True, thoughts on one side are on hunter orange and big bucks, and on the other side skiers looking skyward for the first signs of flakes. Somewhere in the middle, though, is fishing and right now it's at its best.

The unseasonably warm temperatures have pushed September back into November. Cool conditions have kept fish close to fishermen.Past the good fishing, too, are the beautiful colors. It's just a nice time to be in the mountains.

Fall does, in fact, offer some of the best fishing of the year. Fish like water that's not too hot and not too cold. In the summer they go deep to find it, and in the winter they do the same. In the spring and and fall fish will move into the shallows to enjoy the cool water and abundant food source.

Fish, now, are near the surface in about 15 feet of water.

What this means is that boat fishermen can troll near the surface with monofilament line instead of the heavier lead-core, and that shore fishermen now have as much of a chance as boat fishermen of hooking a trout because they are now within casting distance with baits or a fly and bubble.

Bait fishermen, working the shallows, have been doing well lately with a bubble and suspending a night crawler six to seven feet below.

Those going out will find the brook, rainbow and brown in the early stages of the spawn. Cutthroat are spring spawners. In the interest of a better fishery, fishermen may think more about going catch and release. Spawners are not at their culinary best, especially the females with eggs. Now would be a good time to practice catching techniques on the spawners for next spring and summer.

As far as where to go, the selection is wide. The higher-elevation lakes, in the Uintas and Bounders, haven't yet frozen and are offering excellent fishing. One nice thing about fishing the higher lakes at this time is the fish are late risers. Instead of moving about in the early hours, they wait until the sun as warmed up the water. Mid-day fishing is good at this time of year. Some of the bigger fish are being caught more towards evening hours.

Strawberry has been good for boaters trolling and still-fishing in the shallows with baits. They are starting to pick up a few spawning brooks along gravely shorelines around the Soldier Creek boat ramp. Some of the best fishing is around old Strawberry and Indian Creek Bay, where the waters are more shallow. Shore fishermen seem to be having the most trouble with the chubs.

Scofield has been good recently, but the fish there have been small. Here, too, fishermen are working the shallows with baits or shallow trolling with needle fish and triple teasers with small pop gear.

One of the best places in recent weeks has been Red Creek Reservoir east of Strawberry. The water is very low and fish are concentrated and accessible. Last week fishermen reported a fish on every cast.

Next door, the report is that fishermen are picking up some larger fish at Currant Creek. Deer hunters might consider taking along a rod and reel for a little mid-afternoon relaxation.

At Otter Creek fishing has been good for bait fishermen. Here, too, the fish are coming out of water 12 to 15 feet deep. Shore fishermen are doing well casting out and boaters casting in to shallower water. Fishermen using brown flies have been doing well. The fish have been averaging about two pounds.

Piute has been slow. It was good up until about two weeks ago, then it shut down. When the water cools more fishing will improve.

Fish Lake and Johnson Reservoir, another good choice for deer hunters, have been very good. Johnson has been excellent for fish averaging 11/2 pounds. Unfortunately, the chubs, thought to have been removed with treatment a few years ago, are back and as healthy as the trout.

The Green River continues to be one of the hottest fishing spots in the western U.S. Attracter patterns and small dry flies in 18s and 20s have been good.

Up river, at Flaming Gorge, fishing has gone into a holding pattern. The lake trout are not, as yet, spawning but should be soon. In some spots, rainbow fishing has been good, such as in Sheep Creek Bay and Henry's Fork Bay. Fishermen are catching a lot of 1 and 2 pound fish trolling in shallow water.

On the slow side are East Canyon, Rockport and Deer Creek.