Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

Friday, October 30, 2009

Why I Hate Indicators

Ok, I don't really hate indicators, I just don't like them very much. Here's a story that may explain things clearly. Backcast to 1987. It's an early May morning on the Deerfield River and our TU Chapter is out there posting signs on our newest conquest - the new C&R section from Pelham Brook to the Mohawk Campground. It was late in the morning when we began to wrap things up by Pelham Brook when I noticed a wading angler with a spinning rod making his way down into the new C&R section. His rig consisted of a spinning rod and a bobber. I asked him about his bait and he said he didn't use bait. "I use flies" he said. He then reeled in and showed me the ugliest Montana Nymph that I ever saw. "I've caught four so far" he said as he headed back upstream.
That was it - a nymph suspended under a bobber!!! I began to think of the Deerfield being lined with spin fisherman casting flies with bobbers or worse, flyfisherman giving up the long rod and casting flies with bobbers. Instead I lived long enough to see fly fishers casting bobbers with their flyrods.

Now, if that's how you were taught or that's what you want to do then go for it but fly fishing WITHOUT AN INDICATOR will increase your chances to catch trout under all subsurface conditions. Indicators made the first step in subsurface fly fishing easier for a lot of new people but it keeps them at that level. It becomes a crutch. Fishing without an indicator opens more possibilities.

A year ago last Spring I was at my barbers waiting my turn when I picked up a Field & Stream. There's only one reason to read this magazine and that is because the Fishing Column is written by John Merwin, a past Editor of Flyfisherman Magazine and the creator of what would be finally called Fly Rod & Reel Magazine. The photo that accompanied the article showed a trash can full of strike indicators. The article was a full blown rant against those critters. I'm not alone!!

The next time you're on the river take off the indicator and follow your line and leader, adjusting your depth through line mending as you go. It works now as it has worked for a century.


Friday, October 23, 2009

Late Season Dry Fly Action - The East Branch

I had one day of vacation time left for this year and it was going to be today, Friday the 23rd. Actually it started at 4pm on Thursday when I found myself basking in the warm sun at the Bliss Pool on the Westfield's East Branch. The temp. was 70 degrees and ANTS were all over the water as they were a month ago. Trout were rising at a steady pace and I took three and lost a few more in the 90 minutes that I was there. It gave me a quick fix to the dry fly fever that has left me a mumbling fool on this river over the past Summer. My favorite dry fly river, the Millers, has been out of commission for most of the Summer. The Westfield has filled in nicely - very nicely!! I haven't cast a sunken fly in two months on this river!!

Ok, that's Thursday evening. Where to go on Friday?? My plan had been to hit the Swift after a few morning chores but the weatherman was talking about 1 to 2 inches of rain on Saturday. That would blow out the East Branch for a few days. Should I make another trip before the flood?? Of course.

I hit the Hemlock Pool at 11am and spent an uneventful 45 minutes trying to tempt the occasional riser in the slack water to my BWO dry. NOTHING!!! Then I began to work the fast riffles at the head of the pool. All hell broke loose!! The bows were stacked into this skinny water and were slashing at the BWO's that came down from above. I took six and lost another two.

Slant Rock Pool came next - the water was littered with olives but no fish were showing at the tail or the smooth mid section. "Maybe they're at the head of the pool just like at Hemlock" I thought. That's where they were. Another two came to the net. I will always remember NOT catching the 'bow that came up THREE CONSECUTIVE TIMES to my dry.

I finished the day at the Bliss Pool catching one and missing another. It was getting cold and the wind was picking up. The sky had the look of winter, a far cry from the balmy evening the day before.

I'm glad I made the EB my choice for the day. I may not have another day of surface action like this until next Spring. Until then the Swift will always be there.


Friday, October 16, 2009

The Swift On A Very Late Afternoon

It's surprising what can be done in an hour which is all of the time that I could muster late Thursday afternoon. My destination again was the "gauge station" section of the Swift. There were enough cars in the parking lot to tell me that the "pipe" would be busy. I didn't mind at all simply because the gauge section is LOADED with trout. I took eight and lost another five or so in the 1 1/2 hours that Iwas there. The fly was a micro egg in sizes 18 and 20. They smashed that fly and left the larger ones alone.

This piece of water is best fished on the west side of the river with a very short line. One could make a long morning or afternoon starting up by the crib dam and working downstream plying every likely spot. You'll probably be the only one there.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Columbus Day Weekend - The Millers/The Swift

Saturday afternoon on the Millers was a time I'd like to forget. Gale force winds out of the west made casting a chore and fishing miserable. The air was full of BWO's that were being blown all over. I saw one rise during my two hours on the Kempfield and when I managed to hook my hat because of the wind I decided to call it a day and made plans for an early morning attack on the Swift.

Sunday morning, air temp. at 31 degrees, and the "Pipe" has five anglers at 7:15am. Gary says that on Thursday there were hundreds of trout just below the outflow with one angler hooking about 50 of them. Today it was a different story. Too few trout to be seen and too many anglers. So I crossed over the river and headed upstream to work the riffles from the gauge station downstream. I've had egg patterns on the brain lately so the fly choice was obvious. The results were good. Five good 'bows ordered eggs for breakfast! I added another in the riffles below the pipe section. It was a good 2 1/2 hours away from the crowd. The pipe is a good section especially if you're the only one there which is rare. It pays to move around and "explore". Double-click the middle photo to check out the "crew" at the Pipe.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Three Westfield Trips And A "New Spot"

The East Branch never fails me. On September 29 I took a quick trip to the Bliss Pool and it was really a quick trip. One hour was spent casting an Isonychia dry and that fly drove six trout to the surface where three were landed. The two browns looked like they were new to the river but the rainbow was dark and red, a beautiful fish. On October 1st I guided a fellow in the late afternoon and we repeated the score from Tuesday - two browns which rose to a caddis an a 'bow which grabbed a bugger as darkness fell. Not too bad!!

But I've had mind mind on some "new water", at least new to me. In August I took a drive to the the Middle Branch above Littleville Lake to check this place out. The lake has a good population of browns I am told which feast on the smelt which populate that body of water. Browns spawn in the Fall and it seemed logical that they would run up the Middle Branch if water conditions are right. Well, we had a rainy Saturday an an early Sunday morning look at the online gauge showed an increased flow. Off I went.

The Middle Branch is a beautiful place and I spent a few hours casting egg patterns and a few streamers over all the likely spots. I'd like to say that a 4lb brown came to the net but I'd be telling a tall tale. I caught nothing and saw the same but the misty morning light coupled with the early Fall colors made it all with while.

I'm sure that there is some kind of run up from the lake and I'll be back. I can see it now - A cloudy day after a heavy rain in early November. My little marabou ghost, swinging through the current, suddenly STOPS!

That's what we live for, right??