Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB
Fly Fishing The Millers - With over 30 years of fly fishing this river I will claim more knowledge and fish caught than anyone. There are over 40 miles of river and I will take you to the best sections and if you want to sections that never see another angler. Don't be fooled by those who say the Millers is a Spring and Fall river. I'll show you how to have great Summer action. The "EB of the Westfield" - Wild and beautiful is the only way to describe this river. There's a lot of water here but I know where to go to catch trout. After a trip you will too!! Solitude and trout IS the EB. The Swift - 20 trout days are not uncommon on this river if you know what to do and use. I'll show the way and you catch the trout. RATES - Full Day (6 hours) = $150.00 for one, $225 for two (lunch included). Half Day (three hours) $90.00 for one, $155.00 for two. Beginners Class - 3 hours ffor $90.00, all use of rods lines, reels included.

Friday, August 18, 2017

High & Dry With The Millers Bivisible, Your Comments And This Weekend

"Then I wrote it off as one of those days when I went fishing just to go fishing, not caring whether I caught anything or not - until I was on the water" - John Gierach

Years ago I highlighted this fly on my blog as a sure fire way to bring trout UP during the Summer months. It got a very good response as fly fishers told the tales of good catches throughout New England while casting into the riffles and even pools with this creation. It still works as I took trout tonight on the Millers. It has the reputation as a riffle/pocket fly BUT it does well in calm sections of the river that you will fish. It will imitate caddis/stoneflies and land based insects that tumble into the water but it seems to work best in heavier currents because of its construction.

Hook - size 12 to 16 standard dry fly hook
Body - Gray works good and bright yellow seems to work better
Hackle - Any darker hackle from the rear to lighter hackle up front
Wing - Very fine deer hair tied straight up

The Bivisible name comes from two different colored hackles palmered in with the lighter up front. I've used darker up front and a lighter color throughout the mid and rear of the fly with good results. I've even taken a sharpie to color sections of the hackles and that worked too. Sometimes I've use the same color hackle for the whole fly. Color aside, it's a high floater with good visibility that looks like a living insect, stream born or terrestrial.

Note - don't crowd the hackles as you wind them in. Keep them sparse. It will float better. Use the dry "shake" powder and not the liquids or gels and stay away from the powder that comes with a brush. I'll explain that later.

My last 10 posts generated 129 comment and 70% were from YOU READERS!!!!! My platform, and all others, will not differentiation between your comments and mine and they get lumped together in the same total but I keep my words at a minimum (will answer questions directed to me) which means the comment section is YOUR section to respond, agree or disagree with what I say and you do this in great numbers! In short, this comment section is a blog within a blog with lots of information and insight. There's information in this blog's comment section that is invaluable and it is being read!!! There's no other regional source of fly fishing information that can claim this. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.

This weekend - Fish the Swift whenever you can but fish the others at dusk.  That's when the action starts!!!!


Monday, August 14, 2017

Learning To Cast And The Lower Millers.

"The trouble is, trout don't always play by the rules, so for every anatomically correct fly pattern that works, there's a corresponding Christmas tree ornament that works too" - John Gierach

One thing I've noticed over the last twenty years is that many fly anglers have been introduced to this pastime through the back door of nymphing. Nothing wrong with that because you will catch some fish. But what happens when you're not nymphing but actually have to CAST a fly or more correctly have to cast a fly line.? Let's face it, nymphing is not fly casting but more like fly lobbing or "chuck'n & duck'n". (And don't get me going about casting weighted flies on 30 foot leaders! The next step would be to buy a noodle rod, right??) More often than not the average nymph fisher is not a good caster and cannot deliver a dry fly or a sunken fly with any distance or accuracy. It's not his fault because that's the way he was taught. He can cast (lob) a weighted nymph rig but he's baffled by casting a fly line. (A sure sign of this is the fellow that needs a dozen false casts to launch a fly). The mechanics of casting a fly line are totally different.

What's the next step?  Instead of shelling out big bucks for a "dry fly rod", which will not improve your casting, you should take a casting lesson with a casting instructor. Notice that I said casting instructor and not a fly fishing lesson. One on One time to review your technique and to "retool" you will serve you very well in the future and keep you from being a "one trick pony" on a trout stream.  One instructor that will put you on the road to salvation is George Roberts of eastern Massachusetts.   Check him out!!!

Monday night had some surprises in store on the lower Millers. The Erving Center section, a real bear to wade at 250 cfs and almost impossible to wade at 350 is now a comfortable 150. This allows you to cast into areas that were beyond reach just a month or so ago. We spent 1.5 hours on that section and I landed 4 smallmouth, 3 bluegills AND 2 BROWN TROUT on dries. The browns were rising fish of about 12 to 14 inches and a careful wade into mid current put me into position for a 30 foot drag free presentation. The flies? One was a chewed up hopper and the other was a hornberg. I'll be back to this place soon. BTW, the lower Catch & Release section of the Millers ENDS at the bridge spanning the Millers on Arch Street and NOT were the local TU Chapter map says it does behind the paper mill. Just check out the C&R section of the DFW site to prove this.


Friday, August 11, 2017

Off The Beaten Track, This Weekend And Lenny The Machine

"The best fisherman I know try not to make the same mistakes over and over again; instead they strive to make new and interesting mistakes and to remember what they learned from them" - John Gierach

Sometimes it's good to drive past those local hot spots and get reacquainted with those seldom fished places. Many times they are "seldom fished" because they are on the short end of stocking run or maybe they're just a little to far away and the GOOD spots are right around the corner. Bondsville is one of them. That rainbow above was taken on a possum nymph by a client this week. It was a beautiful fish and probably hadn't seen an artificial fly in months. The same for the monster brown that we tempted but couldn't budge in low, dim light. I'll be back for him AND the brookies that seemed to have taken the night off. We saw no other anglers even though the Swift was jammed in the usual places.

If you're getting tired of the same old places take a few hours and check out Bondsville. The Y Pool and the Pipe will still be there. Bring a wading staff!!!

A possum nymph is as simple as you can get. Loose dubbing with some light copper wire to keep it all together and to add a bit of flash. I hit the back of this nymph with a brown sharpie for contrast. No beads but weight added to the hook shank is a good idea. Spawning brookies and redd robbing bows loved this fly last Fall which, by the way, is right around the corner.

The rivers are low but not that low. The Swift is holding steady but expect a flow increase if we don't get rain soon. The Millers and the EB are holding their own with very early morning and dusk being the rule. In fact, I heard of a banner EB evening on Wednesday with about a half dozen rainbows caught and almost as many lost and they were all caught on dry flies!!!!! Remember, we've lost a lot of daylight since we are almost 50 days past the longest day of the year. That means that the evening action starts earlier and you will not have to be out past 9 pm (unless you want to).

My friend Lenny is a fish catching machine!!!! Here he is on the Swift releasing one rainbow after another. That's the problem with the Swift - the bows are all identical!!

Catch some trout!!


Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Lonesome Swift And Fall Trips

"I used to like fishing because I thought that it had some larger significance. Now I like fishing because it's the one thing I can think of that probably doesn't" - John Gierach

Who would of thought that one of the most fly fished sections of a Massachusetts tailwater would be EMPTY on a Friday morning in mid-summer. Actually, it was empty last Sunday morning also and the time before that it was a ghost town. People have given up on the Pipe and the Tree Pool because they are not tripping over the trout as in years past. Guess what? The trout are there.

Commentor Bob O was right. The high flow from Quabbin earlier in the week moved the trout around and suddenly we had more bows to play with and the size of the brookies increased. Then the flow went down and we had perfect dry fly conditions! And those conditions included a tiny mayfly of an unknown species (unknown to me) around a size 20. I didn't have the brown body but I did have some snowshoe emergers of the right size. (note: color is the least important element in imitating an insect.)

The one other fly fisher there left shortly after I arrived. I began to work the Pipe Run with that tiny fly and instantly began to hook up with brookies and bows. That action continued right down to the Tree where I turned around and went back to the Pipe where I conducted a test run of some beetle concoctions that worked fine (more on those in the next post).

I will add that the Y Pool parking area and the overflow spot across from River Rd were filling up at 7 am and PACKED at 11 when I left. There may have been someone down by the Pipe at 11 but I can't recall. The morning ended with a short trip to Cady Lane and then taking a rainbow at the Gauge Run on a beetle.
All told I rose about 20 fish and landed a dozen, most of the emerger. I usually don't fish the Pipe section because of the crowds but if you find an empty parking area then this that spot!!

BTW, I'm starting to book up this Fall already as folks are starting to take advantage of my new "expanded hours". Contact me to secure a day!!


Friday, August 4, 2017

The Storms, The Swift And A Weekend Preview

Below Cairn's is the favorite pool of Sparse Grey Hackle, one in fact that he named the Wagon Tracks. At it's head is the ford where Chester Cairns used to cross the river to his cornfield. It was in the Wagon Tracks that Sparse developed his keen appreciation for night fishing. From Catskill Rivers by Austin M. Francis

"It is a gorgeous gambling game in which one stakes the certainty of long hours of faceless fumbling, nerve-racking starts, frights, falls, and fishless hours against the off-chance of hooking into - not landing necessarily or even probably, but hooking into - a fish as long and heavy as a railroad tie and as unmanageable as a runaway submarine" - A few words on night fishing, Catskill Rivers  by Austin M. Francis
A funny thing happened to the Swift this week. It went from its placid 46 cfs flow to about 110 cfs. That means that the flow in the Connecticut River has gotten low enough so water must be released from Quabbin to supplement the flow of the big river. This condition will last until we get some needed rain. That almost occurred last night as the EB watershed got hammered with the flow going from the 40's to over 200 within hours. That will bode well for the weekend for that river.
Note: 5:30 A. M. 8/4 - The Swift dropped overnight down to 48 cfs!  We may get into a Yo-Yo pattern which has happened in the past. Ken

The other rivers? Not a drop even though Wednesday night had wide spread flood warnings. The same was true for Vermont and New Hampshire which means that the big river will stay low while the Swift will be high.

The Swift is certainly fishable and I know many who prefer 110 cfs instead of something in the sub 50 range. I like the change of pace and the fact that it will move some fish around. Besides, it's a temporary thing anyway!

The Millers - the big storm of last night that went north of Erving must have dumped rain somewhere because the Millers went up about 40 cfs overnight. We played with some bows/browns down on the Kempfield section but fishing was slow. One good storm will fix that!

Fish the freestones in the evenings, fish the Swift anytime!


Monday, July 31, 2017

An Announcement And A Sunday Morning below the Pipe

"Work: a dangerous disorder affecting high public functionaries who want to go fishing" Ambrose Bierce

First off - as some or many of you know I've been guiding fly fishers for about ten years through central and western Massachusetts. Some of you also know that my guiding has been a part-time endeavor, sandwiched between a day job that I like, and my guiding which I love.

That all ends September 1, when I officially RETIRE from my position of Director of Business Development  and become a FULL TIME GUIDE!!! Now, instead of limiting trips to Friday through Sunday and evenings I can and WILL guide every day of the week. And this is just in time for the Fall season where, over the years, I had to turn away business because I didn't have the time.  Now I do and if you want a 3 or 6 hour trip just contact me.  Book now for September, October and November because they always book quickly.

I think it's going to be a great Autumn on our rivers!!

Sunday morning broke clear and almost chilly (56 degrees) as I pulled into the Pipe Lot to meet my friend Gary, the Admiral of the Westfield, for an introduction to the Swift. First off, he hits three bows with his beetle imitation. I switch to a size 18 snowshoe hare emerger (such a good fly here) and take a 16 inch bow that plucked it off the surface and then two brookies. Gary is amazed at the amount of trout here. I said you should of been here last year or the year before that but then he would of seen many more anglers. There is nobody fishing there but the fish are there.

Snowshoe hare easy to work with if you know which end of the foot to use.  Prime fir is between the toes and on what I call the "heel" of the foot.  This stuff doesn't sink. The smooth fir on the top of the foot can't make that claim.

In two months the brookies will begin their march up through the Swift River and the bows and browns will be close behind. We still have two months of Summer fishing but.........


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

EB Browns And Dry Fly Strategies


George LaBranche cast his first dry fly a short distance from this porch.  Home of the Pink Lady cocktail and the Pink Lady Fly, the DeBruce club was a favorite of the Anglers Club for its outings throughout the 1930's and the 1940's. For Gene Connett, it was a place "where the angler is accorded the patient consideration of meals at almost any hour, served by hosts who can actually smile" - The dry fly culture and the country hotels of yesteryear that catered to that culture from Catskill Rivers by Austin Francis.

Lower Bliss Pool

I'm fortunate enough to be surrounded by decent trout streams and the EB is certainly one of them. I am exactly 15 minutes, give or take a nanosecond or two, from making an evening of it basically anytime that I want. Last night was one of those times.

In 2009 I fished this river from Memorial Day through Columbus Day with dry flies only and caught lots of fish. This year the high Spring flow and then a mini drought shelved a repeat of that idea but the rain of two days ago brought the flow up nicely. Take advantage of it!!

I started off at Slant Rock Pool (just past the old quarry) and this wonderful spot failed me again. Once the pride of the river this place is certainly off this year having only produced two trout for me. I didn't even see the rising fish which this place is famous for. I will not give up on the place because it is such a beautiful run and such a pleasure to fish.

Slant Rock Pool

On the other hand the Bliss Pool never lets me down when pursuing trout with the dry. You just have to wait it out. Even on a cloudy day this place doesn't come alive until at least 7pm and fishes well past dark.

My strategy for the Bliss Pool is the same for any spot in the evening. Get there in the late afternoon and work the riffles and the heads of pools with something big and bushy. Patterns don't matter too much, just get something that could mimic a land insect and something that will be easy to cast. I've moved to using more bivisible patterns because they can be tied large but seem to be less wind resistant resulting in less leader twist.   Big wings cause problems!  My hybrid bivisible took the first brown which was the biggest at around 16 inches.  But then I saw the first "dorsal and tail rise" which signaled the switch to a size 14 comparadun. The Comparadun, half adult, half emerger. It was tied with a pale creamy body just like the real ones that began to escape the water. Three more browns came to the net!!                                                          

As dusk began to descend I went ashore, found a rock to sit on and then began to take in the beautiful surroundings. People have said that I take more photos of the "surroundings" than the fish. There's a good reason for that. It's the rivers that I love otherwise I would be fishing ponds! If I publish nothing but the photos of the fish that I take then each post would be about the fish that "I" take and nothing would be about the beautiful rivers that I (we) fish. It's all about the rivers.

Another brown sipped another emerging mayfly. Next time!!