Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

Sunday, April 26, 2009

What's Up With The Swift??????

Ok, I've written about the high water conditions on the Swift for the last four months. The lower C&R is pretty much unfishable, even the hardware boys are staying away. So today (4/26) I took a walk to check out the "Y" Pool. Now, a late Sunday afternoon with temps in the '80's should have brought out the crowds. I saw only three flyfishers braving the current which was over 500cfs. I spoke to one fellow that told me to check out the "bubbler". I did. There's no water coming out!!! A stick dropped from the footbridge just floats without any downstream movement. Everything is coming from the spillway! One would think that they would open the bubbler to help lower the level of the "pond" so we could get back to normal.
The lower photo is the branch that leads to the bubbler. It's shallow and still. The upper one is the spillway and the "Y" Lake, I mean Pool.
This condition has to end soon before the warm weather arrives for good. We might not have a "tailwater" any longer but a stream fed by summer surface water!!
BTW, made it to the Millers on Saturday. The water was high (as expected) but a few rainbows came to the net at the Kempfield and Bridge St. Pools.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Swift River Flows and a Millers Update

Thought I'd start with a photo of the Swift that we used to know. This photo was taken last summer when I thought that the flow was a little high. Now it seems like ages ago with this river raging over 400cfs since New Years Day. Winter fishing was wiped out this year!! The Quabbin is bursting at the seams and may be that way for a while. All this means that a lot of water is coming over the spillway and changing the environment of the river below. It may be colder than when most of the flow is from the bubbler. If this condition continues through May it may mean that the Swift will be WARMER than we have seen it in years. I know that the state hatchery folk are a bit concerned since they receive water from the river to run that facility. Let's hope that things return to normal soon.
The Millers - It's up to it's yo-yo flows which are normal for April. The last rainfall occured yesterday which brought the river up but the 80 degree temps forecast for this weekend may make the situation tempting.. Places To Go - Try BELOW Rezendes (the three riffle runs below the "pool", the Kempfield section from the NORTH side (safer wading through the riffle section) and the Holtshire Bridge run. One note on the Kempfield - If you approach this section on the SOUTH side, from the Power Station, you will have limited access and you may find yourself over your waders quickly.
I'm flipping a coin Friday night - heads means the Millers on Saturday, tails means the East Branch of the Westfield.
Stay Tuned!!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The East Branch of the Westfield - first trip in '09

Finally my first day out, without snow and ice and not on the Farmington down in CT. It has been a strange Spring to say the least. It has been dry but two of my "go to" rivers have been high and cold. One is the Millers (to be expected) and the Swift (not to be expected). So I went to my local gem - the East Branch of the Westfield. 8am found me at Chesterfield Gorge with the access road blocked by the Town of Chesterfield. This better be a short-lived condition!! I was able to walk my way down to say hello to some pools and runs that I've been dreaming about since last Fall. Quickly I found myself landing a very dark rainbow, a holdover from last year. The next two hours found me fishless. I saw only two other anglers through this stretch. I spent time casting and turning over rocks which revealed LOTS of the large stoneflies that this river is famous for. I then headed upstream into Cummington basically scouting out the area. Over the miles of river that I fished and scouted I saw only those two anglers (flyfishers) that I mentioned earlier. The DFW stated that the East Branch was stocked over the last two weeks. Where is everyone, including the bait boys??
Spring is a bittersweet time for me this year. I need to get out and flyfish. Usually the Swift is perfect with it's highly educated holdovers but with its 500cfs flow this Spring it's been a chore that I will skip until things level out. The Millers is the domain of the heavily weighted bugger until mid May (I don't fish buggers unless I'm REALLY over the edge!!) In the depths of Winter, when I dream of flyfishing, it is always a late Spring/Summer evening, rising trout sipping in hatching mayflies and me catching them all!! Spring means freshly stocked trout, dumbells for sure, smashing every oddball, sunken glitzy fly thrown at them. That didn't happen today. Maybe the East Branch didn't have any stockers to play the game. But it will and those stocked fish will survive, get educated, and give us the memories that will keep us going back. The East Branch of the Westfield, through Chesterfield Gorge, is utterly beautiful!!
The rest of the day was spent working the garden, peas and onions are in, the tomatoes and peppers are living it up in that sunny southern window. I'll tie some stones tonight. Not a bad day when you look at it. The Swift is coming down which may require a late afternoon trip this week. And the Millers......maybe soon.
Catch Some Trout!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The "Gorge Pool" of the Millers River

The "Gorge Pool" on the Bears Den section of the Millers River can be considered "storied", a place on this river that has a history that goes back beyond the pre-war years (that's world war 2). If you pay a visit to it now you will see a recent sign on a tree that calls the pool by another name. This is a well meaning but sad attempt to erase some local lore. Just ask Rodney Flagg of Flagg's Flies in Orange. He will tell you that this wonderful pool was known as the Gorge Pool a full 60 years ago when he first fished it. Diddo for Bob Rouleau who passed away in March of '08. He told me that this pool was called the Gorge Pool back in the '30's. Enough said. It's the Gorge Pool regardless of what some newbies say.
Actually it's really two pools, one after the other. Both have turbulent water at their heads and then slow deep water through the rest of the run. I lost my biggest Millers trout on the upper pool a few years ago. It broke a 3 or 4x tippet in a flash!! It has always been productive especially last year when one brown after another came to the net at dusk on a number of summer evenings. I can also say that unless I guided someone here I have had the place to myself!! That's the magic of the Gorge Pool. It's a bit of a walk from where you may park your car but it is well worth it.
See You There!!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Millers River Snapshot - Holtshire Bridge

I thought I'd spend a little time talking about the Millers River as we endure the long wait until the river is at a decent level to fish. One of the first places that receives attention in the Spring is the Holtshire Bridge Run.
Now, some may refer to it as "Orcutt Run" or "Orcutt Pool" from the name of the brook that enters just above the bridge. The Orcutt label is fairly new. I like the name that we used 20 years ago which is Holtshire Bridge named for the bridge that spans the river on Holtshire Road. Anyway, it's a popular place by any name.
If one is new to flyfishing or is a little unsteady while wading this is a very good spot for you. First, it has an even, almost glass-like flow for almost 200 yards which insures good lines of drift. Second, it's sandy, cobblestone bottom insures easy wading when compared to most of the river. Third, it is heavily stocked with rainbows and some browns. That's the upside. Here's the downside. It can be VERY CROWDED!! It is also somewhat shallow and even though it has ample aquatic weeds to shade the trout it is wide open to the summer sun without any needed shade from trees. The bottom line is that it is one of the few places that is unreliable for mid summer evening fishing because the trout have left for cooler quarters. One would think that the mouth of Orcutt Brook or the brook itself would provide refuge and that may be true but your best bet is the very tail of the pool. Trout hang out in the fast water below and then work their way up to the pool at dusk. It's your best bet for summer fishing on this section.
The photo above was taken on Holtshire Bridge looking downstream. To reach the tail of the pool just follow the railroad tracks which run on the north side of the river.
If you don't mind the crowds then check this place out starting this month through June.