Soft Seams

Sean Visintainer - 10/07/19

Mike Visintainer streamer fishing on the St. Joe River near Calder, Idaho.

Soft currents, stealth, and subtle rises

With the arrival of fall comes changes in fish behavior and locations. Yesterday's visit to the St. Joe River in Idaho proved that upon entering the first run. A lazy morning and late start time meant that the fish were already in prime feeding mode when we arrived.

The fish however, were not in their classic St. Joe "summer" spots. No, they were in classic "fall water" soft seams as to be expected for October. Foamy current lines, inside bends, soft currents, slow currents, water adjacent to deep winter style depths. Currents where they did not have to expend much energy for a quick meal.

I did not temp the water yesterday, but a report from our guide Bill Johnson had said 38 degree water, warming to a balmy 42 in the afternoon. I'm guessing it was similar for us.

Mike was able to pull some fish out of moderate currents, probably due to the warmer weather that we were lucky to be having, but overall the fish were in the fall soft seams.

I confess, normally I'm a large foam bug kinda angler, but there is something very satisfying about head hunting soft seams for rising trout. 6x is not normally fixed to my tippet spool carrier, but yesterday's excursion had me quickly grabbing my lightest tippet out of my gear bag, more cdc emergers, and High & Dry fly dust.

Lengthening out my leader a couple more feet with some 6x (originally 5x), and adding a slightly more techy pattern like a cdc mahogany emerger was the ticket to more consistent hookups and eats. Not to mention, better drifts in the subtle micro currents where larger tippet diameters would normally catch and drag the fly quickly.

If head hunting is your game, fall is your time. Grab your fine tippets, emergers, fly dust, and test your skills.

Rising cutthroat trout on the St. Joe River in Idaho.

Calm currents on the St. Joe River, Idaho.

Rising cutthroat on the St. Joe and North Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River offer anglers great head hunting opportunities with dry flies during the fall.