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.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Autumn Is Around The Corner - Schedule A Trip! (And The Cream Cahill)


As I write this the sunrise is another 20 minutes away at 6:06 am. Two months ago the sun was up an hour earlier. You may not know it by the noontime temperatures but the seasons are changing. In a month the Swift brookies will be wearing their spawning colors and looking for spawning areas. And the bows will be right below them looking to snatch up stray eggs.

In two weeks Labor Day will be behind us and the swarms of bathers/waders who have taken over the EB will be gone until next Memorial Day. Our season really kicks into gear then. Autumn is when this river shines!!

The Millers - Still an evening fishery but that will change quickly. If this river behaves and stays manageable we will have a good Autumn here too.



The last week has shown a substantial increase in Autumn booking. I still have plenty of spots available from September through November but they are always "first come, first served". Remember, just showing interest in a particular date does not mean it's yours. You have to confirm it.

The Cream Cahill - This is the last of the larger, light colored Summer mayflies that we will see on the Swift this year. It is always confused with sulfurs (as usual) even though the Cream is larger and of a different Family and a different Genus. It also behaves TOTALLY different than the sulfur group. Heptageniidae are clinging nymphs that shed their exoskeletons on the bottom and then rise as an adult fly to the surface. Quill Gordons (always mistaken for Hendriksons) and many other species do the same. That is why small soft hackles swinging through the water column really mimic this fly.

What size? Duns are 14 to 16 on the Swift. Same for the soft hackles. When can I find them? May through September but not in large numbers on the Swift. Use any pattern that you feel comfortable with.

Later,

Ken


Friday, August 21, 2015

Eb Update


The coffee was perking at 4:45 and the patter of rain was hitting the skylights when I started this day. First, the rain and the morning forecast was a bit north of damp and that was a good thing. Too many of these 90+ degree days. This morning would be cool and damp for two missions: one was to explore a "thin blue line" that had been in my brain for a week. More on that in a later post. The second was to hit the EB. Because of the rain this spot may not be overrun by bathers who seemed to have taken the place over. Earlier this week I saw the fabled Bliss Pool taken over by waders (sans fly rods) as late as 7pm. I guess I can't blame them given this drought and heat wave but it doesn't compute with what we do. I let them have it. With the 65 degree air temperature in the Gorge and with the rain I know they wouldn't be there this morning!


Mission number one was accomplished and off to the EB without getting out of my waders. I was the only one there - no bathers and no flyfishers. I've felt bad about not being here for a while and certainly not like last year where I seemed to live here.

First, the flow seemed just fine. Second, the trout are there too. It was only an hour and a half of fishing on the Bliss Pool ( If you're the only one there then fish the Bliss) but I took 1 bow, 1 brown, lost another of uncertain pedigree and tried like hell to tempt the only free riser that I saw. The first three came up for a size 12 bi-visible. The free riser (rising about every three minutes) had nothing to do with the big fly and since it's rise forms said "nymphing" I switched to a size 16 tan parachute. That usually works but today was no dice.

I left at noon knowing that our boys will make it through August and will still provide sport. As I left the sun began to break through and the first "beach party" appeared.

Word to the wise - Wait until AFTER Labor Day. The swimmers will be gone, the waters will cool, a hint of color will hit the "early" trees" and our season will start again!!

Ken

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Ant Swarms - Get Ready!


Back cast to the mid 1990's. I somehow find myself at a late August weekend craft fair with my wife. The only thing that I remember is that all of the outdoor booths were covered with WINGED ANTS. A call the next day from a fly fisher spoke of trout committing suicide for all of those morsels.

Roll cast a few years forward when I was on the phone to a New Hampshire friend who said that his yard and the air above it was full of ants. My central Mass. location had the same thing happening.

Roll cast again to the Farmington River in 2004. A blizzard of ants started that Friday afternoon and lasted until I left on Sunday. Every trout was on them!!!

Roll cast forward to 2009 on the EB when I thought that I saw the wings of HUNDREDS of BWO's but when I got into the water I found a half dozen winged ants on my shirt. No BWO's, just WINGED ANTS!!

This is the time of year for the ANT SWARMS. We're not talking about the lone individual that finds itself in the water BUT the winged ant that is on a mission. The Mission is that the colony has gotten too big and has to split up. Tens of Thousands will sprout wings and take off. This ALWAYS happens in late August for one species that is small (size 18-20) and is a light reddish brown in color. For some reason they are drawn (by mistake) to water. Big swarms will blanket the surface of lucky
streams for lucky trout. Forget what is hatching. If ants land they will have the trout's undivided attention.

What to use? Forget the big goofy foam creatures that we use to imitate individual stragglers. Size and Profile now mean a lot.



Here are my patterns - this is very simple. For years I used a reddish brown dubbing making a ball of dubbing at the rear of a size 18 or 20 hook. Then I tied in two thin blue dun hackle points at the mid point and had them extend just behind the bend of the hook. Then I make a ball of dubbing up front. That's it! Over the past few years I've replace the hackle points with grey CDC and it's fine.

The BIG patterns just don't cut it when these little guys hit the water. Sizes 18 through 20 are what you need. The dubbed body doesn't need hackle either. Just have plenty of magic powder with you to keep things high and dry. And don't worry too much about tippet size (duh) and even sloppy casters will score when this "Fall" is on.

Four years ago I was fishing the Swift at the second turnoff on River Rd in the late afternoon. I lost a dry fly and was slowly going through my fly box when a saw an ant drift by. I looked up and saw a hundred on the water with trout coming up after them. Five minutes before there wasn't a hint of them.

Simple to tie. Keep them with you!

Ken

Monday, August 17, 2015

The August Heat, Lost Nets, Deerfield Fly Shop, Ants And Rising Trout


First it's our lost and found department. Bill said that my friends' net was found and was now in the safe hands of Wooley Bugger George. The rest was easy since I see George all of the time. I ran into him while guiding on Friday and made plans to take the short drive to his home in the far ends of Belchertown to retrieve it. Two days later my friend has his net and managed to put a 3lb rainbow in it. Now that's 2 for 2 for lost stuff. If you have lost something put a comment up on this blog or email me.

It has been a superb week of surface angling on the lower Swift and I mean from the Duck Pond down into the Jungle. Ants have been ruling the day and why not - it's August!! Keep an eye out for the flying ant swarms that hit Southern and Central New England like clockwork during the last two weeks of this month.


The Sulfurs are still with us but are far and few between but there must be enough of them because the trout are still hitting the emerger. Fished in the film it is especially effective when fishing the shallow flats at the end of the Gauge Run. Shallow flats present a problem and that problem is DRAG. Dale Darling, in his neat book MIDGES, has an easy solution - LENGTHEN YOUR LEADER. He likes to use up to SIX FEET of tippet. I've worked with half that and it's an improvement.

I was supposed to hit the EB Saturday but my friend had to bail out which gave me a chance to see Mike at the DEERFIELD FLY SHOP. I brought a shopping list which included a Hungarian partridge skin. Mike had everything!!! The rest of Saturday was mowing the lawn and working up soft hackles for this Fall.

The EB flow has been good over the past week with some well placed storms. Unless there's thunder in the air I'll be out again this evening.

Ken

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Thanks For The Rain!! An Update


The flash flood warnings never happened, at least not in trout land. The EB and the Millers, especially the Millers got a good shot in the arm with water levels up BUT not too far up. The Millers, as I write this, peaked in the 300's and is now heading down. All of this is good for this weekend. Remember, the sun sets around 7:45 pm now. The long wait for the witching hour is over. Take advantage of it.


The 120 flow on the Swift has changed the game below RT 9. The higher flow has moved the trout around and the insect hatches seem less concentrated. This flow condition may actually end this week if/when the Connecticut River flow goes up.


Quick Tip - A week ago I had the pleasure of guiding two NH guides, Jim Norton and Dick Peterson. Dry flies became the order of the evening and I noticed that before Jim powdered his dry fly he squeezed it into some sheet of absorbent material. A new hi tech chamois material? An all natural recycled fungus from Siberia? Nope. It was a folded paper towel. Probably BOUNTY brand. How come I didn't think of that?

Ken

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Updates And Why The PIPE Is So Good



Well, we knew it was going to happen. One look at the lengthening sandbars on the Connecticut River and we knew that the Swift's flow would increase and it did yesterday. From a skinny water challenge (47 cfs) to a popular 119 cfs. Sandbars?? What's up with that. If you don't know than here's the tale again: when the CT River gets too low water has to be released from the Quabbin to supplement the big river. This conditions occurs at sometime during most summers and will last until we get a good rain event to recharge the CT. River. Keep in mind that the rain event doesn't have to be felt locally. Northern New England can get blasted by storms while we are bone dry and the big river will be full.




This month on the EB will be a lot like last year - Excellent!!! (Backcast on this blog to August 2014 for details) It's still an early morning/evening river until later this month. I've done well and I've had good reports come in. I LOVE casting dries on this river in July and August, especially hoppers!

Now, why is the Pipe so good? First, to kill confusion I'll call the PIPE the section from the hatchery outflow to the end of the long pool. The pool is also known as the Tree Pool and the Hatchery Pool.


There are more rising trout in the section than anywhere else in the river. It is rising trout ALL DAY. Why is that?

First, the water coming out of Quabbin is fairly sterile but begins to pick up nutrients as it heads south. When the hatchery outflow joins the river it supercharges the river with nutrients. The nutrients are the result of the decaying waste that is produced in the facility. More nutrients mean more insects and in this case it means more MIDGES. They love that environment and it is reasonable to believe that many of the midges below the pipe originated in the hatchery. In any event it is a season long event and we are happy for it!


Be aware that this discharge is monitored and is not classed as a pollution event (except for that one Saturday last Spring).

Last evening we chased the tail end of the sulfurs through the "flood" and did fine.

Ken

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Millers Update



"NhFlyfisher" left a comment yesterday asking if the Millers, at 100 cfs, was too low to fish. The answer is yes and no.

I took a ride to inspect this old haunt for the first time in almost a month. A month ago we had very high water but this drought has a grip on this watershed. The first stop was the Upper Trestle Pool. Over the years this spot always had at least one rising fish but not this evening. This pool usually fishes well during low flows. Not tonight.



So, down to the Kempfield where things got strange. While standing at mid pool I saw a line of bubbles working it's way across the pool towards the shore. "Beaver" I thought but I was wrong. It was an otter with a 15 inch rainbow in it's jaws. The otter crawled up on shore dragging his dinner and disappeared into the bushes. The last of the Millers rainbows? Hardly. I took two and a brown in the next hour and a half and all on dries and all on totally different patterns.

Was the fishing good? Not really and that was because of the low flow. Some favorite runs were almost unfishable. We need rain and this river needs to spike to 200 cfs for a good fishing experience. BTW, all fish fought hard and quickly swam away at release.

Ken