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.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

A Better Bugger, Charlies Millers Map,A Stream Update And The Farmington

"Fly fishers find it next to impossible to be at the water with a fly rod without taking just a few casts to see what happens"Jon Margolis and Jeff MacNelly


My friend Joe took one look and said "your woolly buggers look like insects". This may have been the best compliment I have received for a fly that I don't like to tie. My friend and fish hawk Brad says that he buys his buggers because he's sick of tying them. Love them or hate them buggers catch fish but I've found a style that seems to work better than that bulky, overdressed thing that has taken over the scene and it gives you a feeling of imitating a natural.

First, buggers are getting too large. Try cutting them down. Instead of size 6 or 8 try a size 10 or 12 on a nymph hook.

Second, eliminate the chenille body and go with a dubbed body or a peacock herl body. Keeping it slim is the key. Use thin wire ribbing when using peacock.

Put a bit of flash in the tail.

This fly works well with some weight or without weight in low water conditions (yes, the photos have beadheads: do what you have to do). I think that the large bulky buggers are more or a bait fish imitation. My small buggers cover the ground for large nymphs, hellgrammites, stoneflies and maybe baitfish.

They catch trout, period!

Charlie at the Evening Sun Fly Shop has come up with a good map of the Millers River. I worked with him for a year on this and it will work for you. It dove tailes well with my Millers Guide. Get it at Charlies. It's worth it!!!

The EB has been doing well, the Millers has been very good, the Ware has been getting it done in good form and the Swift depends who you've been taking to. Bad news changes into good news right after a stocking (duh). We know one thing: the Swift will be fishing better in May and even better in June and GREAT from July onward. Right now it's fun down on Cady Lane chasing brookies and the bows that are down there.

A Statistic On The Farmington - I've always said that the Farmington is the best fly fishing river in New England. Being a BIG tailwater certainly helps but this statistic warrants consideration. From the Guide to fishing the Farmington Riverin the 2008 edition it says the "Department of Environmental Protection stocks approximately 46,000 trout into 28 miles of river annually." WOW, that's a lot of trout!! Massachusetts stocks approximately 10,000 trout into the Millers which is close to the length of the Farmie. Ok, the Millers isn't a tailwater BUT you have to admit that the Farmington is loaded with fish. I have good catches when I'm there and I hear of very good days. Maybe (maybe,maybe ,maybe) there are toooooo many fish there.

Food for thought.

Ken

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The EB is BACKKKKKK And A Word On Rods

"Rivers and the inhabitants of the watery elements are made for wise men to contemplate and for fools to pass by without consideration" - Isaac Walton


Who would of thought - the EB has never really been a destination until the 3rd week of May when it gets it's TU weekend stocking. Not this year!! This guy I guided just HAD to spend three hours on this river this morning. The result - there are trout all over the place, big slab chunk bows that like to go airborne. Where - as I said, "all over the place". From Chronicle Corner (note: the executive producer of Chronicle Magazine, the TV show that has featured this river a number of times, named this spot just below the Bliss Pool. I'll use the name) downstream through Slant Rock (first turnoff after the quarry) and down to the bend before the gate all produced fish. For some reason the Bliss Pool didn't work. How many? - double digits in three hours with most trout in the 14 to 18 inch range. What did we use? - that's enough information! Just fish this place!!!

RODS - It's the year 2040 and we are at the Y Pool. The angler is deftly casting his 15 foot 1/2oz nymphing rod (it's 2040, ok) and he then sees a trout break the surface 35 or so feet away. "How far" he asks? That's when his rod caddy pulls out the range finder and states "37.5 feet". The angler then says "8 foot 3 weight Sage?". The caddy says " with the 5 mph wind lets do the Orvis 9 ft 4 weight". They use the Orvis and he immediately lines the fish.

Guys - We are going crazy with rod purchases and rod selection!! My friend Joe actually saw a guy on the Swift with a rod in his hand and ANOTHER tucked into his wading belt. A dry fly rod in case of surface action??? Probably. We are drinking the rod manufactures Kool-aide which is not just having a good ALL PURPOSE rod but having a rod for all occasions. That means that they sell more rods which you don't need. What the hell is a nymphing rod anyway? You don't do a lot of casting with it just a lot of "flip, mend, flip again". It's the fly fishing answer to ice jigging for perch and I can do that successfully with a 7 1/2 foot bamboo rod. Two years ago I received a genuine "nymphing rod" as a gift, all 10 ft, 4 weight of it. It worked well but no different than my 9 foot rod or my 8 foot rod. I did use it to catch some rising trout on the EB but was told later by an "expert" that "it's not a dry fly rod". Well, it was that day!!

In short, this is fly fishing and not golf. One good, all purpose rod of medium action between 8 and 9 feet in a 4 weight is all you need for trout fishing be it size 8 conehead buggers or size 32 film fishing. You don't need a set of clubs, I mean a set of rods!

One good rod is all you need.

Ken

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Drought, Mystery Wing Material, A Slow Swift And The Millers Stocking

"$800 is a lot of money for a good graphite fly rod. Double that for a good bamboo fly rod and you have a bargain. Buy two"- Me


I will officially declare a drought condition for central New England. The map above may be familiar to some of you and it can be found by clicking on the flow link to any river on my website. When the page comes up just go to the upper right corner to "location" and choose "Massachusetts". The map will come up with color coding for the flow rates. For a week we are seeing a lot of RED which means a low flow historically. Massachusetts is becoming a red state (couldn't resist) but the cool weather has at least kept the water temperatures down and that is a good thing. We need rain! As I've always said the best trout summer is a damp,cloudy summer. Bad for the beach and tomato gardens but good for trout. Hopefully this will all end shortly. We don't need another 2010!!! BTW, the DFW will continue to stock through this dry spell which will create a temporary condition where most of the trout will be found in certain stocking areas. This ends as soon as we get rain. Any notion that this condition exists as a season long rule is nonsense.


So, I'm rummaging through the local department store (aka Walmart) when something catches my eye. Could this be the long lost wing material that was rumored to exist, the great Ivory Billed Woodpecker of fly tying material?? For $1.75 a spool I couldn't resist. It works!! The material is some kind of veiling that is veined and has some sparkle. The beauty here is that it is a very loose weave that will not create wind resistance which creates spinning which created twisted leaders. I will post a photo of the product within 24 hours so you know what to look for. One $1.75 spool = 1000 sets of wings or something like that.


The Swift - We pretty much had the rt 9 to Cady Lane stretch to ourselves last Friday. I counted three other fly fishers and one lure guy. We caught fish but the "swimming between my boots" density was not there. Late Tuesday was a first - no cars at the Y Pool lot and NOBODY down below!! Actually it was kind of nice! I'm sure the State will stock by early May and life as we know it will return. In the meantime fish the Millers because it is HOT!!!!!

I need to get to the EB!!

NEWS RELEASE!!! The Millers will get their brown trout stocking on Friday May 6 for both the Upper and lower CR sections. 8:30am at Holtshire/Orcutt and 1:30 pm at Pete & Henry's in South Royalston. This IMPORTANT stocking has been going on since the Spring of 2003 and it is important. They need some volunteers. I did it for years and it is fun. If TU is conducting the stocking and if it is a float stocking PLEASE make sure that the trout are evenly distributed throughout the river and not in favorite pools as in the past which has been admitted to me.

Ken

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Swift And The Millers

"Compulsive scorekeepers should be avoided: people who refuse to have a good day unless they've hit some preconceived mark, like "25 fish landed" or "at least one 20 incher" - John Gierach on people to avoid on fishing trips.


Last things first - we had a very good Friday and Saturday on the above mentioned rivers. Now, where was everyone?? The lower CR on the Swift was deserted on Friday. We saw no fly fishers from the Gauge to the tree pool.
What we did see were a good number of rainbows in the tree pool hanging around a million suckers. Just like in the Fall with the brookies the bows are trying to steal eggs. (Hint) Sucker eggs are small and beige in color.

We hooked and caught fish in the Gauge Run and then took a walk downstream to play with the brookies who were working the surface. Then the bows got into the act. It didn't take long to see what was interesting them: winter caddis and millions of them. I'd love to say we clobbered them on the surface but it wasn't the case. A few to the fly and that was it. It was fun!!


Saturday on the Millers - The river dropped below 500 cfs and that made it tolerable. The place is loaded with fish and not loaded with fishermen. We saw one fly fisher at the Bridge Street Pool and one at Orcutt. Fish heavy stuff at Bridge St. on a short line and you will get it done. At Orcutt we worked the mouth of the brook with Hornbergs and split shot and then just unweighted. The trout were very willing to mix it up. That place is LOADED with trout and Orcutt fishes well in higher water anyway.

The weather is fine and there are trout everywhere. You have no excuses!!!!!

Ken



Wednesday, April 20, 2016

News On The Millers, A Weekend Preview, a Crazy Product Review And Reader Comments

"If fly fishing was only about indicator nymphing, I'd take up bowling" Tom Chandler of the late and lamented Trout Underground


In 2003 we brought back the brown trout stocking to the Millers River after a two year hiatus. They (DFW) said to me, " the browns are going to be stocked ONLY in the CR sections, period!" Now that has been the case since then up to last year. But a strange thing is being reported. There are reports of browns stocked ABOVE the Bears Den CR all the way into Winchendon and below the lower CR down into Erving. If this is a fact then the very restrictive policy of browns only in the two CR sections has been thrown to the wayside and that's a great thing. The Millers is a BROWN TROUT RIVER. There has been some natural drift of stocked fish (and some wild fish) above and below the CR's but not enough. If this is a change in policy and not a typo then it's browns everywhere and summer long trout fishing everywhere. It's what we always wanted anyway.

New England rivers are trending to the low side right now but not the Millers which is still riding high but dropping. We had a drop last week but that's only because the dam controllers held back the flow and then let it go. Up went the flow and it's still coming down. It should be fine (sub 500 cfs) by Saturday.

Explore the Ware! Go above the Church Street bridge into Gilbertville and check out some of this rough and tumble pocket water.

The EB and the MB are flowing nicely now. I haven't been to the EB yet (early May starts it) but the flows are good and fish will be there. I'll be there next week.

You know about the Swift. More on that next week.

Also as I stated in an earlier post my readers have stepped up with some great river reports covering the State. YOU CAN"T FIND THAT ANYWHERE ELSE!!!!

Now for my first product endorsement. Don't worry, I'm not going to bore you with the latest rod, reel, line,tackle bag and fly fishing technique that you can't be successful without.

First, I buy waders from the company that has a lifetime guarantee but I have waders from other companies hanging in the cellar that I retired because of nagging little leaks that could not be fixed. Patches, glues, UV repair, I tried them all. Sometimes they would work if I found the leak (no small feat) but usually there wasn't enough of the stuff to really make a difference. I kept the waders hoping I'd find the difference. I DID!

There is a commercial on TV showing this guy with a rowboat that has a screen door for a bottom. He sprays the screen with this stuff and then launches the boat with him in it. Ok, I'll take the bait.

The stuff is called FLEX SEAL and you can buy it over the counter at CVS of all places. I bought it, sprayed the neoprene bootie of one pair of waders and THE LEAK DISAPPEARED!!! Then came the leaky stocking foot and seam of a favorite pair of wading pants. PROBLEM SOLVED!! Another pair of waders got the treatment. PERFECT!!

Second, I have witnessed no problems with this product eating away the wader material. The stuff dries hard but flexible. I put two coats of the stuff on but probably could of got along with one coat.

I now have three perfectly serviceable waders more than I had. It's a win! Note: I had to pay list price for the stuff and am not awaiting shipment of a pallet of Flex Seal at no charge.

Keep the river reports coming!!!

Ken

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Welcome To The Ware! More New Water

"It's not now many you catch. It's how you catch them!" Anonymous

Ok, I had two hours to fish today at mid day before other things had to be done so that time was going to be spent on the Ware River. First off, I took a wrong turn that wasted 15 minutes but recouped in time for the best surface action of this young season. Imagine beautiful, choppy, runs flowing over a bed of cobblestones with a flow that was between knee and thigh deep and at a rate of around 150 cfs. Imagine caddis flies EVERYWHERE and the start of a Quill Gordon hatch which had browns and bows making those splashy "get-it-before-it-flies-away" rises. This river had everything working today including a row of rising trout along the far bank. This was not going to be a high stick'n Bulgarian Commando nymph dredging party! It was going to be the real thing - work that soft hackle in the first few inches below the surface to mimic THE REAL THING, the emerging insect which is what the trout wanted.

I had only 90 minutes today (I have to schedule things better) but I took 4 browns and 2 bows all just at the surface. I stayed away from the full fledged dry because there were no mayflies on the surface (Quill Gordons don't ride the surface) and the SH did just fine. I really had to rip myself off this river today.

Before I forget - I saw no other fly fishers on this section of the Ware. Just one guy with a spinning rod and a lure who said I should of been there yesterday!!!!! Today was fine!

You should take a break from the Swift and the Farmie and work this river over the next few months. Monster insect hatches, long, beautiful drifts and willing trout!

I'll be back again!

Ken

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The MB, The EB, The Millers And Your Comments!

"The crack high-country trout fisher is a good hiker, a fair-to-middling caster, a poor aquatic entomologist and a hands down master of the educated guess and the long, quiet bank sit. He also needs a working sense of humor even if at times he aims his jokes with the coldheartedness of a sniper" John Gierach


The Middle Branch of the Westfield - You should fish this river. I spent five hours there yesterday, caught trout and never saw another angler. I was in one of the most beautiful small watersheds in this State and I had it to myself on that wonderful Spring day. The funny thing is that the small country road that runs along this river has less traffic than the dirt road along the EB!!!

The River - At 11am the air temperature was about 57 degrees but the water temperature was only 44 degrees. This is a COLD stream and it stays cold even after Memorial Day because of the shading, leafy canopy. This is a classic riffles/pockets/pools setup and is excellent dry fly water.

The insects - Say hello to caddis flies!!! The place is crazy with them. I would expect the mayflies to make an appearance once the water temperatures get into the 50's.

The Trout - All rainbows on this trip and that seems to be the story with this river. I've yet to catch a brookie here. What I want to try next Fall is the area above Littleville Reservoir which is the home of a smelt population which feeds browns in the reservoir which may, just may run up the MB to spawn in November. We will see!!


Where is the place - Google maps will show you but as a reference it is about 16 miles from the EB parking area if you take the "northern approach" instead of the "southern approach". You'll figure it out. BTW, I guide there!!


The EB - Don't freak out when you look at the flow rate today. IT'S NOT THAT HIGH!!! That is the flow below the dam in Knightville released for the canoe races today. The CR has a nice flow right now and probably has enough rainbows coming from upstream to make it interesting.

The Millers - Today's flow is being held back at Birch Hill (just check the flow chart) which has dropped the river to fishable levels but WATCH OUT. They could suddenly release water which has occurred in the past. Keep an eye on it.

Your Comments - As all of you know I like to give up to date reports on various rivers in this State and have been doing it for years. My reports have not caused any mob scenes on the rivers that I report on and have actually moved some anglers to try new places especially on the Millers and the Lower Swift. AND NOW MY READERS ARE GETTING INTO THE ACT!! Please read the "comments" for each blog post. There's info on different NAMED rivers and fishing techniques are shared. I've always felt that it is a pointless exercise to brag about how many fish you caught and then refuse to even name the river you were fishing. Could anyone be so insecure? The answer is YES and I've known a number of them over the years. They would never reveal a river but the read this blog to find out what's happening.

Keep it coming guys!!

Ken