Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

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.



Anonymous said...

Good tale about this river. It's been years since i fished it. Now I wish it was May.


Anonymous said...

What is the name of the pool way further down below Hemlock? It has cliffs on one side with hemlocks on both. The river slips upriver then comes back together at the head of this pool. Its on a bend.

Adrians Blog said...

Great review. The river never ceases to amaze me and numbers wise and size of the fish I caught with family and friends were the best ever this past spring and summer. I dream of those long days spent on the river poking around every run, riffle, pool and boulder garden in search of a feisty bow. Cant wait for the end of next May as my step father, brother, and I have the time frame earmarked for a few days of trout bliss. Not to mention we three have to settle some scores we have with some of the inhabitants that snubbed us or got off. In particular a very large rainbow that haunts me whenever I think of a particular pool and large bankside subsurface ledge. Thanks for the great write up Ken and tight lines all.


Anonymous said...

man I love that place. I just moved back to the area and was able to fish it a few times before the cold weather hit...was there on one of those freak warm days in early november and got a bunch - BIG ones too - right by the gorge. thats where I got my first trout on a fly, such a great river. cant wait til spring!

Millers River Flyfisher said...


I've seen that pool below Hemlock. It's a gorge also if I'm talking about the same place as you. It has no name that I know of.


dale said...

I too have really learned to love the EB. I'm not really a morning person, and I found one of the best ways to beat the hot days of summer was a late start, brookies on a little tributary during the day and then down to the main river once the sun starts going down. One night I got a 16 inch bow, a 16 inch brown, and a real pig that I never saw that bombed 30 yards down stream, jumped, and broke itself off.

I spent quite a few weekend days out there, mostly near Indian Hollow, and here's my company:

Poachers: 0
Bait fishers: 0
Spin fishers: 2 (my dad and brother who visited from MI for a fishing weekend)
Fly fishers: 1
Park ranger: 1
Hikers: 4 + dog
Beavers: 3
Heron: 1
River otters: 2

Once last year I saw some campers that looked like they were doing some sort of historical reenactment.

I've yet to find any place as awesome as the EB, and it's only a half hour from Northampton. Amazing!

And Ken, your Millers bivisible is killer on those small stream brookies! Definitely my go-to fly this year. Thanks!

Millers River Flyfisher said...


Glad that you love the EB!! Many have said the same thing but as your log of visitors suggests it's still a place where one finds themselves alone and I've got the feeling that it's going to remain that way because of it's size and remoteness.

The Millers Bivisible - I can hardly wait to swing one of those through some choppy runs next Spring.


Cluster said...

Ken, did you ever get a chance to go out on another mission for those lake run browns you mentioned awhile back? Anyway, i hope to see you on the swift one of these days. If i dont turn into an ice cube i'll probably try to put a couple hours in this sunday.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your posts. As a Mass newbie, your blog gave "persuaded" me to trek over to the EB and give it whirl. I wasn't disappointed by the beauty of the location as well as the bite (had my best day thus far since moving).


Millers River Flyfisher said...


I had a Sunday morning all set for a second chance at the lake rainbows/browns that head up the middle branch from the lake but the flu did me in. There's smelt in that lake and smelt like to move upstream in the Spring to spawn with the big guys following them. I hope to be there too.


Glad that you like the posts!