In New Jersey, the state will stock the major rivers and streams this week with trout, which will supplement the holdovers from prior stocking dates. Despite the rough summer - low flows, warm water - quite a few trout likely survived, and of course, many of our streams have wild fish. So you don't have to wait for the state to stock fish to catch trout.
Believe it or not, the fall can bring some fairly good dry fly fishing. There are still some caddis hatching, and the little blue-winged olives will hatch for the next month or so on many rivers. The Giant Autumn Sedges hatch sporadically, mostly after dark, but the they do show on the water enough that trout will take an imitation fished in likely holding areas. It's a big caddisfly, size #10-12, that is burnt orange colored in both wings and body.
The little, or tiny, blue-winged olives that hatch are quite small, size #20-16 and even smaller. They have slate gray wings, and dark olive brown to gray brown bodies. The wings are taller than the body is long, so it's sometimes easier to look for the wing silhouette on the water than the fly itself. Trout will take them will a subtle sip, leaving only a series of fine concentric, expanding rings after taking the fly. Look for trout to feed on them in the soft water just off an eddie or foam line. Your positon in relation to the light on the surface can make all the difference between seeing the raindrop-hitting-the-water like rises, and not seeing them. So as you approach a run or pool, walk slowly and change your angle as you scan the water surface - bend down or squat low so you are looking out across the surface, which can reveal the tiny bug's wings against the silvery water background.
As I've said many times here, stay the heck out of the water (and low), and only wade when you have to to reach the fish or enable a backcast. Do everything you can to not alarm the fish or move water.
Also, keep in mind that we have yet to have a good frost. So terrestrials are still very present and the trout will be well aquainted with them by now. When nothing is rising or hatching, I like to fish an ant or beetle to likely trout holding spots, working my way up along one bank, fishing to the center and far bank as I go. A small grasshopper will work, too. My wife and I went for a walk along a popular fishery yesterday and we stirred up many hoppers as we walked along the path.
I've probably posted these before, but for those of you that want to see some of the flies I tie and use this time of the year, here's a few:
A well-chewed blue-winged olive. Thorax style with a CDC wing.
My Giant Autumn Sedge pattern, tied with an orange dyed elk hair wing.
And finally, although not mentioned above, I love to fish a traditional leadwinged coachman in the fall. I fish it on the swing, dead-drift, and using the lift method a various times during the drift or the swing. This fly works great for some reason in the fall.
Go get them before the leaves start filling the water and making fishing that much harder - not that you have to stop fishing, it's just that you'll spend more time removing plant matter from your fly than fishing in a couple of weeks. Not that it matters, at least you'll be fishing!
Shapren those hooks.