The skies are angry, Undergrounders – the wind’s howling at Trout Underground/Man Cave World Headquarters, and there’s even room in the forecast for a little snow Friday morning.

Another sign? Chris Raine reports October Caddis flying clinging to the Burger Barn (though I wonder if they weren’t simply after a Philly Cheese Steak).

The coarser side of fall, it seems, has truly arrived.

Fish smart, and falls painted rainbows can be yours

Fish smart, and fall's Upper Sacramento River rainbows can be yours.

Until now, the Upper Sacramento’s weather has been… nice. And we’re heading into the part of year some locals call the Fall Traffic Jam – when the river might just be its most crowded.

During the October Caddis hatch, several fly fishing clubs hold gatherings, small groups of fly fishers dot the landscape, and guides – complaining about the lack of work in August – are now complaining about too many guide dates.

Your favorite spots – especially those close to the road – might just be taken, and while you normally have time to chat up local legend Joe Kimsey at the Ted Fay Fly Shop, he might just too busy to gab.

Of course, the nice weather goes away too; mornings are brisk and the winds can blow – and all this is going on against a backdrop of low flows, which make the fish spooky.

The days are shorter, but the evenings can find you fishing to overlapping hatches of the #18 PED, small-hummingbird-sized October Caddis, midges, caddis – even BWOs.

How you handle those sometimes trying moments is your own affair; buying salmon eggs at the hardware store has been suggested more than once, but never by your intrepid reporter.

My advice? It’s a time of year when you can be fishing a wind-resistant October Caddis one minute, and a #22 BWO the next. To a medium-rod guy like me, that translates to a nice, soft, 6wt rod.

It features the line mass needed to boss a big caddis fly, but still fishes a BWO nicely (better tippet that leader out a little).

Of course, the reasonably tapered 6wt fly rod is fast becoming a relic; most are rocket launchers designed for streamer or even saltwater use. It’s one area where vintage glass and cane rods generally have it all over the modern marvels.

Fall Leadership Material

It’s a tough time of the year for leader geeks; big bugs don’t cast well on long, thin leaders, but big fish don’t eat BWOs fished on stiff, 7′ designs.

Fortunately, the Underground’s Director of Extra-Terrestrial Leader Design has graced us with his Big Bug leader formula – a 10.5′ leader that handles big caddis and tiny BWOs with equal skill.

It’s an older post that’s worth another look.

Once again, the Underground goes out of its way to unselfishly make your life a better one (can you say that about Nestle? No you can’t).

See you on the river, Tom Chandler.