Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Wild Morning On The East Branch!

The flows seemed a bit high but still manageable so off I headed to the East Branch of the Westfield. On the drive to the Gorge I kept noticing the wind and even had a branch come down and hit the roof of my car just before I turned onto the dirt access road. I parked my car just past the Bliss turnoff and noticed that the limb that hit my vehicle left a "bing" on my roof. While suiting up I met a hiker with his dog. We said "hi" and I was then off to the river. THE WIND!!!!!! It took 20 feet of my 5wt line and had it flapping in the air like a skinny flag. It was hardly a good omen. One 12 inch rainbow fell to the heavy stonefly nymph before I called it a day after only an hour. That's when the fun started. I drove back up the road and when I came to the second turn-off my way was blocked by a MONSTER OAK that had been blown down taking three other fir trees with it. This was an event that I had thought about while driving out of this place during summer thundersorms and now it finally happened!!! What to do?? There's no cell service here and I thought of the walk out to find a house where I could make a call to the Chesterfield Police for some assistance. But what help could I get on a weekend in this small town? It was then that I saw the yellow DPW truck coming down the road. "We had a call" was what the driver said. One look at the massive tree brought this response, "I'll have to get the backhoe, be back in 30 minutes". 30 minutes later a truck arrived with a backhoe right behind. Chainsaws and mechanical brute force made quick work of this "tree slide".

"Thank You" to the Chesterfield DPW who cleared the way. They were good guys and they were very good natured about it. Who called them? I bet it was the hiker with the dog. "THANK YOU" who ever you are!!

I'll be back but I'll keep an eye on the wind going forward! That "bing" on my car's roof seems like a small concern right now!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Millers - A Season Review

It's about time that I said something about this season on the Millers. A washout? Maybe!! I first cast a fly on this river in the Spring of 1985. For over 20 years this river never failed me as far as the fishing conditions were concerned, especially from June onward. There were some high water events but they seemed rare compared to the last two seasons. I've never seen anything like this. I guided two gents on the lower Millers back on June 11th. The flow was about 250cfs, perfect for the dry fly fishing that we were after. The next day the flow topped 1200cfs and it didn't drop below 500cfs until late August. I thought I'd never see another 2008 but I did and it was worse. We all salvaged some days this Fall and that's a good thing.

Do I give up on the place? NO WAY!! It's just too good when things are right and I'm sure things will get back to normal. I'm waiting for next season!!

The Swift - 38cfs means more patience and a slower approach. I spent two hours Sunday morning working from the crib dam downstream. One small rainbow on a scud. That was it.

Happy Thanksgiving!!! I'm hoping that the Westfield will work for me on Friday!


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Swift River Alert - Stop The Poachers!!!1

Ok, it's time to put up or shut up! Marla Blair had her tires slashed last Thursday because she had the nerve to confront some poachers!! Now, we fish the Swift, we love the Swift, we bitch about the fish hogs on the Swift BUT they are worse than ever and that is because they feel they can get away with it. WE need to bring this to an end! The best way to do that is to get some well publicized arrests! If you see someone with bait on this river before Jan. 1st, turn them in! If you see stringers of fish well over the limit between Jan 1st and the end of July, turn them in! The DFW number is 800-632-8075. The State Police number at Quabbin is 413-323-7561. Write these numbers down and keep them with your license. Use your cell phone!!

We all know that fly fishers respect the rules about this river. Watch out for the others. Some bait users obey the laws but enough don't and that's the problem.

Let's protect this resource!


Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Late Season Hour On The East Branch

This would have been an easy decision three months ago. Just leave work at the end of the day and spend three peaceful hours until dark fishing the East Branch of the Westfield. Now darkness comes at 5:30 and I knew when I made the decision to "go for it" that it was an ever shrinking window of opportunity. I had maybe an hour.

I hadn't tied on anything but a dry fly for this river since late June and I didn't want to end the streak. At first glance there was nothing rising on the Bliss Pool but then I saw a swirl at the head of the pool. There were no insects in the air so I used an old strategy: nothing in the air, use something BIG. On went a size 12 muddler with a good dose of floatant. It was on about the fourth cast when the 14 inch 'bow rose up and smashed the muddler.

This will probably be my last "evening trip" of the season and it was a pleasure to take that trout on the surface. I may hit the Millers on Sunday if Saturday's rains don't blow it out but it will be a mid day trip if I do. No more "evening rises" until next May. That's a long way off!!!


Monday, November 9, 2009

The Swift's "Duck Pond"

It was a very busy weekend with only a two hour window to cast a fly and that window was in the early afternoon on Saturday. The two major parking lots on the Swift were jammed (counted 23 cars) but there were no cars at the first spot that I had ever fished on this river: the Duck Pond. This place, a few hundred yards downstream from the Rt 9 bridge, gets it's name from the "pen" of ducks that a land owner constructed on the river. (there were no ducks on Saturday) It is also the spot of the remains of a stone structure that had collapsed into the river years ago. It was thought that this "dam" backed the water up on this stretch of river so the local TU chapter had it taken away. The promised riffles never materialized and the upstream stretch remains about the same as it did 20 years ago when I first fished it.
There is a good holding pool below the remains of the structure and my 2nd cast of a scud pattern took a good rainbow. I really wanted to check out the riffles that are downstream from this section but as I made my way downstream I saw two flyfishers working that water. Upstream of the "dam" I could see two more anglers working that slow water.
It pays to hit the water early!! Next weekend.....

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Rainy Morning On The Swift

Saturday, October 31 - I made it to the lower Swift parking lot at 6:30am with drizzle in the air before anyone else. Within a minute or two a van pulled up with two guys setting a record for suiting up and heading for the "pipe". I didn't mind because I had my mind on fishing alone from the crib dam downstream over that beautiful stretch that runs beyond the gauge station. I wasn't disappointed. I had the place to myself except for one angler who explored the crib dam after I left it. I could here the cars coming and going during the two hours that I was there. Nobody seemed to stay to long probably due to the weather - off and on downpours that put a lot of leaves in the water and tested the resolve of anyone who ventured out on that morning. I would have stayed longer but home activities were waiting.

This was fun!! Very skinny water due to the 60cfs flow and trout being found in water that barely covered them. Five 'bows came to the net with one four inch brookie that grabbed my fly almost at my feet! I still had egg patterns on the brain but luckily so did the trout. The fly was a micro egg #20 which these guys just can't resist. The small size was probably the reason for the lost fish but that's ok.

The Fall is nice but it really is the end of months of fishing AT ANY TIME when I'm not at my day job. No more evenings casting to rising trout during the week. I HATE IT!!!!! The next five months will find us working the Swift or the Farmington during the daylight on weekends unless we work a vacation day into the mix. The two above mentioned rivers are a godsend to us during the "dark months" and it sure beats ice fishing!!! Speaking of the Farmington - the word is out that CT. licenses are DOUBLING in cost for 2010. Oh well.

Let's hope for some balmy weekends in November and December. It can happen!


P.S. The first photo was taken from the gauge station two days before. Fish from the opposite shore through the whole stretch.