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, June 14, 2011

NOW For The Millers And An Odd Fish




What a difference a year makes!! Last year at this time we were praying for rain which really never came. Now things are perfect on this river. Although the flow topped the 400cfs level yesterday it is now on the way down which will give us the best mid June flows since 2007 and it's reasonable to suggest that these flows will last through the weekend at least. The browns are working the surface so get to them!!

I've had stoneflies on the brain (an annual June affliction) and evenings on the EB and photos like the one above only reinforce it. This fly, dropped into the heads of pools and danced around the glassy tailouts, will cause trout to lose caution and smash this imitation. Don't leave home without it!!

The "Odd Fish". This happened this past Sunday while guiding two fellows on the lower Millers. We brought a fish to the net which at first defied description. It was 9 to 10 inches long. If it was 4 to 6 inches we would of known the species. It was the LARGEST Atlantic Salmon smolt that I've seen on this river. Smolt stage salmon are usually in the 12cm to 15cm (4-6 inch) range. This fellow was WAY over that. Now, a quick web check revealed that the last parr stocking in this river was in 2008. Correct me if I'm wrong. That means that this fellow was at least three years old. I would assume by it's size that it was older. All parr stocking for the last 15 years has been done in Royalston which means that this fish may have been heading to sea as a very large 3 year old or as an older fish. Anyway, it was a surprise and it was released quickly.

The Millers season is just beginning!!

Ken

22 comments:

Gerry said...

Ken,
Send that information to Ken Sprankle, Atlantic salmon coordinator for the CT River system Ken_Sprankle@fws.gov He might shed some light on the subject, He would also like to hear about one of "his" fish.
tight lines, Gerry

deanwo said...

That's incredible, Ken. For all the misaligned bashing of the Salmon restoration efforts on the Connecticut, this is some really good news. Might have to get out on the Miller this weekend.

Anonymous said...

not all males smolt, some will mature in the rivers without going to sea.

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Anonymous,

THANK YOU!! I was wondering if that could be the case. We used to catch 5 inch salmon on a regular basis but never one this large. In any event that fish is a relict since I believe that the Millers is off the salmon parr stocking list.

Ken

browntrout said...

Ken,

Thank you for identifying that stone fly. I saw several of them on the EB 3 weeks ago crawling on rocks. The white spots on their back through me for a loss. I am amazed at how big they are. Now I know why my stimulator worked so well.
-BT

Scott M. said...

Ken,
I am assuming that you weren't able to snap a photo of that "odd" fish? That would have been proof positive that the Millers is still harboring Atlantic Salmon. It also helps reinforce the need for improving upstream fish passage on the Orange and Athol hydropower dams....This is very important finding indeed, and the word needs to get out! Great post!!!! Keep'em coming. I love the Millers!

Millers River Flyfisher said...

I wrote about this "odd fish" because it was odd to see a smolt that was that large. As I said we used to catch 4-5 inch smolts when they regularly stocked the river with salmon parr. I was not trying to endorse this program which should be ended. It was doomed to fail. The resources should be spent elsewhere.

Ken

Anonymous said...

Thanks for putting this in it's proper perspective Ken. It would be really noteworthy if one started finding pods of 4"-5" smolts today but 1 freak smolt holdover is just a reminder of a failed and flawed program.

Anonymous said...

Well using that line of logic, we should just stop stocking the Millers with trout all together shall we?... 20 years of stocking hasn't produced a self sustaining trout population either...Granted there maybe a few wild and holdover brown trout here and there, but not in significant numbers to call that a success either. You still need to stock the Millers with brown trout every year don't you????

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Anonymous,

First, the Millers has NEVER been stocked with browns or any other trout species to CREATE a self sustaining trout population. It's been stocked with browns to create a fishery that lasts through the season and that's it. I'd like to see the DFW EXPLORE the idea of a self sustaining brown population.

The Feds started the ATLANTIC SALMON RESTORATION PROGRAM to RESTORE Atlantic Salmon. After forty years it's safe to say that it has been a total failure. It may be safe to say that the Millers has more stream breed browns (it does) than the entire Connecticut River Watershed has RETURNING salmon and that is without even trying too!!!

I used to help stock salmon parr back in the 90's but I stopped waving the pom-poms for this program long ago. The program is based on folklore and hearsay, not true science.

Ken

browntrout said...

Ken,

I totally agree. In theory it was a wonderful idea, but lets face it, it was severly flawed from the outset. There is something to the effect of 100 dams along the CT, correct, most without fish ladders, correct? They would have been better off first investing the money in correcting the main issue- the barriers, and fought for ladders at every dam, then begin re-stocking years after that. Sort of like attempting to drive somewhere with roadblocks at every turn.
For what its worth, over the past 7years I have personally witnessed 2very large returning salmon to the White River watershed, one that was over 34" long. It was confirmed by the locally hatchery not to have been a broodstock escapee and sightings on that river have been more frequent. As amazing as it was to see those two big, beautiful fish in their ancestry's waters, I'm afraid big picture wise, it was a poor idea that cost millions.
-BT

Anonymous said...

I believe studies have shown that 50% of returning salmon won't go beyond the 1st barrier (dam) and nearly none make it beyond 3.

Aside from barrier removal, the salmon spawning grounds have to be restored. The demise of the last natural runs of salmon in Maine's Down East rivers was the clear cutting of the forests in these areas by the big paper corporations. This exposed the cool waters of these rivers feeder streams and spawning grounds to direct sun, which increased the water temp, and also made the salmon more vulnerable to predators. Is it just a coincidence that this theory is now deemed credible by the "experts" now that "big paper" in Maine has drastically cut back on their operations in that state? Man's greed and arrogance doomed this species when there was still a chance of saving them.

I think there was a sighting of a salmon or two in the Ashuelot River a few years back and I think Ken has mentioned that a salmon was seen in the Millers at the dam in Athol a few years back. I'm sure there have been another sighting or two that went unreported and ended up on someone's skillet.

Tony said...

Hey Ken,
We saw those huge stone flie shucked bodies on the Rt 2 Bridge Abutments and Depot Rd bridge abutments!!

Mike G said...

Ken, Thanks for this post. I tied on a large stonefly nymph and caught a very nice 16" brown Thursday evening in the Irving area. Great evening, flows were excellent and the water surface temp 69 degrees.

Anonymous said...

I can only hope those of you literate fly fishermen out there hang the fly rods up soon...once temps reach 72 degrees you SHOULD NOT BE FISHING. However, 90% of you will still be out there fishing away, killing everything you catch (whether you think you are or not, they are dying!)

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Anonymous,

READ the literature on this subject!! Trout FEEDING decreases as the temperatures runs into the 70's. If the temperatures run into the high range your fishing success decreases. You can FISH all day and not catch any trout. As night approaches temperatures drop and feeding begins.

Also, remember that temperature is only one factor. Dissolved oxygen is another.

Brown trout on the Millers survive being caught and released during the Summer. I've caught/recaught browns that were still wearing my fly from a previous evening's encounter.

Ken

Tony said...

Anonymous,

I have caught tagged trout at a still water fishery (a private club) here in mass in the dead of August with water temps in the low and mid 80's that were caught later on that winter and even into the next spring, and they've been lively as hell! Trout will find a deep cool hole with good oxygen and wait it out for those cool evenings when the surface temperature returns to sustainable levels.
Summer trout fishing can be some if not the best fly fishing New England, particuarly Massachusetts, has to offer

browntrout said...

Anonymous,

I will continue to fish through the summer as often as I can. Many of our local rivers do not harbor wild fish amd are designated as put n take or catch and release fisheries. That said, they are designed for recreational entertainment, not sustainability. If these rivers were wild trout rivers I would act otherwise and the state would most likely have regulations deterring fishermen from certain areas during the heat of summer (such as on the Housatonic). This is not the case here however on the Millers, Swift, EB, Newfound, Contoocook...
Feel free to take the summer off if you prefer.

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Thank you Tony and Browntrout for your observations and wise advice!!

Ken

Tom said...

Any updates on how the EB has been fairing. I haven't had a chance to fish it since the beginning of the month.

Anonymous said...

Hey Ken,

How has the millers been fishing lately? Particularly the Sotuh Royalston/BearsDen Section? Anxious to head up for a day and run streamers during the day and then dries at night. Let me know. thank you!

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Tom,

Read my latest post on the EB.

Anonymous,

Daytime, unless it's overcast and cool, will be tough on the river. Get there early (6am) and fish to around late morning, have lunch, do some exploring and then hit the evening rise.

Ken