Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Upper, Upper Swift River

The West Branch of the Swift River rises in the highlands of Shutesbury and flows southeast into the Quabbin. It is a small woodland stream that has one important feature: It is the spawning ground and nursery for Quabbin's landlocked salmon population or at least a great portion of it. In a good year (good flows) hundreds of BIG salmon work their way upstream through many obstacles to spawn in it's upper reaches.

Now, I don't want to be accused of spilling the beans on some secret spot. This stream and it's Fall run are well known. There is some fly fishing done, most of it catch and release. There's also some snagging done by a few locals and that's why I'm writing this. I've fished this run on occasion, caught a few, but mostly I've just walked this section just to look at the spawning salmon and to look for snaggers. I've got the DFW law enforcement number in my cell phone and will use it and so should you.

I would not mind seeing this stream placed off limits during the Fall. That would make it hard for the snaggers to get away with what they do. This stream is just too valuable as a resource and placing it off limits would not put a dent in anyone's yearly fishing hours.

So, take a walk with a good camera within the next few weeks on the West Branch. It's really a great sight!!



Anonymous said...

so you no longer fish here?

Millers River Flyfisher said...

I fished there on the 16th for a few hours. That's the only time this year so far.

I may have gone overboard with the "off limits" comment, maybe not. I just don't want to see this place turned into a circus like the Stillwater is. It's remoteness may be it's saving grace.


Brk Trt said...

It's great to landlocked salmon spawn. I've had the opportunity to see it many times in Maine.
Snaggers, nasty folks.

steelhead said...

So to protect this extremely fragile fishery, you post it on the Internet????? Really??? Unless you plan to be there every day with your cell phone,to report the hoards of roapers and snaggers that will read this and then go snagging.

Greg said...

Interesting you posted that Ken.

I was looking on the map this week wondering what it's like on that part of the Swift. That's encouraging to hear.

I may not make it our there any time soon, but I can imagine the sight ..thanks to your post and pics.


btw ..can you post the # of the Rangers case I ever see something wrong out there.

Millers River Flyfisher said...


As I said, this place is well known. No secret spot here. Getting the word out on the net is a weapon to use against poachers.

BTW (thanks Gregg) the number for the DFW law enforcement office is 1-800-632-8075. The Quabbin Police number is 413-323-7561.

These numbers should be in every cell phone.


Falsecast said...

Raising awareness may actually lead to protection, oh wait, this is Mass, no it won't.

I've known about the Salmon runs, but never encountered them. Apparently they don't happen every year?

I was not impressed by this water from a trout standpoint. I seem to remember massive beaver dams and something about UXB's? Fished it a few times in the spring. Probably user error :-)

Regarding snagging, I did a trip to Sitka, AK this summer. Caught a couple open water 20 lb Kings which is an experience. Great fishing and well worht the trip, the rivers there is a lot of snagging at the guides direction. Easiest fishing I've ever done and actually got bored hauling in Salmon.

Lastly, I hope the people on this board are responsible enough to not run out and hurt the fishery on any posts regarding locations/flies. That said, I am grabbing my grappling hook and heading to the west branch tonight.....:)

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

Hi Ken,

Hit the lower Swift today, certainly not my best day but not a bad one. Picked up 6 and dropped as many on jailbird dropper type pattern I tie along with a midge pupae. I s topped off at the West Branch on the way out and hiked in 1/4 mile or so (without rod), as I was curious to see the water. Spotted 2 small 6-8" wild brookies in a side pool, great to just watch them. Looks like some nice LL spawning water for sure. No one was there, all quiet, at least on this day.

Millers River Flyfisher said...


Don't forget the salmon gernades. They are killers at this time of year hahaha. There was a large beaver dam a hundred yards up from the main road a few years back. It's gone now. There may be a few below the main road in the Quabbin territory but they never stopped the salmon runs. Having salmon above the main road depends on the flows.


It's a pretty stream. Someday I'll walk it to it's source just to see where it comes from. Flyfishers should take these journeys just to keep balanced.


ketchikanalaskafishing said...

Its really heart-warming reading above post, its like letting me feel I'm not the only one struggling to learn best way fish catching.

Fishing in Alaska