Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

Monday, September 28, 2009

Millers Update - 9/25, 9/26

Maybe it was worth the wait. After the wettest summer in memory the Millers is actually flowing AT OR BELOW it's historical average. This has given us prime dry fly conditions and the browns are supplying the entertainment!! One Friday the 25th I guided two anglers who were rather new to the sport, at least to fishing dries. They both caught fish at the Upper Trestle Pool.

I headed to the UTP myself late Saturday afternoon and wasn't disappointed. I took five browns using a pumpkin caddis first and then finishing with a #16 olive emerger. I then left this spot and headed downstream with plans for the Kempfield Pool. I never made it. I spent the last hour and a half fishing the big pool below the trestle at the head of the Kempfield. It's best to approach this spot from the RIGHT side as you are facing downstream. The casting and wading is much easier. That's the pool in the photo taken from the trestle. There was a good, steady rise on this pool which allowed me to take an additional seven browns before darkness. One note - this is a hard pool to get to and very hard getting out in the darkness. Be careful!!

Good Luck!


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Westfield's Bliss Pool And The Ant Swarm

This past Tuesday (9/22) found me at the Bliss Pool at 5:15. It was a strange day. I remembered that it was 31 years ago, almost to the hour, where I was cut out of a crushed Toyota and then spent three weeks watching a hospital TV. The Bliss Pool is a much better place to be.

I realized as I hit the river's edge that this would be a special night. The top half of the pool was alive with RISING TROUT. I could see an insect on the surface or more accurately I could see HUNDREDS of insects on the surface. At first and from a distance they looked like small BWO's but close inspection revealed ANTS, red ants, about size 18. I had some ants in that size (a lesson that I learned on the Farmington: bring ants) but they were black.

It didn't matter because it was one trout after another. As dark began to fall the ants disappeared but the trout continued to rise at the very head of the pool. On went a #14 Isonychia to finish the evening.

All told I took a dozen, all 'bows except for two browns. It was my best night yet on this beautiful river.

The ants - No chernybols here. You need it small with a dubbed body. Also, these were winged ants. My ant is tied with a dubbed body with a tight "waist". Two turns of body matching hackle at the waist with a small pair of blue dun hackle points for wings. It almost looks real.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Kempfield On The Millers - Sept. 19

I hit the Kempfield Pool at 4pm on Saturday afternoon to find that I was the 6th one there soon to be part of a group of 8 that were working this great section. It was like fishing the Farmington - lots of anglers and lots of rising browns. First, there was a great hatch of BWO's being blown around by the wind. Soon the wind let up and a large mayfly appeared. I'd like to call it the "white fly" but I'll refrain from that. It was white for sure but a bit smaller than the famous white fly. The browns began a steady attack on this insect until the air was full of what looked like a pumkin caddis. I was covered with them!!
I took three good browns and lost three others. It was a good three hours on the Millers. The best dry fly fishing of the year is RIGHT NOW. Don't miss it.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Early Autumn On The Westfield

You can see and feel the change. Gone are the hot evenings where one will wade wet because of the heat and humidity. Gone is the light in the sky at 8:30 that makes it easy to see your tiny dry offering as it glides down through that perfect run. Dusk is here at 7pm and so is that slight chill that fills the air. One look at the streamside or up along the ridges will show the occasional tree that is changing too. Summer is waving goodbye. There will be a hot day or three within the next few weeks but Autumn is already claiming the valleys and the rivers that flow through them. It is a time of change. I knew that Wednesday evening as I paid a repeat visit to the East Branch of the Westfield at Chesterfield Gorge. Among the other things that I noticed was that I was alone on this river for the second straight evening. Maybe my flyfishing brothers/sisters will be found during mid day which should produce great angling through September and October. I hope so!
The results of this outing: two rainbows at Slant Rock and one at the head of the Bliss Pool. All on #16 olive parachutes. I decided to pass up the Swimming Hole (mentioned in the last post) and went upstream to the first turn-off below the Trustees parking lot. This spot is fished by people who are new to the Gorge and seldom fished by people who know the Gorge. I like this spot! I caught my first EB trout here and I've found the calm, flat water just upstream to be a nice place to float a dry fly. That belief was re-enforced by the 'bow that broke me off. It was then that I tied on the stimulator that I found on the previous trip and began to work the fast water at the tail of this section. One good swipe was all I could get as darkness fell.
There once was a time, in the heat of Summer, that I begged for Autumn. September is my favorite month - temps in the 60-70's, no bugs - but I know what's just around the corner. I'll make the best of these next eight weeks before I'm bundled up while plying the Swift and the Farmington through the "dark months' or working the tying bench and dreaming of Hendricksons.
Time is short! Flyfish if you can.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Three Pools On The East Branch

I figured that everyone would be fished out after the Labor Day weekend and that's why I found myself on the East Branch of the Westfield early Tuesday evening. I drove past the Bliss Pool, exactly 4/10ths of a mile to a place that I call "Slant Rock". The EB has a lot of stretches that can qualify for that label. Lots of sedimentary rock that have been turned on edge by the forces that made the place we call Chesterfield Gorge. This pool has more of that then the others so hence the name. It's beautiful spot, a pinched down flow that is smooth and glassy and perfect for a dry fly float. I took three 'bows, a leaper from the tail and two from the mid section, all on a cream colored parachute.

Without taking the waders off or breaking down my rod I drove up to the Bliss Pool. I looked strange to the couple that were walking down the road with my arm out the window holding my fly rod.

The Bliss Pool failed me. No surface action and no rises to my well placed dry. So I repeated my driving technique and drove up the road to a turn-off on the right (it's the first turn-off on the LEFT when you're heading downstream). I'll call it the "Swimming Hole' only because it's a favorite spot for non fishers. It's another classic dry fly pool, rapids at the top end that smooth and fan out to a great tail section. Two more 'bows fell to the parachute before dark settled it. Both of these fish took to the air at hook set and had lots of fight, testing the new tiny click and pawl reel that was on it's maiden voyage. It was a good night.

BTW, at the Bliss Pool I noticed a large stimulator type fly hanging from an overhanging branch. Thank you whoever you are. I'll put it to use!


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Millers (finally) On Labor Day Weekend

Friday night (Sept 4th) found me on the Kempfield Pool with flows around 470cfs. The rocks were barely a ripple on the water's surface but conditions after this very wet summer were good enough. I took five browns, all on emergers, and they were all very difficult fish. It was an evening of bulging rises, all dorsals and tails and it was a reeducation after casting to the willing 'bows of the Westfield. I had one young angler for company at the beginning and another by evening's end. That was it for angling traffic.

Foreward cast to early monday morning. The Swift was jammed with flyfishers and from what I've been told jammed with kayaks later in the day. What about the Millers? I couldn't swing an evening trip but mid day would work. It's also the time of day during the summer when one should stay away if one wants surface action but it would be the only game in town so off I went. Flows were in the mid 200cfs range and the Kemfield rocks were fully exposed. The result - one small brown on a parachute up against the far bank. The Upper Trestle looked great but produced a zero in the mid day sun.

Hopefully this river will stay down through the rest of the season. The browns are still there!!


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

September 1st - A Classic Night on the East Branch

Yes, it's September. Cooler days with water temps to match. We all look forward to this season with it's day long flyfishing opportunities but we know that we are entering the home stretch as far as the season goes. It's bittersweet for sure, especially after this flood ravaged summer which cut down our opportunities to work the longrod. The East Branch of the Westfield saved the Summer for me and last night was the best night for sure.
The first pool down the road was occupied and a father/son team was gearing up to flyfish the water by the first turnaround. I didn't want to hit the Bliss Pool but it was empty and I had only two hours to fish so I waded in. It was sometime in July that I last fished a sunken fly here. It's been a dry fly heaven for weeks so why change now. On went a #14 olive parachute and I then took my position and began a classic UPSTREAM approach hitting every glide and seam the current had to offer. There were no rises to hatching insects during that first hour but it didn't stop the 'bows and browns from doing their thing. During the last half hour I began to see an occasional rise at the tail of the pool. It was here that a very good fish snapped me off and took the fly that landed 7 'bows and 2 browns for me. It was a good night!!
I'm hoping to spend this Friday night on the Millers if the water will drop into the 500cfs range. Hopefully......
Three months ago we were chasing trout on an early Summer evening. Three months from now we may be shoveling snow!! The Fall is a golden time to flyfish especially on the Millers. Don't miss it!