4th October 2021
For many people across the UK, the start of autumn is signalled by the harvest season, but the word autumn is Latin for ‘Autumnus’, which means ‘cooling off’ – a clear sign of the passing of the year, and for many fishermen and women to reduce the fishing business or hobby due to the colder months.
Wherever you go, nature shows off its autumn display that is always a sight to behold; what better signal could there be that things are changing than the leaves turning red, brown, yellow, and gold, and the crunch under your feet as you walk across them.
However, due to the shortening of daylight hours, which of course affects the photosynthesis of plants and trees, the cooler temperature of rivers and streams causes some problems for fish, effecting their ability to digest food due to their metabolic rate slows down. Many fish species feed very little during prolonged cold spells, so fishermen will rarely catch in the depths of winter.
“Autumn marks the start of an important season for wildlife”
Starting on the 22nd of September and until the clocks are put back, we experience what is called the autumn equinox. This means that the days and nights are equal length, but in October the nights become longer than the days.
Many of us hate the change, traveling to work in the dark, wrapping up in thick layers to keep warm. This is also the same for fish, which dislike extreme changes in temperature, they much prefer consistent and gradual changes in temperature. A vicious cold snap is unlikely going to be a good time for fishing.
During cold water conditions such as the countryside, fish will decide to congregate and search for warmer water, which can often be in deeper sections and on rivers deep in the city centre, which is why cities have often become hotspots for winter fishing.
The autumn weather can bring all sorts of different weather conditions that will affect your fishing. A passing cloud won’t realistically change the temperature by a significant amount, but rainfall, however, can drastically change the water temperature. For example, when it rains, fresh water will pour into the body of water, changing its temperature. This change can happen quickly, especially a small body of water like a pond or a stream. In addition, rainfall will change the clarity of water and can often shoot large quantities of nutrients into the water. When these changes occur at the same time, they can have a significant change the way resident fish behave.
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