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.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Swift - High Water And Smelt

Well, all of this rain and snow has finally had it's effect on the Swift River. A month ago we were fishing in a 40cfs current and as of Christmas week we passed 250 and have settled (hopefully) in the mid 260's. There is, no doubt, plenty of overflow from the Quabbin dam and once this condition starts it usually lasts for weeks or even months. Check out the video clip above and then backcast to the clip on my 11/22/08 post. It's the same section with 5 times the current. I find that 300cfs is about where I call it off as far as fishing goes down at the pipe. I then begin to look above Rt 9 or fish by the gauge station from the west bank. The wading is much safer.

Just before I left one of the hatchery workers asked if I had any smelt patterns. He said the intake screens were full of them. That may have caused that massive, slashing rise I saw a half hour before. It certainly wasn't a rainbow chasing an insect.

Time to tie up some Joe's Smelts.

Ken

Monday, December 22, 2008

Kim's Special - A Good Millers Fly


My friend Kim, a Millers River regular, seems to carry only two flies in his fly box. First, he is loaded with size 12 muddlers and then he has this fly. "My friend ties it and it doesn't have a name" is all he could give me concerning it's origin. He gave me one last Spring and as I eyeballed it I noticed that it was simplicity, pure and simple. First thing that I noticed is that it had NO BODY, just a bare hook shank and that there were only two materials involved in it's design. I added a body (sorry Kim, I couldn't help it) of mylar which may or may not improve it's effectiveness.
This is a good fly that is fished as a searching pattern in the early evening before one sees real surface activity. It works best just below the surface either dead drifted or on a quartering cast. It is easy to tie:
Hook - mustad wet fly #12
Body - mylar
Wing - bronze mallard tied flat on the top of the shank and folded arond the sides of the hook.
Hackle - soft hen or partridge in a dark brown color.
That's it! I was a bit skeptical of it's slendor profile but the browns love to smack this thing whether it's fished in fast water or on a silky run. I've been calling it the "Kim's Special" for want of a name. I guess that name will stick.
Ken

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Seasons Greetings


A great run on the Lower Millers
Well, the seasonal activities and the weather have kept me off the water for 10 straight days which is the longest fishless stretch for me since early March. With a big storm coming this Friday and some late Christmas shopping on Saturday it appears that I might have to wait till the 26th or the 27th before I wrap up this year.
Winter naturally slows things down. The Swift will be the only game in town unless I find myself spending a day or two on the Farmington and there will be the January flyfishing show in Marlboro but this is the time of year where we put in hours at the vise, the snow swirling and the mercury dropping as we dream of Spring days and Hendricksons! Last year I posted some fly patterns that work well on the Millers and the Swift. (check the posts for 3/1, 3/10, and 5/27) There will be more within the next few months so stay tuned.
Want to know where that beautiful run is that's included in this post? Well, just send for my Fly Fishers Guide To The Millers River. Just send a check for $10.00 and your email address to Ken Elmer, 42 Water St., Leeds, Ma. 01053 and I'll email you the Guide. It's over 30 pages long with over 20 great photos of each section. I've received great reviews this year concerning the Guide and it's helped a lot of fly fishers get to know this river.
In case I don't post within the next few days - Merry Christmas to all of you!!
Ken

Monday, December 8, 2008

Winter On The Swift




Sunday morning, December 7th, found me brushing the first snow of the season off my car at 7am. It seemed like it was just a short time ago when I had to get up at 5am to beat the crowds on the Swift. That's Summer fishing. Now it's a slower pace and the crowds are mostly gone. Snow and cold will do that!
I fished leisurely from the crib dam below Rt 9 through the "pipe" and then through the riffles and flats that extend below the pipe section. I saw only two other flyfishers during those two hours. My rig was a SJW with a scud below it. It was the scud that attracted all of the attention just like the previous trip.
The top left photo was taken around the gauge station on the lower river. I'm on the left side facing upstream. This run never fails me. The other photo is of one of the rainbows taken from that run. Try it the next time you're there.
Ken

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

NH Fly Tying Instruction

Flyfishers,

If you live in southern or central New Hamphire (or in northeastern Ma.) and would like to learn the craft of tying flies which will save you many $$$$ and give you hours of off-season fishing related pleasure then just hit the link on this page for "Fly Fish New England". Here you will find the info that you will need for a fly tying course, taught by flyfishermen, at a price that you can't beat. Check it out!!!

Ken

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Day After Thanksgiving - The Swift River



Up at 5:30am, some fast coffee and a bagel and then off to the Swift. Traffic was light but probably not an hour before. The parking lots for BEST BUY anf TARGET were JAMMED with those who actually thought that they would save some $$$ or get something in short supply! Enough of that! Made the water at the "pipe" at 7:00. First one there. Moments later a regular showed up and within less then two hours I was one of SIX working that crowded venue. I had a few taps but no landed fish so I decided to work the section from the crib dam downstream. Good choice! I fished with an indicator (seldom used by me) and a red SJW. I crossed just above the stream gauge and made my way upstream. The result-2 hours by myself with six hard fighting rainbows coming to the net. The video is kind of funny. Here I am with a rod in my right hand and a camera in my left hand. There's no way that I can bring that fish to the net with one hand! I guess I need a cameraman for that stunt. I played that fish longer then I should of but it flew off when I released it so all is well, I hope. I did shoot a photo of it before it's release.

This "crib dam" section is really a charm. It doesn't have the numbers (trout) that the pipe has but the fishing is sublime. Trout come out of nowhere and one has the place to oneself. The section around the gauge station produced really well and remember, this is a section that most just walk by to get to the honey hole downstream.

When I left I saw two flyfishers right below the crib dam. One had a fish on. This is a good place!!

Maybe I'll make a New Year Resolution NOT to fish the pipe if there are more then two other anglers in that section. Maybe!

Ken

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The "Gorge Section" Of The Westfield River












The "Gorge" section of the Westfield River! This is an incredible place to get away from it all and fish in a beautiful, remote place that is easily within the idea of a "day trip" in Massachusetts. The photos in this post were taken during a 4 mile hike through the C&R section of the "Gorge" on a September Saturday where I took photos of the ONLY fishermenn that I saw. (I did the same trip two years ago during a weekend in May and saw just a few more anglers). I saw countless runs and pools that were EMPTY of fishermen during this long walk. The long walk was on a dirt road that ran along the river that gave easy access to anywhere along the river. It is the only road that you will see!! If you are a vetern of TU's "Indian Hollow" weekends you might be interested to know that
all of this water is ABOVE the area that you will commonly fish on that occasion. So much water!!!!!
I moved to this area in July and have been slogging around trying to find a spot that looked good. So far I haven't been skunked!! There are plenty of trout around and although I've heard word that the fishing dies off during the summer months I am inclined to not believe it. There are enough deep holding areas that will provide refuge for trout. A prolonged drought might change this but that is the case for most freestone streams. The morning sun arrives late and the afternoon shadows come early to this river section. It is TROUT LAND!!
Everything will work here from WB's to small BWO's. Just have a good assortment of freestone flies and you will be set regardless of the season.
HOW GET THERE - Take Rt9 out of Northampton, through Williamsburg, to Rt 143. Go uphill to Chesterfield and then go downhill to a bridge over the Westfield River. Take the left after the bridge and then look for a sign for the "Westfield River Gorge" on the left. Take that left. Go past the TRUSTEES OF RESERVATIONS" parking lot and follow the dirt road (be careful of road conditions). You will find a number of TURNOFFS for the next two miles until you come to a gate. Any of these turnoffs are adjacent to great pools and runs. Beyond the gate are more great pools and runs. Knock yourself out here, guys!! This place is Great!!
Remember, the "Gorge" Section is just a piece of the "East Branch" which does not include the upper section which includes the "Pork Barrel". I haven't mentioned the "Middle Branch" or the "West Branch" or the "Main River" which all of the previous mentioned sections flow into. I think one could say "give me the Gorge on a June evening and you can have the rest of the world - I won't need it!" (I lifted the last statement from someone who years ago said the same thing about the Beaverkill River in May).
BTW, the LADY in the second photo is my girlfriend who caught her first fly caught trout on the Swift River late this summer. She did well on the Westfield on the day this picture was taken. I think she's hooked!!
Happy Thanksgiving,
Ken



Sunday, November 23, 2008

Cold Morning On The Swift

What a difference a week makes!! On Sat. Nov.15 I was met with temps. in the mid fifties and a light rain that morphed into a downpour while on the Swift. One week later I'm on the lower C&R of the Swift at dawn with the temps. in the mid teens and a steady wind out of the north. I stayed from 7am until 8:30, took three 'bows and then went home. I was able to capture some of this early morning experiencewith a video camera which proves that I was the only one there. I went back in the afternoon to see if I could record some fish catching action for this blog by other anglers but the few souls who were there looked half frozen and were just going through the motions.

I have some footage of a tustle with a rainbow for another post. Seems that you can't take a video of a fish and have a chance of catching it either.

Ken

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The "Pellet Fly" On The Swift


Maybe you've heard of it or maybe you haven't but one of the oddities that you will find on this stream is a critter called the "pellet fly". In short it's nothing more then a piece of cork shaped like a trout pellet that is lashed to a hook. It accounts for (at times) some outstanding catches. One long time flyfisher of this stream says that it will catch trout between every 5 to 10 casts. He mentions that this fly ONLY works from the hatchery pipe outflow downstream for a few dozen yards. I can't claim any success with it because I can't bring myself to tie it or use it but I've talked to a few that have used it and they praise it's effectivness.
Why was this fly developed? It's simple. Every so often one will see the "pipe" area explode with slashing rising trout. The mayhem lasts for a minute or two and then stops. It may happen again within a few minutes or it may not. The "logic" is that they are feeding trout in the hatchery and the excess pellets make their way through the outflow. This logic doesn't hold up to scrutiny. Yes, trout will "remember" pellets as food and will strike regardless of any trout feeding activity in the hatchery. Hence the success of the pellet fly but I believe, due to my past experience of working for a commercial trout hatchery, that this explosive feeding activity is due to the regular cleaning maintainence that is done at the hatchery.
Every trout hatchery has this in common: a series of troughs which are interconnected. All of the outflow is sent to "settling ponds" which capture the waste before it is sent to the (Swift) river. Most of the pellets are fed to fish and are consumed by fish. The remainder make their way to the settling ponds where they may or may not dissolve. To have a flush of pellets make their way through the pond and into the river ( a long journey in this case) to cause rapid feeding of river trout is a stretch. The rapid feeding of trout below the pipe is most likely caused by the cleaning of troughs and screens just before the final outflow from the hatchery. I've witnessed this before at the hatchery that I worked at. The screens and the sides of the troughs are loaded with a bazillion tiny organisms that trout will feed upon. They are flushed out in mass and this is what causes dozens of trout to start their short lived feeding frenzy. Yes, there will be some pellets in the mix and like I said trout have a good memory and will hit them but the bulk of the feeding is due to something else, not necessarily pellets.
Use the pellet fly if you must. Maybe someday I might too but don't bet on it.
The above photo shows the effective range of this "fly". Good luck!!
Ken

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Crib Dam On The Swift


It seems that most fly fishers that make the trip to the Swift will either head for the "Y" Pool area or the "Hatchery Pipe". I am guilty of hitting the latter more often then not but there are times when the crowds, which will include some flyfishing classes, become just a bit too much. That's when I hit the "Crib Dam" (some call it the Iceman Dam) for some elbow room and great fishing.
It can be easily reached by parking in the Pipe parking lot and heading straight for the gauge structure. You can make out the dam which lies a 100 yds or so upstream. Cross the river at this point (water level permitting) and make your way upstream because it's best fished from the opposite bank.
The pool above the dam ALWAYS holds rising fish but its the broken water below the dam where I've had the most success. You can fish all the way down to the hatchery intake and usually have all of it to yourself. After that you can always check for a vacancy below the pipe!!
The photo above shows the approach to the crib dam from below. Good water!!!
Ken

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Season On The Millers


I'm afraid this is it, the end of the season for the Millers. It's been the same ending for the last 20+ seasons. The rains come, the river rises and the great Fall dry fly action sadly comes to an end. Notice that I said "dry fly action". You can still go out and brave the 600 cfs current and toss weighted buggers with 6wts (I might still do that) but the rising fish will be very far and few between. There will be the yearly Fall draw down of Tully Lake which should keep the river up through this month. I can only recall one year, 1994, where the water was low enough to fish successfully in late November. Overall, we have been plagued by high water events from July till now which will label this year as "so-so". I'm still greatful for the good days of this past Summer/Fall and can only hope that next year will be better.

The Westfield and the Swift - Maybe I should change the name of this forum since I've spent so much time on these rivers. The Westfield is new to me and my exploring of this river the last few months has made me fall in love with it. Great water, great scenery and lots of rainbows which do very well here. No crowds either!! The C&R section at Chesterfield Gorge is a true gem!! My last trip there was on 11/5 and although I was only there for an hour I took 3 'bows on a small pheasant tail.

The Swift- This will be home for the next 4 months. Fishing for selective trout with tiny drys in the dead of winter is something that has to be experienced. I've taken a few dozen (that's one in the above photo) over the last few weeks on the lower C&R on everything from small SJW's and scuds to #24 midges. We are lucky to have this river.

The season, except for the Millers, never ends.

Ken

Monday, November 3, 2008

High Water= Go To The Swift

I made two trips to the Swift over the last seven days for one simple and now redundant reason- the rains blew out the Millers and the Westfield. This past saturdays' trip was interesting. I got down to the "pipe" at 7am and found myself alone for over an hour. By 9:30 I had company but it wasn't too crowded and the group was pretty cordial. All told I hooked 14 and landed 5. I started with #14 and #16 scuds and ended up chasing those famous reluctant risers who appeared to be chasing some emerging grey midges. My smallest fly was a #22 and I wished that I had some #26 or smaller because the response to the #22 was so-so to say the least. In any event it was a good day which ended with a large 'bow in the fast water below the crib dam just upstream on a hot pink SJW.

The Millers is still running in the 500cfs range - good for slinging WBs' but not for the surface action that I'm still looking for. The East Branch of the Westfield (Gorge) has come down nicely and that may be worth a trip soon. I REALLY LIKE THAT RIVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ken

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Westfield, Millers and the Swift

During the last two weeks I've been able to fish the Westfield (a short trip but plenty of rainbows), the Millers and two trips to the Swift.

On Friday, the 17th, I found myself on the lower Millers during the late afternoon. A walk up to the Upper Trestle Pool produced one hit. I have to say that this beautiful pool has been "off" this year. The surface action has not been as it was years ago. Maybe next year.

An hour later I worked the Kempfield section. The big, flat water brought 4 browns to the net with another 4 escaping this angler. Again it was the #18 BWO which was the king for the day.

When I started fishing the temperature was about 60 degrees. By 6pm it had dropped into the mid 40's and even though I was dressed for cool weather I could feel the change in the season as I left the water for the walk back to the car. At this time of year I wonder, as I leave the river for the trip home, if this will be the last trip of the season to the Millers River. It's been that way for the last 24 seasons. Hopefully.........

Sunday morning and it has poured all night. I can hear the river outside my kitchen roaring and a quick look at the online guages show that the Millers and the Westfield are blown out again. But the pre-dawn sky is clear so off to the reliable Swift. What a day!! I landed the largest brookie that I have caught in Ma. George said it was 17 inches but it was more like 15 inches and loaded with fall spawning color. Another brookie, about 13 inches followed that, and another 4 more came to the net. All told I had 14 trout, 8 'bows and 6 brookies. I also saw a 'bow that easily passed the 20 inch mark caught by another angler. It was a deep colored fish that had been in the river for some time.

The Flies - SCUDS, #14 and #16.

The days are growing shorter. Flyfish NOW!!

Ken

Monday, October 13, 2008

Birthday Browns

It was nice to have the Columbus Day holiday off. First, it happened to be my birthday, the weather was great and I was chasing browns again on the Millers. The large pool at the end of the Kempfield Section had just enough surface action to keep me busy for the short 1 1/2 that I had to pursue this sport today. A BWO or two, (all around #18) brought the trout up. The result was two browns between 14-16 inches and dark and shiny rainbow about 12 inches fooled by my #18 olive comparadun emerger.

I wish I could have stayed longer.

Ken

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Millers River - Sunday, October 5th

An Autumn Brown from the Millers
The Kempfield Pool
It was one of those bluebird days, great for leafbeeping but not so good for flyfishing. At least that is how I feel about clear, blue skies but the Millers had dropped into the 300cfs range and that was good enough for me. My time was limited and not at the prime time of late afternoon so there I was at 3pm with two hours to make something happen.
I began to cross the lower trestle at the top of the Kempfield section when I saw that two fly fishers had taken up the area below the island. I entered the water above them but in 20 minutes they reeled up and left. I fished through their section and saw no rising fish but a glimpse downstream revealed what looked like a rise. Fallfish?? A late season bass?? As I made my way down to investigate more rises were spied. The water was low enough to get into position for some upstream dry fly fishing - the best!!! It was then that I saw them - OLIVES. Nice #18 sailboats gliding down the current. It didn't seem like BWO weather but I didn't complain. In short, 5 browns and 1 dark, handsome rainbow came to the net.
Soon it was over and so was my time for the day. I had no complaints because this is what I dream about all year long. Autumn on the Millers with clear, low water and rising trout. I had done well in that short time and that memory will hold me through the long winter which is just around the corner.
Fish the Millers now! Water levels are good and will stay good if the rain holds off.
Good Luck,
Ken

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Flyfisher 3 Great Blue Herron 0

Took the last hour and a half of the days light to fish the lower Swift. I took three very dark, heavy rainbows on scuds and hotspots. My companion was a blue herron who on three attempts missed snatching his trout. This bird was not as large as some I've seen and was probably born last Spring and needed to acquire some better fishing skills. The Swift can be difficult for all of us, human and bird alike. This guy had no fear and at one time was about 15 ft from me. Next time I'll take a camera along.

The Millers is coming down - slowly.

Maybe Sunday...

Ken

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Here we go again!! The Swift saves the day

Rain again!!!!!

Up at 5:30am, rain all night, checked the stream flows and headed for the Swift. I found the Y pool parking lot EMPTY but headed for the pipe section where I found one flyfisher. We had a good morning. I took 10 'bows in three hours, all of them over 14 inches on scuds, hotspots and jailbirds. These were all "dark" fish having been in the river for some time. By 10:00am the surface activity began but I struck out on that level.

I'm hoping that the Millers level doesn't climb above where it is now (high 400cfs) but I'm not counting on it. If it stays where it is I'll be there but it doesn't look good.

I'd do anything to fish for those rising browns in the Millers!!

We will see.......

Ken

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Westfield And The Millers

I've spent some time as of late on the East Branch of the Westfield fishing the "Gorge" section. This place has been a surprise - great dry fly fishing through the pocket water of this wild and beautiful river. The flies have been bushy caddis, high floating with light colored deer hair for visibility and the rainbows attack them!! There has been the story that this river gets too warm to fish through the summer. This summer, with all the rain, made great conditions for the rivers' rainbows. I now live 15 minutes from this spot so it will be visited many times over.

The Millers - Be careful what you wish for. I wished for a rainy summer to keep the water level up and my prayers were answered x 5!!!!!!!!!! Yesterday the water level made it down below 500 cfs so I worked the Kempfield section and landed 7 browns and broke another off. The last 3 chased my dry caddis fly. There was no real steady rise due to the water which is still high but one could see the occasional surfacing trout and that fish would become my target.

Let's hope that the next 4 to 6 weeks are dry to keep the river fishable.

See you there.

Ken

Monday, September 8, 2008

Just When Things Got Good.....

As you know, I had a great evening on the Millers over the Labor Day weekend chasing skinny water browns with dry flies and from the emails I received I wasn't the only one having fun. That fun lasted until this past Saturday when Hanna blew through and raised the water level by a factor of 10!!!!!!!!!!!!! So, Sunday morning found me on the reliable Swift where I scored a hat trick by taking three species of trout - 11 rainbows, two brookies and a brown. They fell to an assortment of sunken flies ranging from hotspots to scud patterns. The rainbows had a great color to them and were certainly not freshly stocked fish but the brookies were beyond words!! The only thing that beats a sugar maple in full Fall color is a brookie in spawning garb. They were almost there!! Yes, I should of brought my camera.

Took a side trip last week to the Westfield Gorge C&R. This place has the reputation of not holding up too well in the summer but this wet July must have helped carry the rainbows over. I fished a dry caddis through some shallow riffles and the 'bows just attacked that fly. I'll be back there once the waters receed.

Keep an eye on the Millers. (use the link on this blog) Once the river hits 450cfs drop everything and go fly fishing.

Ken

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Late August Evening On The Millers


Finally, the Millers has come down to seasonable levels and I have the time to fish it. I made my way down to the Kempfield Pool around 5pm on Friday, the 29th. Things looked promising - clouds were coming in from the west which would take the sun off the water and speed up any surface activity for the evening. One has to remember that it gets dark by 8pm now instead of 9-9:30pm as it did just two months ago. I was ready.
The first rises were random with no real feeding pattern. They were also pretty showy which is usually a sign of caddis activity but soon the sulphurs stole the show and the browns really made their appearance. I took seven browns - all good sized fish with great color. All of these browns were fooled by a size 16 sulphur comparadun. It's the second year in a row that we have had good sulphur hatches this late in the season.
The best dry fly fishing on the Millers starts now and lasts through mid October. Experience it NOW!!
Ken


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Back To Normal

In over 20 years of fly fishing the Millers I can say that I have never seen a summer as wet and wild as 2008!! This river has not been "normal" with all of this rain since late June. July had 6 inches of parcipitation as recorded at the Birch Hill station. The first two weeks of August were also very wet. Mid summer on this river means dry fly action but all of that got blown away with all the high water. This condition found me fishing the Swift which has been awesome. But things are now coming back to normal on the Millers. I guided two gents on the evening of August 21. The water was still high but very fishable with a few trout working the surface. The rains helped the rainbows which are still in the river! The sulphurs are there in the evening as they were late last summer and that's a very good thing.

Now is the time to work this river. The Millers will become an afternoon/evening river in September so barring more heavy rains we should have long hours casting to rising trout.

See you there.

Ken

Thursday, August 7, 2008

More On the Swift River

Well, It's been four trips to the Swift in the last eight days and all of them have been very interesting. First, I haven't used anything larger than a size 18 and that was just for a very short time. Second, serendipities in hot red have produced very well as has tiny scud patterns. There's been some decent dry fly fishing using black emergers in sizes 20 and 22. All of this takes some of the sting out of not being on the Millers which has been very high for the last two weeks. The Millers should be fishable this weekend but the little Swift has been so good as of late that I might give the Millers another week. We'll see.

One more thing. It seems that most of the fishing on the Swift is centered around the "Y" Pool and the Hatchery Pipe. I'm guilty of that too but I've been exploring a bit. The above photo is the beautiful stretch above the old crib dam. Check it out.

Ken

Monday, July 28, 2008

Saturday, July 26 - back at the Swift

Unbelievable!! Every freestone river is totally blown out by this series of late July gullywashers. As I write this my Millers River is over 2000cfs!!!! The whitewater kyak season is back. I think it will be safe to say that our fears of low water conditions have been washed away for the next few weeks. All of this led me to the Swift this past Saturday morning. My plan was simple. The lw flowing Swift would be a magnet for fly anglers in search of fishable water and an early arrival would be necessary. So, out of bed at 4:30am and on the river by 5:45am. I did it! Did I need to do it? Well, not exactly. I saw only one other fly fisher in the next five hours. It was fun anyway. Oh yes, I was at the "Pipe" section.

The fishing - I took around 12 'bows with a orange scud taking most of them. Most were 12 inch+ fish. The other fly fisher took about twice as many and was fishing a 3 fly rig.

I have a feeling that this weather that has sent most rivers to near flood stage will have a delayed effect on the Swift. That's usually the case. Quabbin will be slow to fill but in a few weeks may crest the spillway and raise the Swift to 400+ cfs like late this winter.

I hope not.

Ken

Thursday, July 24, 2008

July 22 - High Water means a Swift River Trip

Thank God for the Swift River. With every river and stream now approaching 10 to 15 times their average flow the deminutive Swift stays low and clear and COLD! I went the Tuesday night for a few hours. The fishing was slow but the trout that I caught were all large and hard fighters.

The location was the "Pipe" area. The rainbows were all caught on different flies but they were all either size 18 or 20 and mostly a dark color. The "hotspot" worked well.

The Millers will be more of a kyak course than a trout stream for most of the next week. See you on the Swift!!

Ken

Monday, July 14, 2008

Saturday, July 12th

I've been told that the parking area for the Kempfield section had been full during mid-morning today. Too bad because daytime trout fishing on the Millers has entered the summer doldrums. It's a VERY early morning and evening fishery until late August right now but you wouldn't believe it from this report. Saturday night was slow. I spent two hours (7-9pm) casting dries to every likely spot on the great section. My take was one rainbow. I saw no surface activety until the very end when I saw a rise in the large pool at the tail of this section. I made my way down there and was greeted by only the occasional soft rise right up until dark. There were only the occasional caddis and dark mayfly in the air so I used a size 16 olive comparadun (a favorite) to see if I could get a rise. In the "almost dark" conditions I had a brown leave the water and lunge at my offering. A slight tug was all that I felt. I called it quits at that encounter.

It was a good night, conditions wise. Not too warm, no breeze to speak of, the water level was perfect. The browns SHOULD of been active but they wern't. Sometimes that happens. This is what occurs on the best of rivers and it was the Millers turn that evening.

20 years on this river makes me believe that this was the exception and not the rule.

I'll be back!!

Ken

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Fourth of July


The Kempfield Pool was devoid of fly fishers as I began to look for rising trout. An odd fly, tied with no body with just a bronze mallard wing and a tight collar of light blue hen hackle was the fly of choice. My friend Kim, a local fish hawk, gave it to me. He knows his "stuff" and that was good enough for me. First, this fly is designed to sink but the first ten casts and the first two trout (browns) liked it on the surface. Both of these fish were between 14 and 16 inches. Then a rainbow made its appearance. (see photo) It's late for rainbows on this river but the water is still high and that's helping them.
Soon I saw a rise or should I say an "explosion"! It occured between two rocks that were just beginning to break the surface. This fish, most likely a large brown, would rise only every ten minutes or so. I threw everything at it from every angle. No runs, no hits, no errors but no fish. One more brown was caught a few yards above this fish but that was the evening.
Some advice when fishing the Kempfield Pool. Fish the areas above any rocks that break the surface.
Ken

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Thunder, Lightning and a beautiful brown

This was my second trip out today. The first, starting around 6:30am, found me down on the lower river at the Bridge Street Pool below Farley Flats in Erving. I was chasing a rumor of some diehard rainbows caught recently in this great holding pool. No rainbows came to the net but a brown of around 14 inches did. Around 8:00 I headed upstream to the center of Orange and found my friend Kim who had just released his 6th fish - all 'bows and taken on a muddler. This spot is one of the last strongholds for rainbows in the Millers before the conditions get too hard for them. Two hydro plants provide a good mix of oxygen for the trout and they tend to hang tough there. It's never been a great place for browns.

Things have changed!!

At 5:30pm I headed out to Wendell Depot but was greeted with the sound of thunder. The storm seemed to be heading north of my spot but as I entered the water I saw a flash of lightning. That was it for Wendell Depot. So, without getting out of my waders I headed east and upstream about four miles to where I met my friend this morning. No signs of a storm up there so in I went.

The first hit seemed feisty but light. My first thought was "smallie" but as I brought the fish in it began to look different. It turned out to be a FIVE INCH BROWN!!!! What spots!!! The color looked like butter at the bottom of a sautee pan. It was then that I remembered that I left my camera at home. I began to fumble for my cell phone (pants pocket beneath my waders) when the WILD BROWN slipped out of my hand and threw off the soft hackle fly.

Another brown came to the net soon after. It was around 14 inches and fought like a bulldog. Then two rainbows got into the act. Another word about these 'bows. Before they disappear they begin to take on a dark hue in this river. Almost a copper color. I love brown trout in the Millers because they are survivors but the rainbows now and through the summer (rarely) are truly beautiful.

It was a great night!!

Ken

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Swift - Wednesday June 25

The Millers is blown out. 1400cfs as of this morning. I cancelled an evening guide trip for today and headed for greener pastures (waters) on the Swift River. The "Y" Pool parking lot was full on this late afternoon and I fully expected the lot for the "Pipe" to be crowded also. As it turned out I was the only one there. There may be a reason for this "lonely" fishing. We've had to endure six months of catch and keep regulations and some active poaching in this section. Some poachers have been arrested, thankfully, but many trout have been creeled which has thinned out the population which in turn has thinned out the fly fishermen. It was strange to fish this area for 1 1/2 hours and have it all to myself. I took four - two rainbows and two browns. One brown was a brute of sixteen inches that peeled line from my reel like a striper. It was taken at the head of the deep run below the pipe. He almost made it to the fallen tree that crosses that pool before I turned it around. Everything was taken on a #16 hotspot.

I love this little gem of a tailwater! It is my savior during the winter and is my destination when the Millers is high or when I can only fish during the day during the hot summer.

I'll be hitting the Millers soon.

Ken

Monday, June 23, 2008

Vacation - no more striper fishing

That's it for me. The 8wt is stowed away, the clousers are on the shelf. I had to say that I missed trout fishing. Now the river is rising fast (900cfs in Erving) which will be good for the long run but make things tricky for the rest of the week. I'll keep you posted.

Ken

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Millers Report - The Heat Wave

On June 6th the air temperature was 59 degrees in the early evening and I had great dry fly action in the Bears Den. 24 hours later the temperature was 89 and I caught six browns at the tail of Rezendes Pool. Forward cast to last night, June 11th. The heat had broken but my total was one brown in one hour of fishing. Did our first heat wave kill off the trout? No way! They are just "down" like we were during that spell. Tonight the temps will be in the mid 50's which will get them active again but only early in the morning or at dusk. It's the way it's been on this river for the 20+ years that I've been fishing it. Summer is here and the game has changed. If you want "bankers hours" angling then go to the Swift or the Deerfield but hit the Millers on the way home. That's when the browns start playing!!

Off to Plum Island for a week of chasing stripers, eating lobster, drinking wine, beachcombing and generally forgetting that I actually work for a living. Don't forget to carry those olive soft hackles when you hit the Millers. Have some sulphers in sizes 14-16 too.

Later,

Ken

Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Gorge Pool, Rezendes and a Secret Fly




The Gorge Pool - This may be one of the most tempting places to drift a fly on the Millers. It also has a legacy that goes back decades. Rodney Flagg of Flagg's Flies remembers fishing its depths 60 years ago and our late friend Bob Rouleau fished it 70 years ago. It was also known as the Gorge Pool "back then" and even though someone has tried to "rename" it with a sign it will always be known by its traditional name to those who love the place.
First, it's actually two pools which we label "upper" and "lower". The upper is about a hundred yards long with the lower being twice that length. Second, you could almost label them "swimming holes" due to their great depth. Last night, with the Bears Den section running at a low 130cfs, I could of easily gone over my waders in either section.
The fishing - I took six browns between the two sections last night. A large, dark nymph (pretty generic) swung through the current did the trick. There was one hit that stole the show. Whatever it was struck the fly, ripped line from my reel, cleared the water and then threw the hook. It looked like a rainbow and fought like one too.
The Gorge Pool is in the Bears Den C&R section and is seldom fished because it requires a 5-10 minute walk to get there. Find out more about it by ordering my "Guide to the Millers". Instructions on how to receive it are mentioned on one of my May posts.
Oh, I almost forgot. As darkness began to fall Rezendes Pool came alive with chasing caddis and my "secret fly" took an additional four browns. I'll post the secret fly and how to tie it in the near future - maybe!!
Ken

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Bears Den Evening With Charlie




I had the pleasure last night of fishing the Bears Den section of the Millers with Charlie Shadan, the owner of the great Evening Sun Fly Shop. Charlie is fun to fish with, pure and simple! We started with a walk down to the Gorge Pool. This is great water and although we didn't have any insect activety to speak of we did spot one rising brown which Charlie brought to the net with a nymph in short order. After an hour or two we hop-scotched our way to the First Run where browns began to actively chase a hatch of caddis. I landed two on a Moby Dick tied wet style but was humbled by one brown that was rising along a seam in the current. I handed the chore over to Charlie who, on the second cast, caught and released this fish as darkness fell.
Good weather, good company and willing trout. Who can beat that!!
I have a link to The Evening Sun Fly Shop on this site. Check it out. Better than that, go pay a visit to Charlie's place. It is a fly fishers haven, fully stocked with great gear and materials. If you have questions then just ask Charlie who is a deep well of information about everything that is fly fishing.
Ken

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Millers River - an unexpected trip




I found myself with a few hours to kill (fly fish) on the Millers one very recent evening. A quick stop at the end of the lower C&R in Erving yielded two small rainbows to a caddis emerger. Browns were what I wanted to tangle with so I quickly made the short trip to the Kempfield Pool. There was only one other angler and we had a great evening fishing to rising fish. The caddis emerger was replaced with a #14 sulpher emerger and that fly took six browns all being between 14 and 18 inches. Lots of sulphurs were in the air but they were replaced with a BLIZZARD of large, brown caddis commonly called sedges along the river. They flew upstream in WAVES!!! I, of course, made a holy mess of my leader in the middle of this and in the failing light couldn't fix the problem. A lost opportunity!
Two things of note. I broke off a brown but within the hour caught the same fish. The proof was that it had my lost fly in its jaw. That's only the third time that that has happened in 30+ years of fly fishing. The second is the photo at the top of the page. It's of a rising brown just a few feet from me. Fish for it or take the photo? I only had to wait a minute! No, I didn't catch it. The other photo is of a 14-16 inch brown. You can see the sulphur emerger in its jaw.
Ken

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Best Fly For The Millers River


The water levels are down so we can put away the dreaded WB's and really start fly fishing. This is the fly to use, in various sizes, for much of the season.
Olive Emerger -
size 12 - 16 hook (dry or wet style hook)
Body - olive/brown (Evening Sun Fly Shop sells this as Australian Possum - there's some "flash" to it).
Hackle - dark brown partridge. The hackle in the photo is darker than seen here. You can use a lighter shade if you like.
How to fish it - swing this wet fly through the current (no indicators please) and let it rise up at the end of the drift. The browns have been killing it!!!!!!
See you out there!
Ken

Friday, May 23, 2008

Fly Fish The Millers NOW


The last two weeks on the Millers have been dream like. Lots of very eager browns chasing caddis and mayflies (march browns and sulphur-very early for sulphurs) which has resulted in very good dry fly action. It's wonderful to shed the dreaded wooley bugger and that beadhead stuff to chase trout with soft hackles and dry flies. The water is low but still in the '50's. As I have said before- day time fishing will last through the first half of June and then it becomes the realm of the "evening hatch" which will last through the summer.
The browns will always be with us but they have to be catered to. Keep an eye open for the large stoneflies which should be entering center stage shortly. In short- get out there!!!! Large stonefly nymphs when nothing is working the surface, soft hackle flies (olive body and dark partridge hackle) when you see surface action and then the apporpriate dry when the surface action goes crazy.
Catch tout and enjoy it.
Ken

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Brown Trout Heaven And The Fly Fishers Guide To The Millers River





Fly fish the Millers River NOW!!!!!!!!!! From a drizzly late Friday afternoon and a clear, sunny Saturday morning almost 20 browns were taken on two different sections of the Bears Den. Only one was taken on the dreaded WB. All the rest came to a soft hackled fly. Plenty of rising fish made it a great weekend. Remember, the Fly Fishers Guide to the Millers is yours for just $10.00. Send that and your email address and I'll email it to you. Ken Elmer, 121 Pleasant St, Athol Ma. 01331 will do it.
The Millers has lots of browns and lots of action which will last through the summer.
Ken

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Fly Fishers Guide To The Millers River - It's Here!!

Do you want to know where to fly fish on the Millers River? Do you want over 20 years of experience and observations concerning locations, seasons, fly patterns and a boat load of practical advice dealing with this great trout fishery? If the answer is "YES" then let me sent you a copy of the "Fly Fishers Guide To The Millers River". This guide, which is over thirty pages long and has photos and maps of this river, will take the guess work out of planning a REAL trip on the Millers.

To receive the guide just send a check for $10.00 to: Ken Elmer, 121 Pleasant St, Athol, Ma. 01331 AND your email address. As soon as you send the request I'll email you the guide which you can print out. Many have already and they are enjoying fly fishing on the Millers River.

Ken

P.S. This river is HOT right now. Great hatches and great catches!!!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Sunday Evening

Like everyone I had a lot of obligations for Mothers Day that had to be done. I didn't think that any time would be available to cast upon the Millers but as things turned out I got a slight window (1.75 hours) to visit this river. So I made my way down to a section that worked well for me two weeks ago. The water was high due to some crazy fluctuations from the dam operators but I still made it out to a few favorite runs. The first hour was spent fishing close to shore until I braved the current and made it out to a favorite run. Three good sized rainbows came to the net. The fly was a size 8 wb fished deep with a high stick technique. Time flew bye and I could of stayed much longer but one more visit remainded.

This section was not stocked with the browns that I crave. Next time they will be my objective. This one section is not fished by many anglers regardless of their equipment. It's the section just below the dam in Orange. It's a great section to teach a novice the basics about fly fishing. A great riffle that smoothes out to some nice fish holding areas! Watch out for the change in current. Check my link to the Millers-Erving area to see what I mean.

Next trip will be to the lower C&R to play with the browns!

Ken

Friday, May 9, 2008

Browns are in at the lower C&R

800 browns, some of them very large, were stocked in the Wendell Depot section (lower C&R) of the Millers today. They went in from Holtshire Bridge to Erving Center and were float stocked by the Harrison brothers and their crew. Many thanks to them.

These fish, along with the holdovers, will set us up nicely for this Spring and Summer. The water level is still high (750cfs) as of this post but the section is still very fishable. Let's hope that this rain event for Sunday night/Monday is a light one!!

I'll keep you posted.

Ken

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Millers Report - Bears Den




Well, I had two hours to kill so I decided to check on the browns that were stocked yesterday. The water was still very high (1000cfs) and the people that were there didn't seem to be catching much. My rig was a bit different. A 5wt full sinking line was attached to 5 feet of 3x leader material. The fly was a WB in size 8. A small bit of sink putty was attached a foot above the fly. I "nymphed" this set up on a short line in the eddies and slack water along the shoreline and would then retrieve in short, quick strokes. I caught 19 browns and missed a few more in the 100 or so yards that I fished. This is a great rig for getting down DEEP which will cause me to spend some time later today replenishing my bugger supply.
The browns were all between 12 and 14 inches. Lots of fun in heavy water.
Ken

Friday, May 2, 2008

Browns in the Millers


Today we stocked, with the help of a lot of friends, about 800 good sized browns into the Bears Den section of the Millers River. The river was running about 1100cfs which made it great for our float stocking efforts which will insure good distribution of these fish. Six miles of remote river was stocked. With the holdover population we should have a great Spring and Summer on this great river.
Special thanks to Dan and Tom and their crew from Harrison Anglers which made the float stocking possible.
The river is beginning to drop after the heavy rains of earlier this week. Look for great fishing next week. Also, the lower C&R (Wendell Depot) will be float stocked next Friday. BTW, there are reliable reports of very heavy hendrickson hatches on the lower river. With the seasonal caddis blizzards we could be into heavy dry fly fishing over the next week.
Hopefully I'll brave the currents on Sunday and give you a report. If you head out to the Millers bring some heavy black WB's. They work in this high water.
Ken

Saturday, April 26, 2008

A Great Evening on the Millers


The daytime hours were spent doing some interior painting (should have been done during the winter) and finding myself doing some patching on the roof section of a bay window. I did my penance. Time to go after trout on the Millers! At five o'clock I was thigh deep in the section that I visited just this Thursday. I'd tell you exactly where except that my friend Charlie would put a hex (not the insect) curse on me. I'll try not to disclose the location. Bear with me on this.
I was surprised that I was the only one there since there were four of us there just this Thursday. Ok, guess I'll have to do it all by myself! This section has all the kinds of water that one can dream about - fast riffles, a long, slow glide ending in a deep pool section. The riffles start in two distinct sections. That narrows it down a bit. I headed for the riffles on the north side of the river below the pipe (ok, I've gone too far!! The curse is on me!!!!!) I dead drifted a wooley bugger on a short line and took five 'bows. A word on these rainbows - I'm not a fan of rainbows in the Millers. They last until early July and then head south. Browns are the season long fish for this river but these rainbows are the equivalent of NFL linebackers!! They were all big, mean and strong. Five fish between 14 and 16 inches is good anywhere!
There was a strong wind which blew caddis all over the river but there was very little surface activity. I saw one lonely mayfly dun which I couldn't identify. I watched it float down the river without it disappearing in a sipping rise. Still a good evening all the same.
Fish The Millers. Schedule a trip and I'll show you some fish!!!!!
Ken

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Millers Season Starts NOW!!!!

I cast my first fly of '08 on the Millers tonight. Very windy conditions which made casting difficult but didn't stop the trout, all rainbows, from acting like browns as to their selectivity. Rising fish were chasing a small, dark caddis. It was a very random rise centered around the slack water on this part of the river. The first fish came to a #14 olive caddis, a chunky 'bow around 16 inches. There were a few missed hook ups before and after this fish. A fair flight of caddis began to show with a henderickson spinner or three in the mix. I had to leave early (7:30) so I decided to push the envelope and tied on a small, dark marabou streamer. This fly was allowed to simply drift in the current. The first streamer was broken off by a strong hit. The second streamer caught two good sized 'bows with two short hits mixed in. I shared this section with three other fly fishers - big water with plenty of room for everyone. Everyone caught fish!!

I was the first to leave (amasing). Two others (one was of the Harrison Team) went after rising fish in some great looking fast water. My friend Charlie was looking to equal his previous night's success which I was a witness to, standing on the shore without a rod or waders! I'm sure he did.

The water levels have dropped. I have reports of hendericksons just a mile or so below where we fished. Then there are the caddis - zillions of them. The browns go in over the next two weeks!!

It's time to fish the Millers!!!

Ken

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Rites of Spring



It was cool this morning, around 40 degrees, which seemed cool after the 80 degree day we had yesterday. Our April heat wave has set things in motion such as raking the lawn, picking up dead falls from the maples which accumulated during the winter and doing a little outside painting. But that was yesterday. Other things are in motion on this cool morning like the urge to pay my annual visit to my secret stream. I say "secret" because I am the only one you fishes it. I'm sure of it! I really think that the days are long gone where a fly fisher, or any fisher, would hike a few miles on a wooded, rock strewn path to have the chance of fishing for the Real McCoy, the Last of the Mohicans, that relic of another time - "real" brook trout. I say "real" because this little rill has NEVER seen a hatchery truck. It's not even on the state's map of native trout streams which is ok with me.


Now some fly fishers will catch a native or two but it's usually in pursuit of larger stocked trout in the same water. No chance of that here. Everything is stream bred and at best about 8 inches long, a real giant on this stream.
My "fly" was a tiny San Juan Worm, hot red and only a 1/2 inch long tied on a #16 hook. I hate this fly but it may be the only way to fish here without bait. A tiny ball of tungstun weight was attached about 6 inches above the fly. I let it drift through pools and runs. The brookies saw that hot red fly and attacked it.
I'm lucky to have this secret place and each Spring I hike in to check on these little guys. They're doing ok. They remind me of a passage in an old book of mine that stated that the Chinese refer to their tiny trout (yup, there are trout in China) as "Water Angels". Hmm...I like that!
Ken

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

What a difference a week makes

Things have changed on the Swift. Last Wednesday (April 9th) the lower river was flowing at around 230 cfs. Everything had changed but the fishing was still good with 16 'bows landed on a weighted scud pattern. Lots of rising fish to a caddis fall around dark. Now it is different. Tonight the river was blowing by at around 280 cfs. Lots of surface water from the lake was now in the river, scattering the trout. There were caddis buzzing around and a good spinner fall of some mayfly (olive colored and around a size 20) but nothing coming up to feed on them. I fished slow and deep with scuds and jailbirds but took only two rainbows in an hour and a half. I fished HARD!! Maybe I should carry some S.J. worms, something bright to get the attention of those trout but I've seen this happen before. Overflow from Quabbin changes things in a major way. I'm afraid that this high water condition may last a while. Check the flow for the Swift on this site. Below 250cfs should be the start of something good.

The Millers - still bloated from the post Rat Race/heavy rain/snow melt condition. Waiting for MAY!!!!!!!!!!

Ken

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Help for our Brown Trout stocking on the Millers


If you would like to be a part of something important, a part of something that will benefit the fine fishery that is the Millers then set aside the first friday in May and help us stock appox. 800 browns in the Bears den section of the Millers. This is the sixth year that we have worked with the Ma. DFW on this project. It's basically a bucket brigade hauling those beautiful browns from the state truck to the river (a very short distance) although we will also be float stocking this section also. It's a great opportunity to spend some time outdoors and get some needed information on this great section of the Millers. Last year we made this an afternoon activity. Plan on being available from about 1-3pm. I will keep everyone posted as to the date (1st friday in May unless the unforeseen happens) and will give directions. If you would like to help out then email me at millercaddis@yahoo.com Your help will be appreciated!
Ken

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Last Day Of Winter Fly Fishing


I declare the winter fly fishing season to be over, period. Not because we will be fishing in shirt sleeves with the temps. in the sixties anytime soon. It's just that I'm tired of freezing to death out there in the early morning. From now on it's SPRING and I'll pretend I'm warm!!
The last two weekends have seen me at the "pipe" section of the Swift and each was a copy of each trip going back to November. Lots of small rainbows. Today was different. The river was higher due, as one angler told me, because water was flowing over the spillway at the dam. I don't like that condition. I'm seen the lower Swift go from placid to torrent very quickly and that condition can last for weeks. Anyway, I tied on a #16 hotspot and spent the next two hours with only four small rainbows. Time for a change of tactics. Off came the hotspot and on goes a #14 weighted scud pattern fashioned after the Czech series. It was a hot fly two years ago during high water conditions and it carried the day today. The next six fish (caught and almost caught) were much larger. The largest was 16 inches. Another about the same size tore off downstream. I lost it due to the fact that my reel was frozen, the tippet parting from the fly after a brief attempt to chase the rainbow downstream.
It was a good day, just too cold. I'm ready for REAL SPRING. I'm ready for the Millers.
Ken

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Millers River Lost A Friend


On Tuesday, March 18 the Millers River lost one of it's dearest friends with the passing of Bob Rouleau. Bob was an accomplished fly fisher, an accomplished fly tyer and the link to the "days of yesteryear". Bob began fishing the Millers back in the 1930's and was a wealth of information on what the river was like before pollution closed the river down in the mid 1950's. His 3lb brookie from the Millers was immortalized in Ted Williams's (the noted conservation writer) 1970 article about the Millers in Massachusetts Wildlife Magazine. Above all that, Bob was a gentleman and one of the nicest people I have ever met.

He will be sadly missed.

Ken

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Brown Trout - the only trout we need


Ok, time to vent a bit. The above photo is of a fellow that I guided on the Millers last May. In his hands is a nice brown trout. It was caught in the upper C&R (Bears Den) section of the Millers. It is a species of trout that provided excellent fly fishing throughout the Summer and into the Fall but only in the C&R sections. Why is that? Well, the DFW will only stock them in the C&R sections. The rest of the river, prime brown trout water to say the least, is only stocked with rainbows. Rainbows are a false fishery on this river. Throw them into the Millers in April and May and watch them disappear by mid July. If we had to rely on that species for a season long opportunity we would be casting for bass by the 4th of July!! The DFW thinks that we are only after some kind of immediate gratification, a lot of sunny May afternoons where we fish for a species of trout that are bent on extinction soon afterward. Why is that? The official word is that browns survive TOO well. They will pick up toxins and present a health hazard to people who want to EAT them. Guess what? The VAST majority of people who fish the Millers are FLY FISHERS who practice CATCH & RELEASE!!! Guess what else? The DFW's own studies show a dramatic reduction of PCB's in fish samples taken from the Millers!! What else is true? The river is posted, as are many rivers in this state, with consumption warnings about brown trout and other species.
Only 25% of the trout stocked this year in Ma. will be browns. Connecticut will stock over 50% browns in their waters. Why is that? Why waste resources in freestone rivers on a species of trout that are ill equipped for those environments? Fly fishing for trout is the only angling segment that is growing. General license sales have been down for years yet the charade that the angling population wants a lot of easy 'bows in the Spring continues.
The Millers and other freestones need Brown Trout, period!!
Ken

Monday, March 10, 2008

The "Hot Spot": a great fly anywhere

Sorry for the photo but this is all you need to tie this great generalist fly. One contributor said that the name reminded him of some great Czech patterns and he was right. I've ditched the "shellback" portion to get to the basics that make this fly work. A dark body fore and aft with a band of yellow, white, red, orange or purple is all that it takes. That strong contrast of color is a beacon for hungry trout. Tie in a tail or hackle the head if you like but I believe it isn't necessary. On the Swift this fly is a proven killer whether or not you are at the "Y" pool or anywhere else. Size 16 or smaller will do the trick. Go larger this Spring on the Millers or on your favorite freestone. Here's the recipe:
Hook - size 12 and smaller. Body - dark ANYTHING. Band - yellow and white are proven on the Swift with orange, red and purple not far behind. If you add weight add it on the front of the fly. Yup, you can tie this as a beadhead but resist the temptation. It works very well as a fly instead of a "jig". Use a dry fly hook in shallow conditions (Swift). It's really become my "go to" fly this Fall and Winter on the Swift. I have all the faith needed to use this pattern once the Millers comes into it's own in late April. Hopefully sooner!!!

Ken

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Swift River - a late winter afternoon

An odd weekend. Snow on Saturday (March 1st) which changed my schedule a bit. Early Sunday afternoon found me with an hour or so to spend at this local haunt. I got to the Swift at the "pipe" section at 2:15. Very little angling pressure at that time which was surprising. Maybe the morning crowd had come and gone as was evident from the tracks in the snow. Anyway, a size 16 "hot spot" took 9 rainbows in the hour that I was there. The "hot spot" is a great fly and I should post the tying instructions soon. Eight small 'bows but the one in the picture was between 14-15 inches. If you check the photo closely you'll see that the rod is a Fenwick GLASS rod purchased back in 1973 before graphite took command. This may be the perfect light tippet rod!! The slow action will help prevent a 8x tippet bust. I swear that I felt every take!!! This was my first "quality rod" that I purchased over thirtyfive years ago. I caught many trout with this stick until graphite made me change my ways. I think that the nature of glass may be better suited for Swift "nymphing" than fast graphite. It was also nice to add a few more trout to this rod's legacy. The Fenwick will be there on the next trip. I'll be easy to spot. I'll be the only one there with a fiberglass rod!

Don't wait until Spring. Fish the Swift now!!

Ken

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Favorite Millers Fly - The Moby Dick Wet


March 1st and another six inches of snow!! What to do? Tie flies, of course.
Maybe you've heard of the Moby Dick. A large nymph/small streamer that has proven to land a brown or two on the Millers. Personally, I liked the color combination but not the long shank nymph hook that it's tied on. I have a soft spot for the classic wet fly style of years ago so the next step was easy - a Moby Dick tied wet style. This fly works best in fast water and I've had good luck with it during the beginning of a caddis hatch. One guy that I guided took seven browns in an hour on the lower Millers one July evening. Sizes 12 and 14 work the best although I'm tempted to tie up some in a beefy #6 for some after dark fishing next summer.
Sorry for the photo quality.
Ken

Friday, February 29, 2008

Evening Sun Fly Shop

There are many places where one can buy fly rods, reels, lines and fly tying materials but one will be hard pressed to find all of that AND fly fishing knowledge like one will find at the Evening Sun Fly Shop in Pepperell, Ma. "Charlie" Shadan has it all!! This place is fully stocked with everything that the fly angler could ever want PLUS Charlie is a fountain of information on local (New England) rivers, conditions, flies and tactics. Planning a trip to Montana?? Ask Charlie on where to go and what to do when you get there. Saltwater?? Ask Charlie!! I will not mention any establishment on this forum unless it's worth it. The Evening Sun Fly Shop fills that requirement. I bought a great Temple Fork 4wt from Charlie after discussing my needs. I put that rod to the test on the Swift this past month. Perfect!!!!!

In case anyone is wondering - this advertisement is free. Check my link to the Evening Sun Fly Shop. You will benefit if you stop here.

BUY LOCAL if you can.

MRF

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Finally, the first cast of '08 - Swift River


Well, my start to the 2008 fly fishing season started about a month late! I got down to the Swift below the hatchery around 7:30am to find two other fly fishers in position. It was cold with lines freezing to the guides and the reel seizing up every few minutes.
Things have changed in the two months since I've been there. First, that injured blue heron that everyone was "feeding" is gone. One angler said it was reduced to a pile of feathers a few weeks ago by some critter. Second, the billion small rainbows of November and December are long gone except for a few survivors courtesy of the "catch and keep" regs that we have to live with until July. How was my "Opening Day"? Eleven rainbows and one good brown in about 3 1/2 hours. All were caught on a size 16 hot spot. A few of the 'bows were in the 14-16 inch range and all were taken just below the "pipe". The 'bow in the picture is a bit over 12 inches.
A good day and a good start to the year. Only three months until the Millers is fishable.
MRF

Sunday, February 10, 2008

I Hate Winter but....

The Millers River in South Royalston
Well, I broke my New Years Resolution by not getting out to fly fish in January. A few storms and other obligations kept me off the Swift River in January. That may be ok since the river has been a "pushover" since late November. I'll be out in a week or two.
So what has this fly fisher been up to? Fly tying, what else. I've tied up lots of dries which in these mid-winter dreams will float perfectly over rising browns which will always rise and be landed. That's what winter is in New England. I hope that I will be able to pass some fly dressings on to you this month. I have one that really worked for myself and for those that I guided this past season.
Stay Tuned,
MRF