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, January 25, 2011

DRY FLIES DRY FLIES DRY FLIES!!!!!





Backcast to 1971. The Squannacook River spills over the dam at Townsend Harbor and dances over riffles for a few hundred yards until it slows down to form a long slow pool before it hits a bank and takes a 90 degree right turn before entering a riffle flow again. I'm at the top of those last riffles when I see it - a rising trout right in the pool formed by the above mentioned bend. I've been fly fishing for a year, have caught a good amount of trout, many on my own primitive sunken offerings but NEVER have I caught one on a dry, my known or anyone else's. Now is my chance. Off goes the nymph and on goes my own hand tied, size 14 light cahill with a tail that's too short, wings that are too long and oversized hackle that was lathered on hiding most of the hook eye. But it's my dry fly and I'm in the classic position for an upstream approach. A few casts and that dry fly disappears and I bring a 12 inch brown to the net. That did it. I was hooked on the dry fly.

The next few years found me fishing Summer evenings on the Squannacock using dries exclusively. The habit continued on the Millers where I met the evening rise on the Upper Trestle Pool or the Kempfield with an upstream approach. In fact, I've never fished the Upper Trestle after 6pm without a dry offering on the end of a leader. The same can be said about the EB's Bliss Pool. I've also worked and I mean WORKED over the years to perfect my tying of dries. I guess that I'm hooked!!

Do I still fish subsurface flies? Of course but dries are more fun. Last winter I read the great early 20th century author George LaBranche's "The Dry Fly And Fast Water". LaBranche, ever the purist, didn't need rising trout to fish a dry. He worked likely looking water the same way that we do with subsurface flies and got them to rise. It works - believe me!

Maybe some season I'll take the plunge and right at hendrickson time I'll switch to dries for the rest of the season. No soft hackles, no possum nymphs, only flies that I can see. Or maybe I won't. All of these ideas sound good in the depths of January.

Ken

10 comments:

DRYFLYGUY said...

Ken,
I love this post! Dries are my thing, though I don't tie my own. I'm the other way as to what you just described. My whole preferance is dries, and I keep saying every winter that I'm going to really concentrate on that over filled box of nymphs in the spring, but some habits are hard to break?

A dry sipped off the surface from a trout is very rewarding.

Tightlines.....DRYFLYGUY

browntrout said...

I would venute to say there are few that would not prefer dries over wets or nymph sub surface for obvious reason 1) its visual and 2) more rewarding as its more difficult to coax/entice a fish to the top vs a subsurface or deep pattern where they normally hold. Clearly a small delicate dry is the purist of all flyfishing. Some of my most rewarding fish were taken on dries. When, not effective, I will often switch up to a dry dropper rig with much success. Next time you are on the Swift this winter, try a size 12 Royal Wulff with a small brassie off the back. And fish it going up river. I've taken many fish on both with this tandem in the cold...
-BT

Millers River Flyfisher said...

BT,

I've been asked many times if I fish an "indicator". My glib response is "yes, but only if it has a hook in it". Maybe I'll try a bushy dry in the dead of Winter on the Swift without a bottom fly if you say it works.

I will disagree about anglers prefering a dry fly over wets (nymphs). I've seen and guided many whose first inclination is to cast a subsurface offering to trout that are in a surface rhythm. I think that many are uneasy about trying an upstream, dry fly approach. I've met VERY FEW who will cast a dry when surface activity was so-so. I believe that drys will work, if cast to likely holding areas, when there is little or no surface activity.

Bob O said...

It wasn't many years ago Ken I discovered the elk hair caddis. I was exploring new water on the lower Swift, not far above its convergence with the Ware. I cast to likely water. There were no evident rises in this stretch of broken water. In a long reach to the other side I watched that drifting #14 caddis disappear and retrieved it attached to a chunky rainbow.

Your post today reminded me taking that trout. Thank you.

browntrout said...

Ken,

I believe you misunderstood my point, that being, if given the option on how to catch a trout, most would prefer to do it on a dry fly before a sub surface nymph.
Next time you are at the Swift, wade in just above "pipe" at the screen with royal wulff or coachman, and small brassie, jailbird or chironmid dropper and work your way casting upriver all the way to the crib dam. If your casting to the likely spots, runs, edges, deeper slots (and I know you will), you should not be disapointed.
BT

Millers River Flyfisher said...

BT,

That's one of my favorite dry fly stretches. It's also one of my favorite sunken fly stretches. Maybe I'll combine the two for that stretch.

Ken

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Bob O,

Glad that I brought back a good memory. In four months we'll have that action again.

BTW, have you braved the elements over the past two weeks??

Ken

Bob O said...

Ken,
First time out in two weeks was yesterday for a couple of hours. Reports I heard of the Y pool were few fish taken, and some dead?? I fished below, and saw very few fish. Landed one beat up bow on a soft hackle. Snow was thigh deep - needless to say. I saw at least six others fishing. Curiously slow day.
Bob O

browntrout said...

Bob,
That could be due to a couple of reasons. Below route 9 often gets poached. Also, it could just have to do with timing. fish turn on and off throughout the day depending of atmospheric pressure/weather, temps. Or, maybe thye just did not like what you were offering or presentation. I usually find the best window of opportunity in winter between 11 and 2.

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Bob O,

I've seen this situation before. The Swift has been flowing at a mid 40cfs rate for a few months. This flow rate, and it's temperature, will be conducive for trout activity when the air temperature is reasonable. With heavy snow AND very COLD temperatures the water temperature will cool off quicker, slowing the trout's metabolism and giving us fewer opportunities to fool the trout. When the daytime temperatures are in the teens the water will become colder, even on the Swift, and our success will be less than it will be if the temperatures move into the 40's. I also believe that Swift trout will find sanctuary in deeper runs during these conditions like their freestone brothers.

In short, the trout are affected by colder conditions and will not feed as much. It is safe to say that if WE are having less luck then so are the poachers.

Ken