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.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

New Fly Shop And Another Swift Outing


His name is Mike Didonna and he is the proprietor of the DEERFIELD FLY SHOP, a brand new "essential" location for those you ply the long rod in Central and Western Massachusetts. Ok, we all like to talk about shopping local but we end up going on line to get stuff or traveling many miles to get what we need and some advice as to what the local rivers are doing lately. That now has changed. The Deefield Fly Shop is well stocked and is no more than a double haul from the Swift, the Deerfield and Westfield River systems. What we need is in this well stocked shop and the advice is first hand and only hours old. Everything is here and more is coming including, from what I here, Tenkara rods and equipment. Western/Central Massachusetts has been in a vacuum as far a having a retail location, a "hub", for fly fishers. Now we have one and we should support it.

As some may be aware, I don't give recommendations often and don't festoon my blog with manufacturers hit buttons. I want to know the guy like Charlie at Evening Sun or Gerry in N.H. Add Mike to the list.

The GRAND OPENING is Saturday, March 7th and there will be tiers and talkers and bug experts all day. Check out his site at: deerfieldflyshop.com. The store address is 8A Elm Street, South Deerfield, MA 01373 and the phone is 413-397-3665.

The Swift - Friend Brad and I worked our way through the snow today to the Pipe. Almost two hours and almost froze our toes. Caught nothing and saw nothing but had fun anyway working my fiberglass rhythm while Brad christened a new Tenkara rod. I needed a break from the vise anyway.

Ken

Friday, February 27, 2015

A Short Trip To The Pipe On Friday


No cars at the Y Pool lot but the Pipe access road is plowed. Hint: there are no dirty tire tracks here. Just pure white snow. There are footprints going down to the Pipe. Hint: there is new snow covering the prints. The last real snow was last weekend. There was one set of tracks entering the river by the Tree Pool. Mine were the first entering the river by the Pipe. The flow rose to over a hundred the day before but I don't think that was the excuse for only one 10 inch rainbow in the hour that I was there. Or maybe it was. Maybe the flow will drop by Sunday or the trout will settle down after getting used to higher water. Or maybe it's still too early. We will see.

The wind was cold but the sun was warm and felt good on my face. It's better than January for sure. In a couple of weeks.....

Ken

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Late February - Things Are Getting Better (well...) Time to Schedule Trips And Lessons And New Waters


As I write the temperature is 38 degrees, as warm as it has been this month. We are two months past the shortest day of the year. You can feel the sun on your face and you know that even though we are into an arctic blast tomorrow it cannot last too much longer. In the last few years the Swift has offered up surface action in late February and it may still do so during this next week. We just need a few good days. If the snow holds off and we get some NORMAL seasonal temperatures we will be working the Swift and maybe, just maybe, some of the smaller streams in about four weeks.

In the meantime it's tying flies, inventing patterns that look great now but by May will have me thinking "what was I thinking"??

It's a good time to contact me for Spring and Summer trips on my favorite waters. I'm also working on a select group of rivers and streams where next to nobody goes especially other fly fishing guides. They are totally under fished! Once I feel confident about these waters I will offer them up for trips without broadcasting their names and locations. If I guide you once you will have the place forever!

Think Spring!!

Ken

P.S. - Decided to throw some Summertime EB photos out there in case you forgot what the place looks like when living is easy!!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Starling Soft Hackles Revisited



I got my first starling feathers a 100 years ago for the expressed reason of tying up some wet flies and and something called a soft hackle fly (S.H. were not too popular back then. The feathers, all loose, got lost or thrown out or turned to dust over the years. Somehow they reentered the picture for me over the last two months. They accomplish two things for me. First,they give me a supply of smaller S.H. feathers which grouse or partridge do not do. Second, they are of a darker color which I really like as opposed to the light gray color that you find on other birds.

No loose feathers this time - they only come in full skins. Now, if you have a BB gun you can harvest one yourself. They are non-native to North America and from the best of my knowledge there is no closed season and with a worldwide population in the hundreds of MILLIONS your one bird will not be missed.

We should be seeing some signs of Spring by now but not this year. Usually someone is bragging about a crocus being spied along some south facing flower bed. It will be a while for that. Instead we will slog on through this weekend storm and then brace ourselves for another storm by mid week.

Think Spring!

Ken

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Is The EB Really The "East Branch"??


Start in Westfield along Rt 20 and begin to follow the Westfield River upstream. In Huntington you will see a tributary, the West Branch of the Westfield, come tumbling out of the Berkshire Hills to join the main river. That's what tributaries do.

Soon you will see another stream entering to join the flow. That's the Middle Branch of the Westfield. Now you will keep an eye peeled for the storied "East Branch" but you will never find a tributary or any notice of one after the mouth of the Middle Branch. Why is that? Well, it's because there is NO EAST BRANCH. The EB (East Branch) is really the MAIN RIVER (THE WESTFIELD RIVER).

Why do I say this? First, topo maps and the Army Corps of Engineers call the river above the Middle Branch the "WESTFIELD RIVER", pure and simple. Second, how can the EB be a tributary when it doesn't flow INTO a river and when it's daily flow, measured for close to a 100 years, so more than DOUBLE the flows of the West and Middle Branches combined. It's watershed, above the Middle Branch, is as long or longer than the the Westfield River from the Middle Branch mouth to the Connecticut River!

In short, the EB is really the WESTFIELD RIVER and not a branch at all. Forget what other groups say. Kayak folks call it the North Branch????? It is the Westfield River.

Am I about to change the name to something other than the EB?? No way. Just making a point on a cold Saturday afternoon when I've been tying a zillion flies and waiting to plow more snow tomorrow.

Think Spring!!

Ken

Friday, February 6, 2015

Reduced To Writing About Equipment - Goodbye To The Vest


There's too much snow and it's too damn cold to enjoy a fly rod in my hand and I can only tie so many flies. So I'll bring up a topic that is interesting, at least to me.

I started fly fishing when Nixon was in office. Way back then the fly fishing vest was standard equipment and everyone had one. It was part of the accepted uniform along with the baseball cap advertising something to do with trout or fly fishing. Now the vest worked but had a few drawbacks. One, it was just another layer of clothing that you didn't need during warm weather. Two, it didn't fit well over heavier clothing during colder weather. Three, we just had to fill all of those pockets that we really didn't need with fly boxes to the point where we would begin to forget where that box of #16 black ants was hiding.

I got rid of my vest in 1987 and began experimenting with a series of small hiking bags and fanny packs. I got rid of the "one bag for all occasions" and now have a small bag that I bought from Orvis in 2002 for the Swift river (no need to bring boxes of wooley buggers to the Swift) and a larger bag from Fish Pond for the Millers/EB. The Orvis bag is no longer available.

I will be retiring the Fish Pond bag after 8 years because it just doesn't cut it any longer. When I bought this bag I was a bit dismayed over how bulky the bag was. It felt more like a camera bag. So I ripped out the useless tackle "bench" and then cut off the lumbar belt and have used it as a shoulder bag ever since. It's still too bulky and will be replaced by a bag used for rock climbers. It's very light, has plenty of room for three boxes, has compartments for leaders and other junk I can't seem to do without and has a convenient holder for a water bottle. I bought the new bag at EMS. There's a good chance that the old Orvis bag will get replaced by that EMS number too.

Sometimes it pays to source things outside of the fly fishing industry.

Thought I'd throw in a photo of a morning in May on the Swift. One month to Daylight Savings Time!!!

Ken

Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Cold Dreary January


Just an update - The Swift River got a break from the storm of the century with only 8 to 10 inches of snow on Tuesday the 26th. This is far different from Worcester east where you did get the storm of the century. Yes, the Swift is fishable but with some caution: beneath the snow is a blanket of ice which will send you flying if you're not careful. Careful means a that a wading staff pulls double duty as a walking staff. Better yet is a pair of slip on crampons. The other caution is the temperature as of late and especially this Saturday with a high just kissing 20 degrees and a low below zero. Your line will be caked in ice and frozen to your rod. If the reel hits the water it will freeze solid. Last winter I just HAD to get on the Swift one day and I spent every other cast shaking my rod under water to free up the ice. It wasn't worth it.

The frozen photo above is of the Millers in South Royalston about 10 years ago. The nice photo is of the Swift in June 2013, my hand on the handle of a tenkara rod with a rainbow on the other end. Take a short look at the frozen photo. Take a long look at the other. That's where we want to be! In just two months this will be over with!!

Go Pats!!!

Ken