Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

Thursday, May 23, 2019

A Good Caddis Fly, A River Update And Book Me.

"And then there were the aesthetics of the situation. My gear, with some notable exceptions at both ends of the scale, is largely of moderate quality - serviceable, but not extravagant - and my camps are cozy but far from posh. Expresso seemed out of the question. Not long ago I spent hundreds of dollars on a fly rod but an extra seventy-five cents for a pound of coffee still rubs me the wrong way. Once established, priorities must be maintained." - John Gierach from Trout Bum

                                                                                                                                                                          
 A Caddis Pattern
I like the looks of this caddis. It is best described as impressionistic with it's use of rabbit fur dubbing, partridge and ostrich herl. The ostrich is the icing on the cake, representing the head of the caddis better than anything else. I tie this pattern in sizes 12 through 16 with either a gray or olive body.  The body is good, old rabbit with a little copper wire for the rib. Tie some up for this Summer.

Go Fish

FINALLY our long piscatorial nightmare appears to be over. The rivers have receded to normal safe level and the fishing has really picked up.

Millers - 580 cfs, down 143 cfs from yesterday. This may be the lowest reading for this river since last September and with little rain in the forecast for the weekend I would fish this river!!



In case you are unaware there have been some access issues on the Millers. The Orcutt bridge construction is in full swing and the whole area is fenced off.  Then there is the problem with the Bridge Street Pool. The traditional parking area on the Wendell side has been blocked off with boulders and signage.  I guess someone doesn't like fishing!!!! In 35 years of parking there I never heard of any problems.  Very limited parking can be found on the other side of the street.  Good luck!! BTW, the Bridge Street Pool is full of browns!!

The Swift - 565 cfs, down from 628 yesterday. Slowly but surely this river is trending down and with it coming down we will be able to fish below RT 9 and see if the smallmouth have invaded the land of brook tout.  Remember, you can keep fish below Rt 9 until July 1st so maybe we should start keeping smallies. Kill a smallmouth and feed a cat!!!!

The Westfield System - The flows are perfect and the trout are there and there have been NO CROWDS. We have had to work for our fish which makes it interesting.

The Ware - 238 cfs this morning.  Fish this river!!!

Ken





Monday, May 20, 2019

The All-Around Fly, Our Rivers And Book Me

"Fly patterns are like literature: endless variations on a handful of themes.  The good ones are the ones that work, for whatever reason, and the great ones are those that survive beyond their own generation." - John Gierach



Let's talk about the rivers first.

The Millers - It cracked the 800 cfs barrier on Sunday with a 786 flow and with a projected rainfall through next Sunday of only .30 inches it will come down even more. I'll be spending time there with week saying hello to the browns!!!

The Ware - My client almost broke the half dozen mark a few days ago but we dropped a lot of fish.  The DFW appears to be playing with us by stocking a zillion 6 inch browns in this river. Its the second year in a row that this has happened and I'm wondering if they are performing an experiment or are they making more room in the hatchery for more rainbows??

The Swift - It's down to 686 and that flow can't drop fast enough for me!!! There are a lot of smallmouth that have come over the spillway in the last two weeks and that could spell bad news for the brook trout. Remember, brookies and smallies don't mix and wherever they are together the smallies win out. The State of Maine once didn't have smallies!!!

The EB - It's VERY FISHABLE right now with a flow of 454 (it was 407 just 48 hours ago) but the days of catching 50+ fish courtesy of a recent stocking are long gone for this Spring  unless they stock again. The flow of this river has been a yo-yo over the past month so the trout are spread out. This flow will will drop to the 250 range and stabilize I think, much as it did in 2009, the best year I've had on this river!!!!!

The WB - It;s been weird this Spring. The flows on this river have been steady but the fishing hasn't held up. Last year June was very good on the West Branch. Let's hope it's the same this year.

Stocking will be over by Memorial Day.  Fish now!!!

The All-Around Fly

Do you ever wonder what you would use if you HAD to limit yourself to one fly pattern. I play with this thought on occasion and I believe have a final style based on its versatility and fish catching ability and it's the SOFT HACKLE !! (pattern colors are not that important, materials are!!)

Your standard SH is a nymph, a sunken adult fly, an emerger AND a dry fly all rolled into one.  It all depends on how you fish it. Let's say that it is early  on a Spring  day when insects have not started hatching BUT YOU KNOW THEY WILL!!  A SH fished deep on an upstream cast and then high sticked past you (it's ok to use split shot) is the same technique used by the great Theodore Gordon over a 100 years ago. You can fish this fly on the swing to imitate the emerging insect but you really have to do it correctly and that is with constant MENDING of the line. Mending allows the fly to drift lower in the current and slows down the drift of the fly to a natural speed instead of it being pulled by the line  like a water skier attached to a speedboat!



And with the standard soft hackle you don't have to think about imparting "action" to the fly because the soft hackles naturally move with the slightest current which is all the movement that you need. (actually this is true for all subsurface flies. They are bounced around buy currents coming from all directions JUST LIKE A NATURAL INSECT!!

Now for the Dry Fly. How does a fly that is made from materials that absorb water become a dry fly.  Answer: it doesn't but it becomes an emerging insect and that's what you want to fish.  Most "rises" are not for the adult insect but for the insect that's trying to break through the surface film. Drifting a soft hackle down and in front of a surface working trout is the perfect presentation. The fly rises in the current in front of the trouts feeding lane, the perfect presentation!!!!

Is there a second place fly???  Yes, it's the Golden Ribbed Hares Ear AND any Sawyer nymph.





Tuesday, May 14, 2019

April In May But It's Getting Better


Hell, give me Greenwell's Glory and Campbell's Fancy, all wet and about size 12 and May on the Big River, and anyone else can have whatever else he wants. I won't need it" Sparse Grey Hackle on the Beaverkill River circa 1930




Well, there's a bright side to this crazy Spring and that is that we have been forced by conditions to fish "other waters" and those waters are not the marguee "names" or the "places-to-be-seen" but those hidden, quiet streams where you know you'll be the only one there. I've revisited some of these streams, caught some trout in a beautiful place and left feeling very good about it. I also feels good that these streams will probably have a good head of water going into the Summer so we can enjoy them longer. Take advantage of this condition.  You will not have to throw weight to catch these fish.

The Flows

The Swift is up again going from 823 cfs on Sunday to 886 this morning.  I am so sick of that flow that I'm staying away until the flow goes below 200.  See you in September!!!!! (well, maybe not)

The EB, MB and the WB have been a godsend to us because they will rise quickly BUT then drop quickly and that's where the action is.  The Ware ticked up since Sunday but still can be fished from the edges and the Millers is the Millers, high but coming down.

The Quill Gordons are still on stage with some Hendricksons popping up here and there. Look for lots of action on the Ware and the Millers.
                                                                                   A Brown Eel  from the Farmington
BTW, Central/Western Ma have not been the only spot for swollen rivers. The Farmington, below Stillwater, is at 1164 this morning.  The median average for about 60+ years is about 320 for this date.  We will survive!!

Ken










Friday, May 10, 2019

Better Late than Never, This Blog And Book Me



I would be inclined to issue a pass to Tenkara simply because it's aim is to simplify our sport which has a tendency to become overrun with equipment junkies and method madmen. It's good to take a Tenkara break every now and then and reset yourself. You can also catch a lot of trout this way!!! - Me on Tenkara





This Blog

First off, I'd like to thank the dozens of commenters who have contributed their fishing experiences in just the last few weeks. That group is not just the same old regulars that festoon other blogs with the same old, same old but a wide range of fly fishers who fish a wide range of rivers and are not afraid to share a good spot with others. (Let's face it, there are very few secret spots anymore and many who jealously guard their "secret spots" have pumped me for info in the past.) This blog provides information about where and when to go and what to use.

Better Late Than Never

Finally, things are rounding into shape. Namely, the flows are coming down. Let's look at the last week:

May 3 CFS                                      May 10 CFS

Millers - 1850                                        1050
Ware - 800                                               345
Swift - 1200                                             877
EB 643                                                    391
WB 324                                                   202

All the rivers are dropping nicely with the Branches of the Westfield producing in a steady fashion (quill gordons are popping out all over that system).Size 8 Partridge and Orange, your standard quill gordon wet and a size 12 peacock bodied black buggers have produced the most.

The Millers has dropped about 120 cfs every day this week. I've was told by a fellow that I guided on the EB that he fished Orcutt around the edges and caught browns so it can be done but just be careful.

Got a report of some good catches on the Ware yesterday that may have been the result of the water control boys turning the flow down. (from 606 cfs to 345 cfs in ONE DAY is not normal) I can't wait to get out there!!!!

The Swift - slowly but surely it's coming down. I'll wait until it gets below 100 cfs. That's the flow that I like and there are too many other rivers to fish!!

Book Me

I have a few openings left in May and I am starting to book up June ESPECIALLY my Evening Rise trips. There's no better way to spend an evening than on a trout stream.

Go Fish,

Ken



Monday, May 6, 2019

The EB, MB, Quill Gordons Tenkara, A Few Good Fish And Book Me


"Above all,observe the fish. Better yet, observe the trout as if you were a predator that needs to catch it, not just a participant in a game. Edited-for-action fly fishing videos, won't really prepare you for approaching big, spooky trout. Watching your pet cat will give you a better idea of how a predator moves when stalking it's prey" Bob Wyatt,What Trout Want:The Educated Trout And Other Myths

Well, it was certainly a pleasure fishing in the midst of a genuine, traditional mayfly hatch, namely the Quill Gordons. We saw the first of these, in limited amounts, on the EB Friday and Saturday but the heaviest hatch was on the MB on Sunday during an all day drizzle with water temperatures in the high 40's and the air not much higher. The rainbows loved the feast with a traditional QC Wet and a size 16 Zebra Midge splitting the action. It was good to see that old, wet fly do its stuff!!

The MB is the smallest of the Westfield Branches and is about the size of the Mill River along Rt 9 in Haydenville and like the Mill is totally overlooked.  There seems to be a growing population of fly anglers who thumb their noses at any river that isn't a Class A tailwater.  GOOD!!! That means more great water for the rest of us!!!  The MB and the WB are in the same neck of the woods. One makes a good 3 hour trip and together they make a good 6 hour trip.  BOOK ME!!
                                                                                   A Quill Gordon




Tenkara Spring

This high water Winter and Spring have forced us to fish the smaller waters that have been been ignored in the past. These rivers can get into shape quickly and they are PERFECT for a Tenkara rod. Say hello to "Asian Nymphing" and book a trip!!!

Tenkara Water


State of the Rivers

The Millers - 1580 and dropping a 100 cfs a day. Without rain we will fish it by the weekend

The Ware - holding steady at 730 which is really too high

The Swift - slowly coming down at 1110 cfs as I write. It was at 1200 on Friday and this decline isn't FAST ENOUGH

The EB - 747 as I write but only 643 on last Friday means rain in the Berkshires!!  WE WERE ABLE TO FISH IT IN SECTIONS and caught trout. We only need 48 hours of dry weather to make this river drop like a rock.

The MB - The top river of the weekend!!!!

The WB - This river should get some fish this week and I can't wait!!!!

Ken







Thursday, May 2, 2019

Rounding Into Form - the State of the Rivers

 "Now if fishing larger waters I can definitely see the benefit of using a 9' or 10' rod (graphite) to keep as much line off the water as possible, but for smaller or mid-size waters, or where I can wade further out, I think an 8'ish glass rod is fine. Now I do think that the best all-around nymphing rod is 10' 4 wt, but I generally grab the rod I want to use on a particular day and just make it work. " Comment found on the Fiberglass Flyrodders Forum.



Things are getting better. The rivers are coming down with the smaller water leading the way. The Swift and the Millers are STILL too high but the Ware should hit that 3oo cfs flow soon where it is  wadable. The most improved river flow is owned by the EB which has dropped to 638. It was 200 cfs higher just 24 hours ago. Without rain it will drop further. The WB is right behind at 345 cfs. P.S. You must fish the WB!!!!





This wild wet Spring has FORCED many to find smaller streams with wadeable flows  to get our fishing fix.  Count me in with this group. I've been working the Mill River  and around Haydenville with a Tenkara setup which has filled the bill nicely. Yup, you guessed it, I'm fishing soft hackles with a Hornberg or two thrown in and it is FUN!!

Book Me

I have a few openings left for May but they are going quickly and now June id filling up. Don't get left out.  Book a trip!!!




The photo at the right is of the Tree Pool on the Swift during more civilized times. (50 cfs).  Don't worry, those times will reappear. It seems impossible that we haven't seen those wonderful low flows since October and my 2wt setup hasn't since seen the Swift since then.



Ken





Monday, April 29, 2019

After The Deluge - What To Expect

FYI if you are fishing in either the Upper or Lower Fly Zones on the Salmon River in NY, you have to use fly line (no running/shooting/Euro lines) and no more than 15 feet of leader (as measured from the end of the fly line to your fly). The mono rig is perfectly legal on the rest of the river. Torrey from UpCountry. 4/19 (Sooo....maybe you can't use those rigs in the Fly Zones because it's not considered fly fishing.
                                       

There has been a lot of speculation regarding the effects of all this water in our rivers this Spring. There is talk of scoured stream bottoms and destroyed aquatic habitat. I say "Wait A Minute" because I recall events that were worse than this one.

In late August of 2011 Hurricane Irene flew in and dumped IN A VERY SHORT TIME about 20 inches of rain in Western New England in about one day. The Mill River behind my house went from about 30 cfs to 7500 CFS during that time with whole trees being uprooted and swept downstream. I thought very few fish could survive that beating but in 5 days the flow came back to normal and I saw hundreds of minnows feeding in the current. I caught a few trout too.

The worst event that can happen (IMO) is bulldozer effects of ice dams but the Ware survived a monster dam last year that tore up stream banks and dug out the river bottom. The Ware survived because its famous mayflies survived.  The same with the Millers over the years.

I bet is that the Swift will do fine!!




I've spent too much time tying streamers and now want to fish large stoneflies.  It's called stoneflies on the brain and I have it bad.  I'm going to take the cure this afternoon on a smaller stream or two which are in my area.

The experts at Weather Underground are predicting only about a half inch of rain through Friday.  That would be a relief!!!




Ken