Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB
The Millers - Experience the best brown trout fly fishing in Massachusetts. This river only gets better as the Summer rolls on with Autumn being prime time!! Day long trips or "Evening Rise" excursions are available. There are over forty miles of river and I will take you to the "best" sections. I have over twenty years of experience on my "home" river. The "EB of the Westfield" - Wild and beautiful is the only way to describe the EB. There's a lot of water here but I know where to go when I want to catch trout!! After a trip you will too whether it's surface or subsurface action that you like. If it's a wilderness experience that you're looking for then let me take you to the "EB". The Swift - Let's "de-mystify" this river. 20 trout days, year round, are not uncommon on this river. It's technique and fly selection that counts. I can introduce you to that experience. "Dry Fly 101 - Dry fly fishing is the "soul" of fly fishing. The "fly fishing schools" will "scan" this method but I teach the classic upstream approach in depth. In over forty years of fly fishing I have caught more trout on a dry fly than with all other methods. I teach this method on "a river" so you can carry it forward season after season. RATES Full Day (7am-1pm) $150 per per person, $225 for two (lunch included) Evening Rise -(5:30 till dusk) $90 per person, $155 for two Dry Fly 101 - $60 for 3 hours

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

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A Reliable Damsel Fly And Stonefly Pattern




I love damselflies and I don't want to be away from the Millers or the EB (especially the EB) during the first week of June and especially on a sunny warm day. You start seeing them crawling up on shoreline rocks around 9am and by noon there are tens of thousands in the air. They are a large insect and colored a nice light olive. This is much different than the nymph which looks like your standard drab dragonfly nymph. The adult is much larger than the nymph.

It's the nymph that interests the trout. These nymphs dart quickly towards the shore and you can see the trout chasing them in very shallow water. I once saw a brown beach itself on the island above the Kempfield Section on the Millers while chasing these nymphs. The far side of the EB's Bliss Pool is another good place.

Using small olive wooley buggers has been standard for years but the pictured pattern seems to work better. This stonefly that I developed is actually better suited for damsels because it can be tied smaller.

Hook - standard nymph in sizes 12-14
Tail - short thin strands of marabou. I've used brown, yellow (standard stonefly colors) and olive
Body - brown or dark fuzzy dubbing. I use Australian Possum.
Rib - very light gauge wire. Copper or gold will do
Wing Pad - I use dark turkey either tied folded over from the back or tied in at the front and clipped at the thorax.

Fish this fly quickly in short twitches and fish it along the shore.

Tie up a bunch of these. June is only five months away!!!!

Think Spring!

Ken

Monday, January 12, 2015

An Excerpt From The Millers River Fly Fishers Guide.


I decided to review some very old stuff from previous posts (after seven years it is old but very worthwhile) and cut a section from my Millers River Fly Fishing Guide which will always be a resource. I hope you enjoy this. I did!

“Whetestone Section”. It's the Kempfield Section. Pay special attention to the rocks that protrude the surface during early summer onward. It seems that surface action begins behind and in front of these rocks. It is dry fly water supreme. This is really the home of the large mayflies that I mentioned earlier in this guide due to the sandy bottom. Fishing a dry across the river is much harder due to the many currents that will cause drag. Fish your dries upstream!!!!

The Pool – The pool starts at the last rock that breaks the surface on this section, about 30ft from the right bank. This is a gem during the late season. Water level is low enough to wade out far to position yourself. Earlier during the season (April through June) you will have to content with being within twenty feet of the bank. Back casting room is adequate so not to worry. This pool is deep but flies swung just below the surface get action during the high water of the spring. The largest trout that I have caught on the Millers was a 23 inch clonebow early in the season on a marabou streamer just below the surface. It doesn’t count as far as I’m concerned. A guy with a salmon egg would have appreciated it more than I.

A Kempfield Story or Two - Back cast to a Sunday afternoon in late September of 2006. The water level was invitingly low as I made my way to the Kempfield Pool. I was able to wade out to almost the middle where I spied the dorsal fins and tails of nymphing browns. I was soon joined by another fly fisher. The pool is large enough to accommodate more than one so neither of us felt crowded. For the next two hours we took over a dozen fish all on emerger patterns. The sun was warm, the fish were willing and the poor guy who came in at the Power station side, hemmed in by deep water and a lack of back casting room, had to watch our whole episode. Lesson – fish the Kempfield from the north side!!!!

Now back cast to 1992. It’s a misty, foggy Saturday evening in mid July. I’m fishing the Kempfield at the “Glide” section mentioned above. There is very little action. All this changes as dark descends on the river valley. The glide comes alive with slashing, rising browns. The mist begins to turn to a light steady rain but the surface action will not stop. Every brown is caught on a size 14 olive comparadun on an upstream drift until one fish breaks me off. Damn it! No, I didn’t have a flashlight so this exciting but sublime evening is over. On the way home I decided to stop at the late and dearly lamented Highland CafĂ© for a brew or three and to vow to buy a pocket light the next day. At the pool table stands Jerry Doiron, the genius who invented the Regal Vise. He looks up from studying his next shot and says “how many?” I hold up all fingers from one hand and three from the other. “Then what the hell are you doing here?” he said as he continued to survey the table. “Don’t ask” is all I could say.

This was one of the summer evenings that define a fly fishers life. This is what we do - right?? I think so! Email me for a Millers River Fly Fishers Guide. IT"S FREE!!!!

Ken

Friday, January 9, 2015

Revisiting A Reliable Caddis Pattern



I had an enjoyable dinner last night at the Sole Proprietor in Worcester with my friend Brad who appears to have decided to brave this god awful January here in New England instead of his normal haunts in the U.S. Virgin Islands. A brave man! He asked me to bring some pin heads and a caddis emerger pattern that I had posted about. I brought the pin heads but was a bit confused about this caddis. He described it and then the lights went on. This is a good pattern that I should be fishing more often on riffle environments because it does really work. How do I know enough to make this statement? Here's the answer.

Backcast to the late 1980's. I'm working the Deerfield River at the Cold River junction with a friend Rick Flamatti. I am catching fish but he is really catching fish. It is almost obscene regarding his catch rate and his position isn't really any different than mine. Soooo I asked to see his fly. It's simple and it looks like a caddis.

Hook - size 10 to 14 scud hook
Body - fuzzy dark grey or light grey natural fur like rabbit or beaver. Make it fuzzy
Hackle - some wisps of grouse/partridge, not too heavy.
Collar - brown or black ostrich tied over the hackle

Fish this on freestone rivers that have lots of large/midsize caddis in May and June (Millers). Fish it anyway you want but when you see the first of those dull caddis in the air don't go dry fly, go this fly!!

NOTE: Did some research on this blog and found that I had written about this pattern about five years ago and the posts are almost identical. Sorry for repeating myself. I'll blame Brad for getting me to think about this fly. It's a good fly!!

Think Spring and hit the Swift when the weather is good.

Ken

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Time To Tie Flies - A Retro Fly Revisted


Years ago, before the emerger entered the fly fishing language, we had a simple group that represented the aquatic insect stage: the nymph, the wet fly and the dry fly. I'll center the discussion on the second in the group.

Decades ago the fly fishing catalogs had pages of wet flies. Many of the offerings were real throwbacks to early 20th century brook trout patterns which were probably the first "attractor" patterns - gaudy, bright creations that didn't resemble any insect but caught gullible trout. But there were others that had the color, shape and profile to give a passable representation of a natural insect. And they caught trout, lots of trout!!!! Now the catalogs are empty of them. Some have said that their use is beneath us. Use an emerger, it's more scientific! But there is a time and place for the old patterns and one pattern is the Millers Sedge.

No, it's not an old pattern since I concocted it about a dozen years ago. It's created to represent a caddis fly drifting through fast choppy water. The wet fly wing gives it an easily seen profile and the colors shout "caddis" although it can be used during a number of larger mayfly hatches.

Hook - Mustad wet fly size 10 - 12 (I said it was a retro fly. That's why the Mustad hook!)

Body - olive, yellow, brown or dark orange dubbing. The orange works especially when the pumpkin caddis are doing their thing.

Hackle - brown grizzly. I take those useless black/white grizzly capes, split them down the middle and dye them a useful color. Brown is one of them.

Tail - same as the hackle if you want to add one.

Wing - A wide but short slip(s) of turkey wing (matched). Now, if you are under 40 years old this part will drive you crazy because the wing wants to separate when tied in. Back in the day we knew the tricks to prevent this but a short cut is to apply some clear glue to the non shiny side of the feathers.

I've swung this fly from the Kempfield Section down to the Bridge Street Pool on the Millers for years. It still works even on those intelligent browns.

Good Luck!

Ken

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Goodbye 2014 - A Good Year



It was a good year on the three rivers that I love to fish.

The Swift became a brook trout fishery almost overnight. Sure, there were brookies there before but not like this year. Even the fly hatches seemed better than normal. Maybe it was that hallowen snow storm in 2011 that left all the downed trees in in the river. It improved the nutrient load which the river really needed. More food, more bugs, more fish.

The EB - This past summer was cooler and wetter than normal and that was perfect for the EB!. The dry spell starting in mid August didn't hurt the trout population because the daytime temperatures never really spiked and the nights were cool. It was a May through November season that did not disappoint. Let's hope that next year is a repeat performance.

The Millers - If we could have a June, July and August season where the river isn't flooded out, like before 2008, I would be a happy man. I will say that May through mid June worked out nicely and when the flow was manageable we had some very good fishing for rising browns at dusk.

Check March 8, 2015 on your calendar. It's the start of daylight savings time. It's my unofficial First Day Of SPRING and that means the start of evening fishing at least on the Swift It may be 60 degrees or it may be snowing but we will be heading in the right direction.

Happy New Year and thank you for reading my blog!

Ken

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Winding The Season Down - Some Thoughts


Fact - More brand new fly rods will have their maiden cast on December 26 and December 27 on the Swift than in all other days of the year combined.

Fact - There are people who fish the Pipe and ONLY the Pipe every time they go to the Swift.

Fact - There are people who fish above Rt 9 and ONLY above Rt 9 every time they go to the Swift.

Fact - The two month parade of spawning brook trout has come to an end or at least to a trickle. It was great while it lasted.

Fact - The rainbows have turned their attention to scuds which they do every winter. They also like a certain egg pattern introduced to me by Matt and now shared with Tony and Evan. I'll talk about that early next year.

Fact - I like photos of swirling trout especially trout that you can't see but know are there.

Have a Merry Christmas and Hopefully you'll be able to make it into your waders before years end.

Ken