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.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Millers - It Has Survived!!!





This past week was hard. Sometimes personal things change everything and they did. Fly fishing was something far from my mind as my drive back home found me near Wendell Depot. I needed a break and the chance to check out the Kempfield, take some low water photos and the idea to just chill a bit seemed right. With only my camera a took the walk over the trestle, into the woods and down the hill to the top of the Run. The island at the top of this run is now connected by dry land. (see above photos) I've never seen that before. The big, slow pool at the end has a large rock breaking the surface. Never seen that before either. I've never seen such a low water condition on this river!! I hadn't been here since early July. I saw the low flow online, heard the stories of dieing trout and even began to believe that my brown trout would not make it. Like I said, I've never seen it this bad before. I sat down and spent a half hour just taking it in.

In a while the sun sank below on of the tall pines on the opposite shore, putting me in the shade. The air felt cool. It was 6pm with an hour till sundown and that's when I saw it - A RISE!!! Back to the car I went for waders and a 4wt (never leave home without it) and then back to the spot.

Here's what happened. The water felt cool and a quick temperature check registered 67 degrees - the same range as every 20+ years on this river on an early September evening. The air was filling with a small (#18) yellowish mayfly and rises were beginning to mark the surface in that beautiful glide above the large, slow pool. I fished for a half an hour and took three dark, beautiful browns on dries. I could of fished longer but after snapping the leader on the last release I called it a night. The browns fought hard with that bulldog "nose in the gravel" battle that browns are known for.

I've fished this river, this spot, for 26 seasons and have never seen such dry conditions. Even I, who have waved the pom-poms for browns for all these decades, began to lose faith in their survival. I STAND CORRECTED!!!!!

As I say on my home page - Browns are the ONLY trout that belong in the Millers!!

There's your proof!

Ken

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey Ken,
Glad to hear the Miller's browns survived the summer! Wish the Quinnebaug was better managed, no C&R out here and it shows. I was reading that long post you had with someone a few weeks ago and am curious to know if there are any trout left in the EB? I made it out to the pipe this past weekend, the Swift is a great fishery! Thanks for the posts Ken, you do an excellent job!
Cliff

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Cliff,

I wanted to check the EB tonight but things came up. Maybe tomorrow.

The Swift is great but I'd like to see them stop the yo-yo flow regime on that river.

Thanks for the good comments!!

Ken

Tom said...

After reading your blog I decided to give the Millers a shot last night. Parked at the power station...crossed the river...and walked up to the corner..around 5:45 I began to see a few rises...near the newly visible rock just below the downed pine...I cast my BWO right at the swirl...2 quick strips of the line later I had a nice brown on....did this 3 different times in about 40 minutes...also caught a half dozen smallmouths...so, 3 browns...6 bass...and no sign of the big bear giving neighbors problems....nice to finally be able to fish the Millers again...Tom S.

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Tom,

Great to see your report. We may get some rain tonight which will (hopefully) improve conditions!!

If the browns in the Kempfield Pool made it through this terrible Summer then I think that the browns in the Upper Trestle Pool did well too. One has to think that stocking rainbows in this river amounts to a death sentence for this species in "normal" years, a certainty in years like this!!

We have another two months of dry fly fishing on this river. Let's take advantage of it!!

Ken

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Tom,

The bear situation - I've seen three within 100 yards of my home this Summer, one between 300-400 lbs. Just yell at them and they run!!

Ken

bert said...

Thanks for the report Ken. I have been wondering what happened to the trout in the Millers, as I didn't fish it after late June. If the browns can handle this past summer (with many record-low flow days), they can handle anything, and that's great to know! I'll have to check it out the coming week

Bert

Mike said...

Ken,

Hope to check out the Bearsden section next week - will let you know what I find. Based on various scientific studies, theoretically the 'Bows have a slightly higher thermal tolerance than Browns - so the question is why is it that the Browns survive and the 'Bows do not? My theory is that the Browns are somehow smarter than the Rainbows and know how to find and migrate to thermal refuges to hunker down during tough times.

Falsecast said...

Ken,
Great posts as always. To what extent do you feel the Miller's Browns are wild. My assumption is that the Browns talked about here are all stockies and perhaps holds. I also assume that some of smaller tribs have some wild trout. Do you ever catch those?

I have only fished the Swift since early July and done very well recently (even with the yo you flows) on big hoppers. I even pulled out some of my Rocky Mnt paterns and did ok. Itching to fish somewhere else though.

Andrew

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Mike,

Rainbows generally have a LOWER thermal resistance than browns except for some isolated strains in some arid, hot climates out west. Those fish adapted to that climate. Rainbows have never shown up in the late season surveys of the Millers. It takes a high water summer to give them a chance. I also agree that they are smarter and probably dominate over 'bows for the best thermal refuge.

Falsecast,

There are some wild browns in the Millers but not many. Holdovers exist and you can catch them in the early Spring before the newer browns arrive.

Almost every Millers trib has wild brookies and some wild browns.

Anonymous said...

Ken,


Do you think there are browns left in the middle section of the bearsden?

THere are some real nice holes there that I would think they would hold.

Als, can fish on the millers be caught subsurface this time of year? or are they keyed in on dries mostly?

Sam said...

Great news on the Kempfield Section. Be there Saturday

Sam A
Ipswich MA

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Anonymous,

There should be trout to be caught in the bearsden. I would use any method that would work. I like dry fly fishing but I have caught them subsurface at this time of year also.

Ken

Anonymous said...

Hey Ken,

Quick question. Mass stocking schedule shows Fall stocking will begin next Monday and run for at least a week, maybe two. My question is while the Millers River is shown as a river that gets Fall stocking, do you know where. Looks like they are showing it occuring in Winchendon, which seems way up river from even the Bears Den. Does Erving C&R get a look in the Fall. Was out on Millers last Sunday in AM. Was mostly small mouth at both Upper Trestle and lower Kempfield. Had a nice brown on that I lost. Amazing how low the water is at Upper Trestle. Thanks.

John

Millers River Flyfisher said...

John,

I think that you were looking at the Central District map which would include Roylston (Bears Den). The Ervng (Connecticut District) section of the Millers is also scheduled for a Fall stocking.

Will it happen? I think not because the water is so low. Fall stocking usually means rainbows and frankly I haven't seen evidence of new rainbows in the Fall on this river for years. That's ok because the fishing for browns has been great in the Fall for decades. Tonight I caught one brown and missed another in an hour at sundown despite the low water. That's ok with me.

Ken

Anonymous said...

Rainbows were definitely stocked last year, as I caught a few under the Wendell Depot Bridge last October

Anonymous said...

Hi Ken,
I'd like to hear if I'm the only one who notices this.
Last Saturday morning, I was the first person on the "Y" pool on the Swift. I picked up 2 15"+ rainbows on dries before the crowd showed and I left. They were beautiful trout, but they had no fight, they really mailed it in.
I went down to the Bondsville section, and caught 2 more rainbows and 2 brookies, all smaller than 12", but all fought like crazy.
The difference in the fight of these trout was dramatic. So my question is, do the trout up in the fly only zone get caught so often that they just give up the ghost, knowing that they will be returned to the water?
Skip

bert said...

Interesting notion, but I doubt it.
If the trout were that "smart" one would think they would avoid that petting zoo altogether....

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Skip,

Funny that you should mention that. I caught a good sized 'bow next to the gauge below Rt 9 a week ago. It had no fight at all. I also caught an eight inch bow that fought like hell with three foot jumps.

Anonymous said...

Bert and Ken,

I agree, "smart" is probably not the right term, but this tendancy of heavilly pressured fish, who may have been hooked and played several times to give up the ghost is something that I've noticed often. Frankly it is the reason that I usually try to avoid the "Y" pool and places like it, in favor of smaller trout and a little more seclusion.

Skip

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Bert,

I like your term "petting zoo"!!!! I've heard the Y Pool referred to as the "practice green" also.

Skip,

Bondsville trout are smaller but as you say they fight much harder!!

bert said...

The Bondsville section is pretty nice. There's not that many trout there, but the ones that are there take dries pretty well. The stream also looks nicer that above Rt 9, with pools, rapids, rocks etc. There are billions of suckers in there though. At first i got very excited because I thought "my" pool was stacked with trout. I started to doubt it because they were all hugging the bottom, and I knew for sure they weren't trout when i caught one a woolly bugger.
Checked out the Millers yesterday after a 2-month absence. very little water and unfortunately nor rises from trout. Plenty of small smallmouths though. Pity they are not bigger, because they fight like crazy.

Anonymous said...

The Millers is over 100 for the first time in months. Time to dust off the fly rod and get out there for some fall fishing.
Couldn't agree more about the rainbows. I really hate to use my fishing license money to fund the stocking of a fish that has no chance of survival. There are years that I has simply refused to fish for that very reason!

Anonymous said...

Was at the Millers at Wendell Depot at 4:00 today.....WATER.....and lots of it....actually would consider it blown out..there were 2 gentlemen fly fishing...and I went just around the corner to the Kempfield pool...didn't take long to determine that there would be no fishing today.
I'm hoping that in a day or 2 the river will settle down and the fishing will pick up. Your thoughts Ken?
Tom

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Hmm...When it rains it pours!!!!

As I write this the lower Millers is running at 600cfs. I may run higher tomorrow morning. It usually takes more than two days for it to come down if history is any indication. I'd like to see it come down to 300cfs and stay there for a while.

Michael said...

I had a day to remember on the upper Swift Sunday. I caught close to 20 rainbows and one wild brookie. Great action.

Michael

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Michael,

Someone told me that they ran into a guy who took 20 above the bridge but they said it was on Monday. It was probably you!!! Great Day!!!

Ken