Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

Friday, December 30, 2011

Last Post Of 2011 - Swift Salmon

This River is FULL of Salmon!!!! Say the same thing about the Lakers. I took one of each, another two fly fishers took two salmon each and another took ten lakers. His secret?? Think MONO!!!

I swung a size 12 Orange and Grouse Soft Hackle and caught both at the end of the swing. Two others fished small beadheads under an indicator and the "Laker Man" fished a streamer. The Summary - put the fly in the zone (deep) and they will hit. That doesn't explain my swinging soft hackle which resulted in nice subsurface (just below)hit.

Smelt have been found along the submerged bushes and that has added to the game. Fish a smelt pattern and catch an salmon. Fish a size 30 larvae (yes, it's true) and catch a salmon. Fish soft hackles, beadhead nymphs, streamers, wooley buggers, lefty's deceivers (scratch the last fly although it seems like it could catch fish here) and you could do well.

I don't expect a horde of anglers to hit this place, the Y-Pool section, because it's hit by hordes already. Find a spot and fish it. The salmon fishing will last as long as the overflow and it's near 600cfs flow continues.

The above photo isn't a salmon but a rainbow from the Y Pool section and an older photo at that. I've managed to leave the camera in the car. Just imagine a much larger fish!!!!!!

Have a great 2012!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Monday, December 26, 2011

Who Fishes Our Rivers - The 2011 Survey

Last Spring I began to rant against one of my biggest concerns (actually it's my biggest concern)dealing with trout stocking and that is our State's reliance on rainbow trout as the premier fish as far as numbers of fish stocked are concerned. They are dumped into every freestone river in this State in numbers far exceeding brown trout. Appox. 60% of the trout stocked in Massachusetts are rainbow trout. Browns make up about 25%. Our DFW states that rainbows grow quicker and larger and people want large fish quickly. How come Connecticut and New York have numbers that are the reverse of our stocking numbers but seem to have great fishing? Is this a problem??

The answer is YES if you want season long fishing since the bows disappear by mid July.(DFW are on record as saying just that for the Millers and the Housy) It's NOT a problem if you only fish the rivers in the Spring which is the strategy of the hardware and bait fishermen. Our State has always stated that they must cater to the majority of fishermen so they enact a policy geared to non fly fishers as if they were the majority on our rivers. It simply isn't true!!

Last Spring I asked the readers of this blog to do a head count of who they saw on the rivers that they fished. Fly Fishing Only rivers/sections were excluded, of course. Count the fly fishers and count the non fly fishers - that simple. 22 different rivers and streams were surveyed starting in late April. Who fishes our rivers?? It's fly fishers by a long shot!!

April had one week on the survey and it was a 50/50 draw. 21 fly fishers and 21 others for that one week. Then came May when the fly fishers were in the majority 55% to 45% (240 to 190). From June 1st onward it was a landslide, 90% to 10% (215 to 23).

Now granted, this is a small sample survey but so are the polls coming out of Iowa over the past year. There were a little over 700 "heads" counted. And the majority of counts were done on rivers that had just general regulations and no C&R status.

What does all of this mean? Here's the answer. When I took up fly fishing for trout in 1970 it was in the era of "Opening Day" when EVERYBODY had to get out there and fish. Rivers were crowded, worms and lures were flying through the air and stringers of trout were proudly displayed. The non fly fisher on our rivers was in the majority but the State got rid of that opening day nonsense by 1977. I believe, by doing just that, it killed the urge to fish rivers for many people and those people were not fly fishers. I see, over the last few decades, less non fly fishers on our rivers. Where are they?? Drive by any stocked lake or pond (even Jamaica Pond in BOSTON) and you will find these casual anglers. It's easier there. THEY ARE NOT ON THE RIVERS!!

If anything this survey should cast a shadow on the idea that Billy Baitbucket and Harry Hardware should be catered too when it comes to setting stocking policy for RIVERS. THEY ARE NOT THERE ANYMORE!!! That policy includes the species of trout stocked and the regulations concerning the fishing for them.

Thanks to Jack T. for a all your info!!

Happy New Year!!


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Late December On The Swift

Forget the ice shown in the above photo. It's an older photo of the Swift spillway from six or so years ago BUT it shows the condition of this river now. The PIPE is under a foot or so of water. The Y Pool really cannot be waded. The Bubbler Arm is flowing very high with the bows and salmon hugging the banks. In fact they are hugging the banks throughout the river. Places where we waded two weeks ago are now too deep and fast to wade successfully. That's what a 740 cfs flow will do and this may be the condition for many weeks if history is any indication. We passed the 700 flow range in July of '09 and it lasted for weeks and that was with Summer evaporation and vegetation draw up. There's none of that now.

Wait and see.

I worked the areas where one could safely waded and had a short strike or two using a smelt pattern. Why not?? LL Salmon and smelt patterns seem to be a good bet but the current conditions of high water really limit us.

Let's hope for a lower flow.

Merry Christmas to all of you!!!!


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Soft Hackle Success

Backcast to October 2006 when I took this lady on a guided trip to the Swift. She could cast pretty well but hadn't had a lot of success catching fish. I rigged her up with a size 14 grouse and flash and all hell broke loose. Most everyone down at the Pipe were throwing size 18 what-ever and beyond but she (a good student) kept a short line and landed 10 rainbows. Was she an expert? NO! Did she fish a fly that everyone else didn't fish? Yes! Did this fly represent an impending hatch? No way!! The fly was different but it had the lifelike attributes of a real insect and that made it a target for the Swift River 'Bows. That's what soft hackles do!!

Salmon have come over the spillway into the Swift. These fish have grown to these impressive sizes by feeding on FISH but they still hit those small soft hackles. Why? The answer is that this fly style is pretty much irresistible to most fish that feed, or have fed, on insects. The resident 'bows of the Swift love them.

I like to fish a grouse and orange above a pinhead or hot spot on the Swift. Trout on this river seem to hit the G&O early and then go to the smaller fly as the water and air warm up. On the Millers and the EB it's the bottom fly below any bushy dry fly.

Soft Hackles rule!!!