Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Storm On The Way, Again!

It's almost like being cursed. This summer has been the wettest for my three favorite watersheds, the Millers, the Swift and the Westfield. The Millers, with the exception of a few days were the flow dropped into the 300 cfs range, has been roaring. The placid Swift has had extra water from the overflow which ruined most of July. Only the EB of the Westfield has come through for us. It rises quickly but drops just as fast. As I write the Millers is at 280cfs and the Westfield is around 180. Perfect for both rivers. But Friday/Saturday we will hit by a hurricane which is expected to dump 3 to 4 inches on us. The Millers and the Westfield will rise quickly. Even the Swift will be effected if the Quabbin overflows. Put some good thoughts into the air, folks. Pray it doesn't happen!

In the meantime - The Swift below Rt 9 has been deserted by 5pm on weeknights. Plenty of elbow room and plenty of rainbows and a few small brookies thrown in. Not much surface action but if the water drops (haha) dry fly fishing should pick up. "Hotspots" are my fly of choice.

I spent two hours at the Bliss Pool on the EB Tuesday evening. Caught two and missed two on dries - a grasshopper for the first and then #16 sulphurs after that. Rises were sporatic at best. Met a "bamboo" guy who landed a monster 'bow at the head of the pool while fishing a dry. Nice fish!!

Check the flow links on this site from Friday onward. They could save you some time.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Swift - August 20, August 22

Thursday evening found me on the Swift at the "pipe" section. It was different from the week before when "rubber hatch people" were sailing through. I was the only one there except for one other flyfisher who left shortly. I took four 'bows, all crazy on the longrod, and lost two others. The fly that worked was the reliable "hotspot". (check posts from early '08, I believe, for tying directions) I was hoping for some surface activity above this section but the "fog" was on the river and that seems to kill any hopes of that.
A awoke Saturday morning at 5am to find thunder and lightening in the sky. I waited through an extra cup of coffee and then headed out. The Westfield had gone from 130cfs to 800cfs overnight so the Swift was a sure choice. At 7:30am I found one other flyfisher working the lower section of the pipe. This is very strange. A year ago you needed reservations!! First I took two small brookies that didn't look that they were in the river that long. A good 'bow struck next and I will consider it a "catch' even though I lost it at the end of a tough fight. I then ended upstream and took another brookie just below the gauge. I then headed downstream and found the "fallen tree pool" vacant so in I went. A very good 'bow came next and I missed another. Every fish was brought to the net via the "hotspot" in size 14. This may be my "go to" sub-surface Swift River fly. Two years running and it's caught a lot of trout. It's utterly easy to tie.
I don't know why the "pipe" section is so underfished this year! Maybe the high water of July scared people off their routine but this section is loaded with fish and you should try to get out there. If the "pipe" or the water directly below it is occupied then go upstream or downstream. It all works. Another thing: take the indicator off and cast upstream and follow your leader/line and watch for "stoppage'. I outfish "indicator" anglers 4/1. I firmly believe that watching a "bobber" restricts your success. Try it the "old way". Everything about your fly presentation will improve.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Hemlock Pool On The East Branch

This is a spot that almost made me go back on my"fish and tell" philosophy. Someone told me about the "Hemlock Pool" on the East Branch of the Westfield. It was "way down river" as the story went. I had a good idea of a pool that fit the description and had actually posted a photo last August of someone fishing what might be this place while I was hiking through the area. So last Saturday, in the heat of mid-day, I threw on some swimming trucks and grabbed my 4wt and headed out to really "find" the place. I did, hemlocks and all!!! I also found rising trout and landed two, a brown and a rainbow all in 85 degree heat. I went back Monday evening, fished for a half hour and broke off a large trout that came up for my ant imitation.
This is a classic pool, long and deep, with a great set of riffles at the head. Casting is easy and the dry fly floats are long and drag free. It is truly a great place.
Now, I feel confident that there will not be a traffic jam of anglers at this spot because it is a BRISK 20 minute walk from the gate. That's 40 minutes of traveling time which will cut into your evening fishing. Daytime in the Fall should be great there. With it's size this spot can easily accomodate 3 or 4 anglers.
BTW, all the trout swam away quickly, no ill effects.
If you like to hike try the Hemlock Pool.
Now, there's a huge gorge even further downstream. I've seen it but haven't fished it. Soon...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Swift - August 14th

Well, the flows were reading 215cfs for a couple of days which meant that some stability has finally settled on the Swift. The water is high but fishable so off I go. I would have suspected more cars in the "pipe" parking area at 5pm on a Friday night. There was only one other. The pipe was deserted. You could fish this place for years, even in the dead of winter, and never be alone.
I wasn't alone for long. The first flotilla, two rubber rafts and an inflatable CHAIR, sailored by four giggling girls, went drifting by. Fifteen minutes later a paddle comes floating by and hangs up at the "fallen tree". Ten minutes after that two dudes in kayaks appear. Only one has a paddle. I point out where the other paddle is, they thank me and then ask if I've seen "another" paddle. Sure enough, two more explorers in kayaks make their way onto the scene and yes, only one has a paddle. Finally they drift away. Maybe this is why I was alone at the "pipe" at prime time.
The fishing - I guarded one bank during the naval excersises and that long stretch of water yielded five 'bows, all good size and very full of fight. A size 16 serendipity was the fly used.
The photo above is of that beautiful stretch above the pipe. It's great dry fly water and should pick up when the flow drops another 50cfs.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Secret Spots

Most of the time I get good reviews about the content of this forum but every so often I get an email questioning why I am so liberal about disclosing the location of certain "spots" on various rivers, namely the Millers, Swift and the EB of the Westfield. The emails usually run the course of "now there are more flyfishers there" and how I might be "ruining the fishing". First, I'm not ruining anything. Maybe there's been an up -click on the traffic but most of the time I fish alone or with the customary traffic after running this blog into it's third season. I flyfish these rivers every week and I haven't been forced off my favorite spots yet. That brings me to a pet peeve that I have with some of the "forums" out there. Their "rules" say that you can't disclose the location of a pool on a river even though the great evening that you are having has been witnessed by a number of anglers. This is especially true for the Farmington River and the forum(s) that center on it. What's even more amasing are the forums centered around striper fishing!!! Some anglers have withdrawn their posts concerning coastal locations because of the deluge of private PM's that they get, all not positive.
I do this because I like to share experiences and hope that others can enjoy the same. Nobody, including TU, wanted to get into a "where to go, what to use" dialoge concerning the Millers even though few of them actually fished the river on a frequent basis. I'll tell you where to go and how to position yourself for a good outing.
Years ago, when I took up this sport, I would read about the great rivers of the Catskills, the Beaverkill, the Willow, the Niversink. All of the literature spoke of magical times on the great pools and runs of those rivers. " A great evening on Cairns", "Lost a monster at the Wagon Tracks", it goes on and on. Those storied places were popular back then but it didn't stop those great writers from writing about them and creating the legacy that those river deserve. Are we so tight lipped about certain rivers that we don't want anyone else there even though we may fish it infrequently?? I hope not.
I will continue to "fish and tell". If you fish these rivers after reading these posts I sincerely hope you will have an experience equal or better then mine!!
Hit the Millers!!! The flows are right!!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Two Short Trips To The East Branch

I decided to play it fast and loose on the Westfield on the 6th of August. Out came this 6ft bamboo matched to a 3wt line. It had done well in AA ball (small brooks) and got the side out in AAA on an excursion to the Swift. But now it was big league time. Could it handle the 30ft+ casts needed for a dry fly presentation. the answer: Nope!! this rod casts the 3wt like a rocket
but you can't play the trout at all. I was about to land a 'bow when I realized the butt of my leader was already wrapped onto the reel. A nice small stream rod but not major league.
Saturday Morning - worked a stretch below the Bliss Pool for two hours starting at 7:30. I would have gotten there earlier if it wasn't for the 15 inning nightmare against the Yankees the night before. Caught two and broke off two working dries through the water pictured in the photo above. It is interesting to note that the morning sun doesn't hit a lot of promising water until late in the AM. At 9:30am I had a water temp of 58 degrees. Not bad for the 8th of August.
Off to the Millers tomorrow, I hope!!
P.S. the photo above is of the 6ft. cutey that was out of it's league. The other is of a early morning on the east branch.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Fishable East Branch - August 3rd

The online gauge read 500cfs. Time to go hit the EB of the Westfield. I spent most of the weekend at Plum Island (No, I didn't fish for stripers. Go back to the post of June '08 for my reasons) having a lot of fun but now I needed to chase trout. I got there about 5:30pm and found a spot that I visited two weeks ago loaded with swimmers so I chose my second spot which was "unoccupied". The pool was still bathed in full sun so on went a #12 dry stone to work the fast water at the head of this great piece of water. Two 'bows crushed this fly before the shadows began to cover the north bank. Then came the telltale rise so I switched over to size 16 light comparadun pattern.

The evening rise never really developed. Just a rise here and there. The three other trout (2 'bows and a brown) came to the net by just blind casting this dry fly to likely spots. This also resulted in two missed fish due to day dreaming on my part. Anyway, it was a good night. I had another flyfisher working the lower end of the pool that I was on. I should of taken a photo of him - he was centered perfectly at the lower end of this water with the rapids in the background. His casting was textbook and he was obviously enjoying himself. He probably really enjoyed himself after I left the pool at 7:45 (I was starving and the thought of those steaks on the grill was too much). I hope he did well.

BTW - I was on the Bliss Pool. I would like to head far downstream some evening but don't like the idea of driving too far out in my little car after nightfall. After Labor Day, when daytime flyfishing comes back into it's own, .........


P.S. the photo is of my 4wt, 7ft 3in. bamboo that I bought for $100 back in 1980. The hardware is fair, the handle is too big but I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!