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, October 18, 2017

An Autumn Afternoon On The Millers

"It seems a shame to use a fine, handmade casting tools to lob a weighted, short-line nymph rig 10 feet when you could do the same thing just as well with a broomstick. - John Gierach

How can anyone say that they would prefer to catch trout via nymphing instead of on a dry fly? I don't know but they are out there, a generation of fish counters who like the lofty numbers that a stocking truck can create. I've heard that the Millers has been not like it was last year when buckets of bows were tossed in and everyone was an expert. Now the story has changed. It's slim pickings with the browns they say. Granted, it takes time and patience to catch that fish and a little skill that goes beyond "nymphing". A little timing and knowing the pattern of trout and insect behavior helps too.

I rigged up my 3wt at 1:45pm and fastened on a slightly weighted possum nymph and began to work it as I've always done over the decades - quartering upstream and letting it sink as it as it approached me which is the same way Theodore Gordon fished a wet fly in those Catskill waters over a 100 years ago. There were no indicators or sighters of any kind. Just a look for any hesitation in the drift of the line. I also kept an eye out for any surface activity which was sure to start.

I picked up 6 browns before the surface activity became too real to ignore. A hatch of Olives started (as expected) so on went a snowshoe BWO emerger in a #20 and then the fun really started. After the second brown a blue heron got into the act and twice tried to grab my brown as I was netting it!!! Then I watched him as he watched me. If I cast upstream he looked upstream and if the cast was quartering downstream he followed that too! He watched me cast upstream which resulted in a hookup which he then went after.

They are smarter than we think!!

I ended up with 8 browns taken on the surface and 6 below in two hours of fishing. THE MILLERS IS ALIVE WITH TROUT!!

BTW, A surface hooked trout fights harder than a bottom hooked trout. The nymph caught browns fought ok but nowhere near the the intensity of a trout near the surface who feels the hook. Just an observation.

Going forward this season I would suggest a perfect Millers trip to be from 1pm to 4pm. We will catch the evening rise!!!


Monday, October 16, 2017

Ware Update, Millers Update And The October Caddis

"Fishing for landlocked salmon is like scale-model Atlantic salmon fishing: all the frustration for a fraction of the price"- John Gierach

They were all over me. October Caddis that is! This is a true event on autumn trout streams especially on the fertile freestones that we like to fish like the Millers. This orange/brownish caddis can fill the air but it can also disappoint if you don't know it's life cycle. This insect is not going to rise through the water column followed by slashing trout most of the time. It prefers to hatch on the shore and then fly away. Maybe that's why the Partridge and Orange is so good around now.

Are there dry fly opportunities with this insect? Yes, but it will come with the end of the mating swarm near evening when most fly guys decide to pack it up. The above fly works because it looks like a spent insect and incorporates the materials to achieve that look.

Hook - size 14 standard dry

Body - orange/brown rabbit dubbing

Wing - clump of orange/brown hen hackle fibers (an underwing of CDC will work to float the fly longer

Hackle - brown grizzly size 14-16

Head - brown rabbit dubbing

One can fish this fly dry and then wet. It works both ways.

Speaking of the Millers - It seems that some are a bit disappointed in the Fall fishing on this river and that is because this river got an adequate stocking of browns (and some bows) this October and not the avalanche of big bows that it got last October. Stocking the river 3 TIMES IN ONE WEEK last October sets expectations high with 30 fish days being expected. The reality now is that you have to work for your fish instead of just chucking a nymph into a school of stocked bows. The browns are different and they got a dose of rain that put another 100 cfs into the mix right after they were stocked. They are not waiting for you. You have to find them. Go get them and bring your soft hackles with you.

And The Ware - This river, so totally overlooked by the fly fishing community, has been hot as of late. It got some bows in early October but we've been taking browns in the mix which means this river has holdover fish!! One thinks that the Ware is a warm water stream but it's been cooler than the Millers and the EB over that last month with water temperatures in the low to mid 60's. Find an undercut bank, slowly drift a SH or a generic nymph through the deepest parts and you may be rewarded. We were yesterday!!!


Thursday, October 12, 2017

A Reprieve From The Drought But The Swift Is Still High

"I might be wrong, but I doubt it" Charles Barkley
                                                                          NOTE: (5:30 am, 10/13) The Swift is at 50 CFS
                                                                          Note:( 7:00 pm, 10/13) It's at 130 again!!!!

The map says it all. RED is very dry, GREEN is normal, ORANGE is low normal and BLUE is high water. Last week this map was mostly RED except for the Swift which had the color blue but the weekend rain took care of that except the Swift is still chugging along at 130 cfs because the Connecticut River is still below normal. Get it?? I hope so! Also hope for some more rain. Not a lot but just enough.

The Millers and the Ware have been fishing very well, especially the Ware. The report says that the Ware got bows this month but we've been taking some good looking browns in the mix which must be spring fish that made it through the summer.

Look for October Caddis (or Pumpkin Caddis) on the Millers and the Ware. I must of have close to a dozen on my waders a few days ago while working the Millers. I've never had much success with any dry version of this fly but the reliable Partridge and Orange SH does the trick.

What's up with the EB?
The flow looks good, it's cool enough but it hasn't received any fish this October. This all may be a moot by today but we will just have to wait and see. BTW, the gauge reading on the EB stopped working on October 9th. It's frozen at 75 cfs and is probably flowing around 55cfs as I write. The Bears Den gauge on the Millers is busted too as is the one on the Middle Branch. I blame Trump!!!!

Thank you for the BIG outflow of comments!! Much appreciated.


Sunday, October 8, 2017

Autumn On Our Rivers And Book Me

"Some people who fish here will do just that with a brace of nymphs dangled under a strike indicator, letting natural drift provide all the movement that's necessary. I've tried that, and it works - especially on slow days when nothing much seems to be going on - but I can't stay with it for long.  It's possible that I'd had enough of staring at bobbers by the time I was twelve" - John Gierach

It's the best time of the year to be in New England especially central and western Massachusetts. Imagine hitting the Ware, the Swift and the Millers all in the same day and landing fish. Imagine not having to pile up windshield time to go to a crowded destination. It's all here from the Ware to the east and the Millers to the west. What about the EB? It needs rain before it's stocked. Hopefully the forecast this time is right and we get a good, rainy day and the DFW extends that Columbus Day deadline for stocking. I believe they did last year.

The Color Brown

Hats off to the DFW for raising the largest number of beautiful brown trout that I've ever seen. The color of these fish is amazing. As I said in an earlier post these trout have the color of butter that has been left in the sautee pan too long. These fish are almost iridescent and appear to almost glow in the net. I've seen some photos of stocked browns from other states and they pale by comparison.

Millers Update And A Question

We caught fish everywhere from Orcutt to Erving and to the Kempfield Section BUT we got blanked at the Bridge Street Pool. Now, there are new (this Summer) restrictions to entering Bridge Street from Route 2 - YOU CAN'T DO IT- and they have the signage to prove it!! That means that you have to bushwack through the back roads of Wendell to legally get there. (I say "legally" because some people are ignoring the signs and turning off Route 2 anyway). Here's my question. Did the DFW stock these section or did the signs/restrictions and the six mile detour scare them off?? I know someone was there because of the wet footprints in the sand. Any info??

BTW, Soft hackles (of course), possum nymphs and my mini buggers all took fish. Translation - use anything as long as it's small.

I still have some openings in October but they are going quickly. Grab one and it's yours. A good idea would be to book a morning (3 hour) trip and then spend a few hours going solo revisiting the spots I introduced you to!


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Weekend Update, The Rivers, The Weather And What Flies

"The great charm of fly fishing is that we are always learning" - Theodore Gordon

Ok, here we are a few days before Columbus Day Weekend and this is what we have:

The Millers at 60 cfs and scheduled to be stocked tomorrow the 6th in the usual places. Last year the flow was at 90 cfs which was low. Water temperature on Wednesday the 4th was 60 degrees at 8am and 65 degrees at 1pm. These are good temperatures.

The Ware - 22 cfs and received it's second stocking. You may thing the flow is too low but the temperature is the key and the temperature as I write is 58 degrees AND it's been below 60 since September 30. This is a "must fish" river for October.

The EB - At 43 cfs this river is a boneyard as is its sister branches. It needs rain and I would be totally surprised if it's stocked at this low flow.

The Swift - Humming along at 135 but not producing much in the usual areas. The brookies are on the march but not bedding down yet because of this flow. THEY CLAIM IT WAS STOCKED this week. We saw 4 trout caught all day Tuesday. Also, the temperature is still in the mid 60's due to lake turnover which may also effect the bite.

Low Water Tactics - Ditch the weight, period!!! High Stick your pheasant tails and soft hackles (especially soft hackles) and then lengthen your casts to swing your fly down and across the current. Your weighted offerings which worked well during higher flows will leave you picking weeds and slim off your fly most of time. This is the tactic we've used on the freshly stocked Ware and the not-stocked-since-May-Millers. It is working!! Always be on the lookout for surface action with the standard offerings of BWO, October caddis, ants and such.

So there you go, the update on the six trout rivers that I cover. I keep it at six because just adding rivers to my masthead but never mentioning them in a post is misleading to my readers. And notice that I said "trout rivers". If you want bluegills and pickerel (my first fly caught fish was a pickerel at 15 years old) then surf the net. Nothing wrong with those fish but you will not find them here! Also, read the comment section of each post for knowledge and insight from the readers. These are my "contributors"!

Go Fish


Monday, October 2, 2017

Those Gorgeous Millers Browns And Booking A Trip

"Game fish are too valuable to be caught only once" - Lee Wulff

Note: The Swift and the Nissitissit were stocked 10/2/17
Note: The Squannacook was stocked 10/3/17

I'll come right out and say it. The most beautiful browns in Massachusetts reside in the Millers. These trout, either stocked last May or of holdover status, have taken on the most beautiful dark, glowing color that you could imagine. I could best describe it as butter that's been left in a saute pan too long. And the neat thing is that these fish sailed right through the Summer and this September drought with flying colors and are there to be caught. BTW, This weekend the high water temperature on the Millers hit only 62 degrees. We fished some deep runs with good holding water and took fish swinging soft hackles.

Now, if everything goes to plan, the Millers will be stocked Friday October 6. The usual popular spots will get crowded but I know this river well (30+ years of fishing it) and will get you away from the crowds and into fish. Play some hooky during the week and we will have the place to ourselves. Book ME!!

We are seeing the start of the brookie run on the Swift as they are staging into some traditional spawning areas. Hopefully we will get some rain soon to lower that Quabbin release.

Stay tuned!!


Saturday, September 30, 2017

A Short Update - Brookies And Browns

" A friend told me there's life outside of the Internet and that I should check it out. I asked him to send me a link" -

I hit the Swift Thursday morning around 11:00 am to toss some micro streamers (10 and 12), or some micro Bitch Creek streamers to be exact, to see if I could entice some bows to chase them. No bows but some good sized brookies came to play. They were all between 10-12 inches and there were 7 of them and they were found in or near the traditional spawning beds of the lower Swift. I think the run has started and my records state that by mid October we will be in full swing. They are already stacking up below the Rt 9 bridge.

Friday was a good day with my client Matt as we were the first (probably) to fish the Ware this Fall. The 38 degree air made the fleece necessary at 8:30 as we began to swing the reliable partridge and orange. We had four solid hits and landed two, a rainbow and a beautiful brown. The water level is low but cool enough to keep the trout active.  We were also greeted with a decent Trico hatch which the newly planted fish totally ignored.

Then we went to the Swift, walked right past the Pipe, and went down deep into Cady Lane to catch brookies on dries. It seemed that the brook trout population down there has thinned out(as one of our commentors pointed out) as the "herd" moves upstream to spawn. That has to mean that the monster browns will begin to move with them.

Back upstream for a few obligatory casts at the Tree Pool, then lunch, then a session at the crib dam before the day was over.

As I write it is raining. It will not be enough and we will need more!