feed so aggressively as their instincts are on other things now, so action could slow down then.
I remember the first time I ever saw spawning trout in the shallow water of my favorite trout stream. Such a beautiful sight it was, two colorful trout hovering over that area. I cast out and finally one trout did take my worm. I left them alone finally and had a wonderful day after that but that scene is still imprinted on my mind. When the day arrives that I can't remember my own or my son's name I will probably be able to recall that vivid scene. I wish I could paint but I can't even aptly describe it. Such times must be experienced.
Anyway, digging for fat garden worms will be an easy chore now and will work wonderfully for fall trout. But even as in the spring, do not use gear too heavy for the task. I use 4-pound test on my spinning gear, one or two split-shot for weight cast into the head of a pool or current and let it flow along with the current, keeping the slack out of my line. When I cast out my small size spinners, I cast across the current to the opposite side of the stream and retrieve it across and slightly downward. It is so easy and so enjoyable. And you will have few other anglers out there with you.
I very much enjoy having a couple trout for the frying pan, crisp and golden brown to enjoy while I watch the Steelers game. My favorite way to cook trout is simple and quick and that's the way I like to cook. Simply cut the trout on the inside along the backbone until the fish lies flat. Then salt to taste and roll in cracker crumbs and fry in hot oil just a minute or so on each side. Fish cook quickly and when done right you can take hold of that backbone and just pull it out in one piece. Makes the eating easier although always be alert for any small bone that did not adhere to the backbone.