Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Trout And Hot Weather

It's finally happened! June was the coolest month in Massachusetts in 115 years and one of the wettest. July has been overly wet but the heat had held off - until now. This past weekend was warm and humid but Monday, the 27th, brought us temps in the high 80's. I decided to test the only waters that were not flowing over their banks and that was the EB of the Westfield. 5:45 found me on the Bliss Pool with my 3wt bamboo, wading shoes and swimming trunks. The water temp was 70 and it felt great. Would the EB 'bows be in the mood? The shadows hit the far bank first on this stretch as the sun began to slide behind the tree tops. It was like clockwork!! A rise here, slowly at first, and then another. Those large cream colored mayflies began it lift off the water but the trout were not chasing those critters. It was something else. I tied on a #16 light olive emerger and took five 'bows before a rogue thunderstorm forced me from the river at 7pm. Trout were rising as I left.

The Westfield, like the Millers and many of our rivers, are freestone flows without benefit of a bottom release like the Swift. Fishing them during banking hours in July is a waste of time. How many times have I heard that "this river sucks, it's too warm". Those who say that are fishing at the wrong time of day. Very early morning and in the evening are the witching hours on freestone streams. I'm lucky because I have spent the last 25 years living only 15 minutes from good trout water. I can fish past dark and be home in no time. If you must travel some distance in July through mid August to fish freestones plan to get there at 4pm and stay until 9pm. Your ride back home will be worth it. Or you can go to the Swift or the Deerfield and brave those crazy currents.

BTW, the 'bows jumped and fought like hell!!! I did bring them to the net quickly and they swam away strong.

BTW again, there is ONE BIG FISH in that pool! I saw the swirl. It was BIG! It looked like it was chasing something but the thunder drove me off the river. Next time!!

Double click the photo. Nice shot of an EB rainbow.



Joseph said...


Is there not an increased chance that the fish will not survive C&R at those temps? I have been holding off fishing for that reason.

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Joseph - It's a question that has been batted around for years with different studies showing different things. Here's my take on it - 1.Water temps are not constant throught the stream. We may find a 70 degree reading but 5 ft. away there is a spring hole or seepage with water at 62 degrees. That's were the trout will be.I also believe that 70 degrees is not that critical for trout, especially browns. 2. Dissolved oxygen is as important as water temp. Trout will stand a high temp (within reason)if the oxygen level is up. Turbulent streams like the Millers and the Westfield will supply that oxygen transfer. 3.If you see rising trout with a water temp at 70 degrees you know that the trout are not stressed. They are actively feeding just like as if the water temp was 60 degrees. 4.The hooking and subsequent fight will not harm them if you keep the battle short. I don't go lighter than 5x on the above rivers for that reason. Over the years I have hooked, fought and lost three rising trout on summer evenings only to have them caught later the SAME EVENING. My original fly was still in their jaw.

Check the water temp at 6pm and it may read 70. Check it again at 9:30 and you will be surprised.


Joseph said...

Outstanding. Thank you.

BTW - after your last post about Bliss Pool, I ran into 6 out of state anglers within 100 yards of the pool. It was like rush hour on the dirt road. I think your blog is pretty popular.

Millers River Flyfisher said...


Thank you!! As far as the "other anglers" - That's grist for another post. Stay tuned!!

On another topic the Millers is dropping with over a 1000cfs in two days but with storms due today with maybe 3 INCHES OF RAIN we may be cursed again. That could include a delayed action for the Swift. At least the Westfield drops quickly. I'm hoping that the T'storms hit the EB but miss the Millers and the Quabbin watershed. I know, FAT CHANCE OF THAT!!


Jackson said...

hit the EB this morning from 9-11:30 and there were fish taking emergers pretty steadily until ~10:45. got 4 to net one emergers and terrestrials and had one big fish break me off on an emerger. Also- no big deal if the EB gets hit again it falls so quickly there is essentially no wait for recovery unless there are many days of sustained rain. I cant wait for the swift to be in decent shape again.

Sam said...

Great Blog Ken !

I really enjoy the local fishing and river reports.

Sam Attardo