Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB
Fly Fishing The Millers - With over 30 years of fly fishing this river I will claim more knowledge and fish caught than anyone. There are over 40 miles of river and I will take you to the best sections and if you want to sections that never see another angler. Don't be fooled by those who say the Millers is a Spring and Fall river. I'll show you how to have great Summer action. The "EB of the Westfield" - Wild and beautiful is the only way to describe this river. There's a lot of water here but I know where to go to catch trout. After a trip you will too!! Solitude and trout IS the EB. The Swift - 20 trout days are not uncommon on this river if you know what to do and use. I'll show the way and you catch the trout. RATES - Full Day (6 hours) = $150.00 for one, $225 for two (lunch included). Half Day (three hours) $90.00 for one, $155.00 for two. Beginners Class - 3 hours ffor $90.00, all use of rods lines, reels included.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Swift - 8/21 Through Now




It was strange to find myself at the "Pipe", at 10:30am on a weekend morning, and find NOBODY THERE!! The trout were there, maybe not in the numbers of seasons past, but they were there and the few souls who ventured there caught fish. The 'bows were old timers, nice and dark, as was the tiny five inch brown that also came to the net. I took five, two on hot spots and three on hoppers (yes!!).

Bondsville had me dualing with some very selective fish last Friday evening. Rainbows and brookies were working the surface but I could only manage three fish. The rest kept me puzzled. A rise here, a rise there but nothing chasing the sparse mayfly hatch that was in the air. In any event it was fun.

I'm still praying for rain to bring the Millers back to normal. September is approaching and that is my favorite month on that river.

Ken

19 comments:

Gerry said...

Ken,
Good to hear the Pipe is producing. Are there thermal refuges in the Millers that will enable the fish to make it until the cool water arrives? I know the rivers in So. NH and NE MA are not likely to have any trout going into September.
- Gerry

Millers River Flyfisher said...

There are a number of tribs on the lower Millers that didn't run dry and would provide refuge. There are some springs that I know of too. Whether there's enough cool water to make a difference is the question.

Ken

Tom said...

Ken, any thoughts on the Westfield. Do you think any fish survived the low water. I see that the Westfield in Knightville is up to 73 cfs from the recent rains. Is that fishable or still too low? Thinking of trying it this weekend or may just head to the Deerfield

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Summer weekends can get crowded with the swimmers and with the low water it will be worse. Maybe VERY early morning would work. If not then hit the Deerfield.

Ken

browntrout said...

Its highly unlikely many of the fish in the east branch survived this summers drought. The water really heats up there under normal conditions which stresses the trout never mind how bad this summer has been. And with no rain ALOT more exposed rock only radiates that much more heat.
73cfs is a trickle still. Ordinarily you would want to wade the gorge section with flows between 200-400, a perfect example of how dire conditions are there now. Unfortunately, MA F&G does only a minor stocking of that section in the fall, so I suspect beyond the foliage there won't be alot to take in there until next season. What a difference a year makes. In 2009 with all those rains we had, it was one of the best fishing years on record. This year I din't even bother going once.
-BT

Millers River Flyfisher said...

I'll hold judgement on the EB for a few weeks. The last two seasons were perfect. This year will be a test. If there are fish to be fished over in September then we can say that the trout can survive the worst. It may prove to be a good baseline for that river.

I hate Fall stockings!! It is really a "fish in a barrel" situation, much worse than the Spring dumpings.

Steven said...

I'll confirm Browntrout's thoughts... brought the family up to the EB with notions of wetting a fly after the rain & cooler temps. While the girls rode bikes, I waded a LONG stretch & saw nothing. Never even cast a fly.

I'm no expert, but I do know where to find the 'bows on this river, and there were none. Harsh conditions this summer.

Perhaps this week's heat will be brief & I'll play with the browns again down at the Housy this fall.

Enjoy the blog, Ken.

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Steven,

I will go out on a limb and say that your trip was a mid day( 10am to 4pm) excursion. Those hours would not have worked during the last two seasons when the water level was perfect. Freestone streams in mid New England, from mid June through Labor Day, are early morning/evening events. That was certainly so last year under very perfect conditions. I caught many trout last year but they were caught after 7pm or where shadows hit the water before that time.

I'm not giving up on this river. This Summer drought is as bad as we will see. A good rain and September temperatures may show some surprises.

browntrout said...

Ken,

I have to disagree with you. I've been fishing the East branch for over a dozen years now. I fish it only weekdays right through until mid August usually between 7:30-5pm.

The prior 2 summers I had several 20 fish days there during these hours using both nymphs and dries based on conditions and locations. I'm not sure why you think fish only eat before light and at dusk during the summer. If your only fishing a few select big pools that might be a bit more the case, however there are fish throughout the river in all types of water that must feed to maintain their strength throughout the day. Late in the month last July I took two of the largest trout I have ever caught in the East Branch mid day. I might suggest you re-think your fish philosophy.

Millers River Flyfisher said...

browntrout,

Good to see that you have done well during the mid day during the height of Summer on this river. If you check my 8/19/09 post you'll see that I experienced the same and that was not the only time. But the truth remains - early mornings and evenings give us the best conditions for fly fishing on any freestone, especially the miles that I have fished on the EB! There's a reason why we have named a certain event the "evening rise".

browntrout said...

Ken,

My comment is in your response to Steven; "I will go out on a limb and say that your trip was a mid day( 10am to 4pm) excursion. Those hours would not have worked during the last two seasons when the water level was perfect. Freestone streams in mid New England, from mid June through Labor Day, are early morning/evening events."
I disagree. That term "evening rise" only justifies dry fly fishing and though certainly fish will become more pronounced in July/August at dusk (showing themselves), they certainly eat during the daytime periods as well. Not trying to be nitpicky with words here however I call them as I see them.
Circling back to Tom's original question on the EB, I will state again it is highly unlikely that many, if any stocked trout have survived this summer drought and heat wave on the EB. I would tend to think that possibly some fish on the main stem below the dam may have found refuge in deeper water or at the confluences if creeks.

Millers River Flyfisher said...

From" SELECTIVE TROUT, by Doug Swisher and Carl Richards, 1971

"Hatches of the midseason represent a transition for the afternoon activity to evening and night emergence. As the days become warm, early morning activity also begins to develop. In fact, we could call this the season of the dusk and dawn hatches. Decide what time of day is the most pleasant for you, and that is usually the best time for the emergence to take place. In the heat of summer, the most pleasant time of day for man is the cool of early morning or late evening".

From: Noel Coward, 1931,

"Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun"

And lastly, the "evening rise" doesn't just "justify" dry fly fishing. There's much subsurface fishing during it's early stages as you know. Also, trout feeding is greatly determined, among other things, by water temperature. Feeding decreases as the water temperature departs from optimum levels, either up or down.

browntrout said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
browntrout said...

Once again Ken, my comment is simply a response to your statement to Steven where you say "I will go out on a limb and say that your trip was a mid day( 10am to 4pm) excursion. Those hours would not have worked during the last two seasons when the water level was perfect".
I respectfully disagree and had 20 fish days last summer to prove it.
I'm ready to move on...

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Thanks for repeating my statement. I still stand by it.

You must be the same "browntrout" that scolded me last October for giving too much information in my reports. Hope that your summertime mid day hours on the EB are not going to be too crowded because of your endorsement.

Over and Out

browntrout said...

Ken,
No need to get heated here. My previous point was simply that there are other ways to report a successful day on a river without "giving it all away". To speak of a 20 fish day on the east branch tells one nothing. The C&R section alone is over 7 miles long. A fly fisherman still needs to determine; where to go, what to use, how to present etc.. based on each days particular conditions. As you know, much of the fun in fly fishing comes from the rewards of figuring it out on your own.
Your show and tell all style conversely takes all the guesswork out of it ie; go to this spot seen in pic, stand here, use this fly...
Posting reports like this on the Swift are fine, I guess, due in part to its already over-exploited popularity. Seeing this similar method of cyber reporting coming from you on the EB I find disapointing, that's all.
Is nothing sacred from the internet?
Browntrout

Millers River Flyfisher said...

No, nothing is sacred from the internet as you say just as nothing has been sacred from the fly fishing magazine where-to-go-what-to use articles that we have been ingesting for forty years. Sorry if my localizing the fly fishing scene bothers you. I may never see you on the lower Swift which I've been writing about this Summer. I still see few people there although there are more people fishing it if my email traffic is any indication. I may never meet you on the EB. I mention different EB pools and runs in my posts but I still fish them mostly alone BUT others now fish them but at different times.

I don't "give it all away". I tell a tale, paint a picture and hopefully get the juices flowing. As Sparse Grey Hackle once said "You should have been at Cairns last night". No airbrushed, cryptic report from that man. And if the "thank you" emails are any indication I'll continue to do it.

browntrout said...

Life and fishing go on Ken, we'll agree to disagree. I just thought it important you knew not all fly fishermen appreciate the "openess" to this manner of story telling.
An old adage goes "loose lips sink ships", I hope you might give that some thought in the future when reporting. And even when Sparse Grey Hackle said "you should have been at Cairns last night", he certainly did not include a picture of the spot along directions and patterns.
Respectfully -Browntrout

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Actually he did.