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.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Millers And It's Browns,The Swift And New Stuff




"There's a story that the cylindrical deer-hair Bomber fly was invented on the Miramichi River in New Brunswick when a wealthy sport tossed a cigar butt into the river and a salmon ate it.  You assume it was an imported La Gloria Cubana instead of a rum-spaked crook bought at a gas station" - John Gierach


The Millers is loaded with browns. The comment section mentions it and my last two solo trips took these fish. There are no drag burners here, just a good head of 10 to 14 inch fish that hit on the surface and down deep. A recent stocking?? No way. These guys made it through the Summer and are found at Orcutt, the Upper Trestle, Kempfield and in Erving Center and some have caught them in between. My fish were taken at mid day which was cool but not unexpected because the air temperatures have been in the low 70's, it was cloudy and the sun is at the same strength as it is in late March. Comparaduns in tan around size 16 and any soft hackle will do.

Don't wait until the stocking stocks to arrive and then crowd into the usual places. Fish now especially on a cloudy day.

The Swift flow went hog wild on Monday and the expected rain didn't arrive. If you like high water this will be your place for a week or more!!

New Stuff - 8 years ago I was selling my flies on this site and got totally buried in business.  My full time, 50+ hour job took all the time so I had to let it go.  I'm going to be back with this (flies you can't find anywhere else) and some new, unique products.  More to come!!!!!

Ken









Tuesday, September 19, 2017

10 Years After, Your Comments, The Rivers, The Farmington

Ken,
Thank you once again for continuing to educate everyone who enjoys reading all the information you have provided over the years from your Millers River guide to your routine blog updates. I find myself frequently going back to both as I did earlier this week prior to getting ready to hit the upper trestle pool. I hadn't fished it in over a year and couldn't remember exactly how to access the middle without taking a swim in the process. I managed to find that special perch, mid pool and had a blast watching 4 browns annihilate a Chernobyl ant - so fun! Also had lots of success swinging soft hackles in sections downstream from there, but the main point is that you are THE MAN! Keep on writing and teaching us because you can't imagine how many secret admirers you have! ......and now that you're free mid week, I am hoping to find a day to play hooky with you on the EB before it gets too late.

Thank you,
Paul

Wow, I can't believe it but this blog is 10 YEARS OLD this month.  What started as a fragile experiment is now THE trusted source of fly fishing information for Central New England. Many people have been introduced to this sport through this blog.  Thousands have gotten to know the Millers River, Swift River, Ware and the EB through this blog and through the Millers River Guide. Tens of thousands have gotten exposure to this blog from Boston area TV and through national flyfishing publications.  In short, This blog is known for it's original reports and observations  (no mail-it-in videos here) and for a comment section that is beyond reproach!!!!!



When I started this blog in 2006 the blogosphere (and the internet) was a different place. Besides a few "forums" and message boards nobody covered central New England flyfishing. You couldn't "hitch a ride" on another popular website - THERE WERE NONE!!! Facebook and YouTube were barely two years old and Instagram wasn't even embryonic. You had no help so you had to do it yourself. No links to "awesome videos". You needed REAL original content. In short, you had to FLYFISH the rivers you highlighted and then write about your experiences. And the purpose had one goal - to promote central Massachusetts flyfishing on a select group of rivers.

Many support my reporting on certain sections of rivers but there are those that don't. I've always felt that reporting on a good day on a stream and not mentioning that I was at the Upper Trestle, Cady Lane or the Bliss pool was like writing a restaurant review about a great dinner but not naming the restaurant. Are you afraid that if you do you won't get a table the next time around?? By naming the spots where I fish I PROMOTE THE RIVER and not just myself so someone else can share the same great experience. As I've said for years - I've fished and written about a spot all season long but I'm still alone when I fish it.  But you're a guide giving away spots on a river!!  Correction, I'm a busy guide who gives away spots on a river.

I don't use this blog to promote big-box-internet flyfishing entities and I don't accept discounts from them. I promote owner run, stand alone, fly shops, bamboo rod makers, inventors and environmentalists!!!  Someday I'll write about about the fly fishing industry and the marketing slight of hand that's used.

Blogs come and go. Guides come and go. Another 10 years??? Why not!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Your Comments - You readers are burying  this blog in comments and that's a good thing. No other blog that I know of has as high a percentage of READER comments as this blog. As I've said before your comments make this a blog within a blog.  Good work!


The Rivers -

You knew it was going to happen. The rivers kept getting lower during this "dry spell" (I don't want to use the word "drought") which means that the Quabbin faucet would be turned on and the Swift would go UP. And it did and I got to witness this 80 cfs increase first hand. The Swift is now holding at 129 cfs which some anglers like. Me? Not so much. I get a bit worried at this time of year because the brookies need shallower conditions for spawning. Last year we had high water almost into October and no fish were on the traditional spawning sites until the flow was reduced. This may all end on a good note if we get rain as forecast this week. Let's hope so and maybe the drought release from Quabbin should be readdressed given the spawning brook trout!

The Millers - They are playing with the flow at the dam in Orange Center. As I write the flow is an ok 155 cfs but it has been as low as 60. Even with this condition I've gotten good reports on the Millers especially the Upper Trestle Pool which has skunked me this year. The river has a lot of browns in the 10 to 12 inch range and they are working the surfacr.


The EB - A week and a half ago this river was at +200 cfs. It fished great at 80 cfs but the trout got spooky at 58 cfs. As I write it's at 45 and under 24 hour watch!!!! After last week I've got the EB on the brain because the fishing was so good.

The Farmington - Very possibly New Englands' best river but many people haven't fished it because they don't know where to start. If that's the case then backcast to my December 10 2016 post " The Farmington - How to get started". You will be pointed in the right direction!!

Pray For Rain!

Ken














Friday, September 15, 2017

Big Bugs Of Autumn And This Weekend



"The last thing you change is your fly" The great Lee Wulff



One cannot go to a river like the EB or the Millers during late August to early October and not see them. Large, long, dark forms clinging to stream side stones will greet the angler during his early morning fishing. This is the exoskeleton of the of the Isonychia nymph, one of the largest mayflies around and an insect that emergers all Summer long but especially in the late Summer and Fall.

This mayfly takes it's cue from the stonefly when it comes to hatching and that is the habit of crawling or swimming to shore and then climbing a rock to hatch leaving the shell behind. This act is usually done under the cover of darkness (they would be easy pickings for shore birds if they hatched during bankers hours) although I've seen them at dusk on cloudy days. Needless to say, the nymph is what's important to us instead of the dun.


These are the fastest swimmers in the mayfly family and seem to like to dart around especially at hatch time. Thomas Ames, Jr., in his book Hatch Guide for New England has a number of nymph presentations but I have found that a possum nymph colored black with a sharpie captures form and color. All you have to do is present it correctly. This swimmer doesn't get lost in the drift but swims and darts around. Make it dart around! This nymph is bigger than the Hendrickson. This bug is also a good indicator or clean, well-oxygenated water. Keep a supply ready this Fall.

This weekend - Let's hope for a little rain to freshen up our freestones. The EB has been great this week and I've heard good reports about the Millers and not from the usual places like Orcutt. Seems like the "regulars" are spreading out and that's a very good thing!!

Ken









Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Play Hookey With Me And Fish The EB


What's the next step?  Instead of shelling out big bucks for a "high end 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.  - Me on the importance of casting.




What a morning!!! Nothing on the possum nymphs because the flow, which was low, wouldn't support the drift. I spied the occasional surface rise and switched over to a size 16 partridge and orange and landed 8, all bows. More trout began to hit the surface so off came the SH and on went a tan size 16 parachute. End result - over 20 rose and 15 ended up in the net.

Make note of this: I'm not on the Swift or on the Farmington BUT ON THE EB fishing for god only knows how many trout in a river that hasn't been stocked since MAY.

Lots of fish and switching techniques to catch them is what's it's all about.

Do you want some of this??? Book a full or half day with me ANY day of the week. I saw only one other fly fisher in the 4 hours I was there = weekdays are great!!!!!

Book Me!!

Ken












Saturday, September 9, 2017

Two Mornings, Two Rivers And Off The Beaten Path

The greatest enemy of "good" is "better" - Voltaire



Thursday morning found me hopscotching around the Millers and checking out some of my old haunts. I was also checking out how the trout weathered through the Summer and that answer is FINE!!

First stop was the Bridge Street Pool which looked enticing as usual but my hour there produced nice scenery and that was it. Next was the Erving Center Run that produced the star of the trip - a 6 inch brown with fins and a tail that showed no signs of hatchery markings. The pectoral fins really stand out on a fish like this. They are long and wide and look like a set of oars. A rainbow around 14 inches made its appearance before I moved upstream. Both fish fell for my possum nymph. The Center is a great place and is totally overlooked by fly fishers, fly fishing groups and the fly fishing media. It does have its "regulars" and I've been one for over 30 years. Orcutt will always draw the crowds which will keep the numbers down at the Center.


The last stop was to say hi to the Kempfield and that decision worked out fine as there were two browns working the surface and I got them both. They weren't bruisers but required careful casting under conditions that got windy.

The EB - I had to somehow make up for that T'Storm shortened trip of earlier in the week by putting in a good four hours working this river. The storms changed everything by bringing the water up considerably, knocking down the "rise" but not turning off the trout. The possum nymph, which actually looks like an insect instead of a day glow extraterrestrial ruled the day with 7 hits, 6 hooked and 5 landed.


The browns didn't make an appearance as the stage was occupied by rainbows and one gorgeous male brook trout, in full autumn colors, of about 13 inches long. It was a beautiful trout!!

Now some notes - This post and the previous post dealt with three trips totaling about 8 hours where 15 trout were landed. "What's so big about that?" you may ask. But wait a minute!! This is mid September and I was fishing over trout that were stocked over 4 months ago. And these trips were on the backwaters of freestones like the Millers and the EB and not on the popular tailwaters of our area. In short, why wait for the stocking trucks to roll in late September or roll the dice on some future date that could be rained out anyway. FISH NOW if you possibly can. YOU DON'T HAVE TO WAIT FOR THE EVENING to fish. We are in EARLY FALL (sun angle in the sky is the same as late March/early April) and the temperatures reflect that. The freestone trout did very well this Summer and they are active.

Check out my COMMENTS section for the last few posts. Some readers are gracious enough to tell you where they have done well and that is a very good thing!!!!!

My possum nymph was a size 12, tied on a wet fly hook, and it fooled those holdover trainees!

Ken




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Thursday, September 7, 2017

A Storm Shortened EB Trip And This Weekend

"Controlling micro drag is far more important than reducing the diameter of your tippet, which can never be completely invisible. Fine as they are (tippet), their presence is magnified by surface tension in the same manner that the feet of insects create tiny lenses. Wetting agents, including saliva, make short work of this problem, but keep the last few inches of tippet dry, lest they counteract the buoyancy of your fly" Thomas Ames, Jr. - Hatch Guide For New England Streams



"Damn the forecast, I'll just chance it!" That was the start of my 1 hour trip to the EB. The weather wizards said a "good chance of thunderstorms for western Massachusetts" which I like to think of as a good chance of "nothing" happening. So the trip was on.

I was looking for ants because the weather was perfect for them: warm, humid and early September. I saw only one of those winged critters all day so it certainly wasn't what was driving the trout to the surface! Trout were at the head of the pools slashing away at something on the surface. From where they held in the stream I figured some sort of mayfly which certainly hadn't gone beyond the emerging insect stage. Time to experiment!


First, I used a partridge and orange SH thinking that it would be perfect during this early stage of the hatch. Nothing doing!! I then tied on a BWO parachute emerger and struck a good brown on the second or third cast and then took a bow right after that. It began to look like an epic session until I heard that distant drum roll of a turbulent atmosphere. I kept casting and catching trout while hoping that the storm would disappear. No such luck. I retreated to the safety of the car. In all, I fished from 3pm to 4pm and took 2 browns and 4 bows.

The Swift dropped like a rock yesterday and is now back to a civilized 50 cfs. It will be interesting to see if the high water of the past week moved any of the fish around like the last high water event.

The Millers and the EB - keep an eye on the flows! The EB is in the 300's and the Millers is in the 200's. These are good conditions but the forecasted T'Storms can blow them out quickly especially the EB. BTW, the Millers is fishing well.

My guiding calendar is starting to fill up. Don't get left out!!!!

Ken




Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Myths Of Autumn And Streamer Tips




We caught trout on stoneflies in fits and starts all morning, periodically switching out one fly pattern for another as the ones we'd been using went cold. Nobody knows why that happens. - John Gierach on Fall like conditions




In my not-so-humble-opinion the BEST fly fishing of the season is starting right now and will continue until we are tired of eating turkey and then with some weather luck, it will continue a bit further. Autumn fishing is great but some people get frustrated because of the lower (usually) flow conditions, fish that have wised up and the stubborn adherence to some disproven theories which will kill your success.

1. It's Autumn and trout will put on the feed bag because Winter is coming

Trout don't read calendars and don't anticipate ANYTHING! Their feeding is dictated by water temperature which controls their metabolism, period. Tom Rosenbaurer, from Orvis, once wrote that trout consume more calories in May and June then they do at any other time of the year. Sure, there's a lot of food available but water temperatures in the mid 50's will get them eating more than temperatures in the mid 40's or the mid 60's. Remember, water temperatures at mid day in mid September may be a bit high, mid day in mid October is usually perfect and mid day in mid November the temperatures are on the downturn. It's still fishable but things are slowing down.

2. All of the natural foods are smaller in the Fall

Not true!!! If your life revolves around mayflies then you will not have the bigger flies of Spring to deal with but you will have isonychia (size 14), Stoneflies (up to 3 year nymph life which means big nymphs in the Fall), Hellgramites (big nymphs that live in that stage for up to 5 years), October Caddis (a BIG October fly), ants, beetles, hoppers, crayfish (the EB is full of them) and young of the year fry that in some streams make up the largest protein source. Also remember that many rivers will get another dose of hatchery rookies that will take any day glow offering that you have.

Actually, I like casting a size 24 BWO on a cloudy October day as much as I like working over Hendricksons!!
                                                                            Isonychia Nymph

Yes, I do fish streamers but not often. But when I do it's been with the Thunder Creek series/style which works fine for me. In fact, my biggest trout this year was taken on the Ware with a Thunder Creek Marabou streamer on a rising river during a driving rain.

I also tie this style on short shank scud hooks and fish it quartering upstream like a nymph. When it gets below me I'm mending like I'm fishing a soft hackle. Fish it slowly like it's a wounded bait fish.

I don't add beads or barbell weights to this fly for fresh water use and you don't have to either or you may make the same mistake as one on-line fly tier did. He tied a small bait fish streamer with a light underbelly, a darker mid section and a dark back just as you should. Then he lashed in a barbell weight, AKA Clouser style, on the TOP of the Fly which means that when the fly hits water the barbell will sink first which means the poor fly will ride belly up (upside down) in the current.

Live and learn!

This weeks showers are only going to help our rivers. Backcast to my previous post and read the comment about the EB and the MB by Gary.

Ken