Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

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.

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.


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!!

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!!!


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!!


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.