Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

Monday, December 28, 2009

The End Of '09

A warm, drizzly day in late December equals a cold, drizzly day in late March. At least that's what it felt like Sunday morning as I walked across the field to the gauge and pipe sections of the Swift except I knew that Spring was not right around the corner but was a full three months away and that this balmy weather was nothing more than a brief tease. Time to make the best of it!!

The pipe was full so I headed up to the gauge where the size 16 serendipity did it's thing in those skinny riffles. Then down to the pipe where the 'bows attacked it. All told I took seven in two hours and missed a few more. The serendipity that I tied was a bit different than the common one that we use and I was pleased with how it performed. That makes a few good trips under it's belt!

Winter is a time when we tie and dream and occasionally fish if the Swift behaves itself. I'll be doing all three plus posting on these activities. I've been tying A LOT!!

Happy New Year and Stay Tuned!


Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Swift On A Cold Sunday Morning

Yahoo Weather said that it was 9 degrees in Amherst at 7am. It was 9 degrees EVERYWHERE! But at 8:30 the water at the pipe didn't feel so bad ( only 42 degrees) and I was the only one there at the "pipe". I had to get out there, get my waders wet and feel that drifting fly at the end of my leader. I was dressed for the weather and was ready to go and the thought of NOT going was too much to bare.

It was "fly guessing time". What to use? After a little self imposed deliberation I chose a size 18 serendipity and that was all that was needed. In the two plus hours there I took 13 'bows. The "dark" fish were sluggish, the one or two "bright" fish fought like hell. Another regular showed up towards the end and we had fun gabbing about water levels, why some don't catch fish, the Farmington all the while playing with the 'bows.

I like the Swift especially when the sulphurs are popping up on a late June evening with water levels being "just right". The Swift has a job to do: keeping me involved and happy during these dark months. I have to admit that my mind drifted to those perfect days on the Millers and the EB when everything is the way it should be, at least in my day dreams. Until then I'll be bundled and layered up on the Swift, working my favorite tiny flies and dreaming of Hendricksons.

This may not be the last post of the year but if it is I wish all of you a great and wonderful Christmas Season. Many of you have responded in the past year with some very nice things to say and I appreciate all of it.

May next season be the best season for all!


Sunday, December 6, 2009

The EB Of The Westfield - A Season In Review

Yes, I'm calling it a season on this river. There's snow on the lawn outside my window and the air temperature is hovering around 30 degrees. The next snow will probably be measured in inches instead of this overnight dusting and that will close down the dirt access road that runs through the Gorge and that will be the end of it until April. Ok, I could be brave and dodge the snowmobiles that will be racing up and down the Gorge but that will leave me ice covered boulders and just patches of open water to play in. No dice. That's what the Swift and the Farmington are for.

How do I sum up this season? It may have been one of the BEST seasons I've had on ANY RIVER!! First, it is the beautiful remoteness of this river that I've fallen in love with. I've guided two people on the EB and both said it was like fishing in the Rockies. Sure, summer weekends can find swimmers in the upper reaches but a short walk leaves all of that behind. Weekdays are perfect!!!

This is reliable RAINBOW COUNTRY which is a rarity here in Massachusetts. Most freestone streams give up their 'bows by July 4th but not this place. I had free rising rainbows from May through October and I bet they were rising during some of those Indian Summer days in November THAT I MISSED!! And during the last two years the fly fishing never really slowed down during the height of Summer. Evenings were sublime, early mornings even better. One hot weekend day I took a walk down to Indian hollow and back and saw rising fish throughout the river especially at the Hemlock Pool. You can rely on this place.

The EB actually saved the season for me with the Millers and the Swift flowing at full bore for much of the Summer. We would get a storm which would blow the river from 300 to 1000cfs
overnight but in a day and a half it was down to 500cfs while the Millers was still rising and RISING! This roadless, forested land keeps it's water too. The tribs and springs ran steadily all summer keeping the main river cool. I do wonder what a severe drought would do to the EB. The last two summers were very wet and I can see where the river could get a bit boney but I believe that the EB and it's trout can weather a "normal" summer. I'm not going to worry about it.

I'll fish the Swift this winter if the water level stays reasonable. I'll spend the winter tying flies too, but I'll be daydreaming about the East Branch during these dark months.