Fly fishing in the fall brings other considerations to the river experience. This time of year draws other outdoor sportsmen to the river side. Small game bird hunters ply the cover along the rivers edge with their dogs to hunt the Ruffed grouse and American Woodcock. It can be an unnerving situation when a nearby shot gun blast breaks the streams silence. The fact is you are safe fly fishing in the river. Wing shooters, as they are called, do just that, shoot the bird on the wing. That puts the shot over your head if a close encounter should occur. Bird hunters in the know hunt the Ruffed Grouse with a twenty gauge shot gun. They use bird shot. This type of shot is small in size and will only carry a deadly punch up to approximately 30 yards. These pellets are listed as number 8 or 7 1/4 shot. That is half the size of the common BB gun. If a hunter should come within this 30 yard distance shout your presence, it is very audible. I must admit I have done both Grouse hunting and fly fish and I get nervous in the river fly fishing when a hunting dog passes near me. The fact is guns have one disturbing factor...who's holding it.
November 15 through November 30 is a whole different situation. Whitetail Deer in our area are hunted with high power rifles. A deer rifles range is measured in miles. In the last thirty years Grouse hunting, or small game season on public lands, began to be closed for the deer/rifle season for good cause. Grouse hunters compared to deer hunters hunt in different ways that put them in dangerous situations with each other. However, during this deer season, fly fishing is not closed. It is my opinion that the rifle/ deer season is a good time to stay home to tie flies.
No matter what your politics are, deer season is with us forever! Michigan is known for its world class trout fishing, Grouse and deer hunting. So I guess it is a matter of common sense. November 15 to November 30 is a good time to repair waders, tighten up screws on your reel or go deer hunting!
Sweet Is The Lore That Nature Brings