Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Last Hours Of 2012

I had to get those last few hours out of this rapidly ending 2012 license. The Swift is the place to do it. Got there at before noon and left at after 3pm. The PIPE was crowded (three fishing there) so I fished from the gauge down through the riffles and then went below the tree pool to fish beyond the tree fall. I hooked nine and landed seven on a size 20 hot spot. I fished alone for these three hours and it was just right. I would have liked to throw a cast or three below the PIPE but all the tables there were taken. There are plenty of trout in this river so it all works out.

Tomorrow we are supposed to get snow. 2-4 inches or 4 to 6 inches. Pick your prediction. In any event I hope to be there!!


Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Holidays!!!

It's been a good year overall although a little bit more rain this past Summer would of been nice. How we have a week left on our old licenses and you can bet that I'll be wringing out every last hour on the Swift. I'm looking forward to it. I'm also looking forward to next year as I change things around a bit on this blog.

Anyway, have a great Holiday season and a great 2013!!


Monday, December 3, 2012

December On The Millers

This was fun!! The Millers was low and clear on December 2nd. This is rare (20+ years of observation backs this up) so that is way we were there. I caught nothing. My friend landed a good sized bow in the Erving stretch and lost two others. It was good to be fishing this river in December and it was good to be watching the Patriots beat the Dolphins in a Millers Falls bar afterwords.

A good day, fishing and afterwords!!!


Saturday, December 1, 2012

December 1, 2013 And The Millers

Snow greeted us today. It IS the first of December BUT the Millers is low and very fishable. This has not always been the case. Usually the Millers at this time of year is high and rolling along. This has been the case for over 20 years but 2012 is one of the exceptions. The flow is around 250cfs and one should make their way out there. Tomorrow (Sunday) will have temps around 50 degrees. You will not freeze to death if dressed right and the trout will not be too slowed down by frigid waters to get interested in your offering. I'll be there around mid day, fishing the afternoon and then catching the Patriots killing the dolphins in the second half.

This is bonus time on this river. Soon it will be the Swift and the Farmington for the Winter.

The Winter....I hate this time of year. Thank God for the two last rivers that I mentioned. Maybe we can add the Millers for a while.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Millers And The Top Three Rivers In 2012

Three cheers for the Millers!! It's been fishing well this past week or so EVEN when the flows have been all over the map. In the past week the flows have gone from about 380cfs to 760cfs with little or no rain. This yo-yo pattern (Erving gauge) is most likely (likely) from the dam operators in Orange. We've seen 100+cfs increases in the flow in a matter of hours. This isn't good for the trout and it isn't good for the anglers. The hydro-power on this river is supposed to be "river run". No hold backs like the Deerfield. The home chapter of TU should be on this as we would think they should. Let's see what happens before they take action. There are ways to resolve this and I will leave it (for now) in the hands of a group that say that they are protectors of this river.

My Favorite Rivers For 2112:

I have done this rating for six years. It is centered around three rivers: the Millers, the Swift and the East Branch of the Westfield. This is where I fish 75% of the time unless the call of the Farmington cannot be resisted. The Farmington is, in my opinion, the best fly fishing river in New England! If I lived in Pleasant Valley (I think that is the name) I would fish no where else. Any different opinions are welcome.

Third Place 2012 - The EB of the Westfield - One Colorado person that I guided here in October, 2009 said "This place looks like Colorado". It does!!!! We caught trout on tiny drys and wb's. That is after two Summers of great dry fly fishing.

There is a problem. This river gets bony very quickly. If the rainfall is below average (2010,2012) then things get tough by early July. Trout were caught in a very deep pool miles below the starting point this past season. I'll let you explore to find this place. There are many trout there. I caught a lot of surface browns in June all over the river.

Second Place 2012 - My Old Friend The Millers - There seems to be more stocked fish in this river than ever before. Maybe or maybe not. There are a lot of trout for sure and there are a lot more fly fishers from everywhere which is a great improvement over the previous condition which was "don't tell anybody about this river.

2010 was the GREAT DROUGHT YEAR!! Local experts said that the BROWNS didn't survive. The BROWNS SURVIVED!! We caught them that early Fall. This year was dry and hot too but the BROWNS SURVIVED. We are catching them!!

If we have a NORMAL Summer (average rainfall) we will not have to wait until

1st Place 2012 - THE SWIFT - It's the early morning of New Years Day 2012 and I'm swinging a tiny marabou smelt pattern just below the Y Pool. I want a landlocked salmon on the drift, New England style, on this morning. Yes, I could be watching an indicator over an egg pattern or whatever but I want something that reminds me of things, of many seasons past, of old school lessons that are now maybe forgotten.

The line stopped, for second, and the salmon was hooked. It came up from four feet of water to grab the smelt pattern as it drifted helplessly near the surface. For a second I thought I was in Maine!

I guided a client a month before over the same water, using the same method, and we caught salmon. Land locked salmon, like their Atlantic brothers, like that approach.


The Swift held strong through the Spring, Summer and Fall. It's my favorite river of 2012. It doesn't have to go through the cycles like other rivers. It will challenge you with it's tiny flies and very picky trout. We like that, right??

BTW, My favorite dry fly fishing experiences of the last five years were on the EB in 2009. I pray for another Summer like that. Backcast through this blog to read about it!


Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Dark Season Is Upon Us

Tonight we move the clocks BACK!! It is sad! Gone are the wonderful evenings on our favorite trout streams like the Millers and the EB. What is left is our great tailwater, the Swift. One can wade the Deerfield but it is a game of chance. Can one wade it as planned?? Maybe not. Tell me if you can.

At the start of each season we dream of steady flows, of hatches that fill the waters with hatching duns and reliable spinners. If we are lucky to see these events they will give us days and evenings that dreams are made of. That has happened every year.

Those days are past us now for the next six months. The Swift, if the flows are NORMAL, will give us mid day surface and subsurface action. Let's hope for that!

The Millers is cresting at the 2000cfs level. See you in 2013 unless the flows drop a lot. Probably not.

I get a lot of good responses from this blog. I thank all of you!!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Millers, The Swift And Maybe The Perfect Storm!

It's late October and the fly fishing experiences have been sublime. The Millers has been great for the past month and if the flows stay low the fishing, especially on the surface, will be good. But there are changes on the way! We are looking at a large coastal storm for Sunday night through Tuesday which could (will) put an end to the fly fishing season on this river. Once the flows go up in the Fall on this river they STAY UP!! Dredge the bottom if you like but....

The Swift - Storm Irene and the late October snowstorm of 2011 finally caused the Quabbin to overflow EXACTLY at the time that the landlockes and lakers were at the surface looking to spawn. These fish followed the current over the spillway and gave us months of great fly fishing. Will this predicted storm produce the same event? Who knows?? It's all in the timing. Stay tuned to this blog for information. If we don't have a "landlocked season" we will still have a "winter trout season" on this great river!!


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Fall Fly Fishing On The Millers And The Swift

The Millers is loaded with Trout. The Swift is loaded with Trout. Take your pick of either river. You will not be disappointed!!! I guided on the Millers this past Saturday and my guy hooked a dozen. I took 11 in an hour and a half late Sunday afternoon on the Swift and a return trip to the Millers late Monday saw another four brought to the net in short time. The holdover/spring stocked browns are there with some new fish. Yes, there are rainbows.

The flows, around 200cfs for the Millers, are perfect. Ditto for the Swift.

I've seen some great fishing on the Millers in November but it is a rare due to high water from the Tully drawdown and Autumn rains. Hopefully that will hold off this year.

Don't miss this wonderful season. Winter will be coming soon!


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Millers Update - September 2012

The Millers is back!! As you have read over the last few posts this river's browns survived a hot dry Summer and are now actively feeding. It's not going to be easy as it was last Spring. On Saturday I guided a gent and we worked a pod of browns on the lower C&R that were rising in a 30ft x 10 ft section. They refused everything!! It was fun and is a hint of what is to come. September and October is great on this river!! Don't miss it!!


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Games Fly Fishers Play

Saturday morning at 6:45 found only ONE CAR at the Y Pool parking lot. Lucky me! Fifteen minutes later I'm on the bubbler arm with only three hours to play. I've always wanted to work this experiment on this river: take one pattern, start small, catch some trout (or just hook some trout as it is on this river) and then increase the pattern size until they stop hitting.

On went a #24 hot spot. I hooked trout. Then a change to a #20 in the same pattern. More trout! Now a #18 and the trout still smacked my offering. Then a #16 hot spot. Only one fish in 45 minutes bothered the size 16!

What does this prove? Probably nothing except that those Swift bows (and one brown) like smaller flies.

This was a simple game played out on a few stolen hours on this lovely stream. It was fun!!

I take the protection of rivers like the Millers and the Swift very seriously. The fishing? It's a wonderful pastime.!!


Monday, September 3, 2012

The Lower Swift, The Middle Swift

The Swift has been a lifesaver this year as it's steady, cool flow gave the wading fly fisher the only place to practice our sport. I've spent August fishing the Swift from top to bottom or from the Y Pool to Bondsville.

The Lower Swift - Something seems off this year. The catching of a trout down here has become an "event" for me. Over the past few years I have always had great dry fly fishing especially to native brookies. Not this year. It's a shame because the Lower Swift is the only part of the Swift that actually LOOKS like a New England trout stream. It's not the water temperature because this stretch is still cool enough for trout.

If anyone has some insight it would be appreciated. Maybe it's just me but....

The Middle Swift - Had a good morning yesterday. Took two bows below the log jam below the Tree Pool, took two more at the PIPE and then finished taking a sipper in the flats above the Crib Dam. The sipper took a #18 tan parachute, the others took hot spots and a grouse and orange.

We are turning the corner from Summer to Fall. A little rain for the Millers would be nice!!


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Swift - The Flow Goes Down And The Trout Come Up - And The Millers

It may seem counter intuitive to some (like a fly fishing rafting fan that I've encountered) that heavy rain will NOT raise the flow rate below RT 9 on the Swift. Only the heaviest rain, like last Fall, will do that. Quabbin will hold back it's waters even when 6 inches were dumped on that watershed like last Friday. In fact the flow was reduced from 125cfs to 50cfs AFTER the rain. As one contributor to this blog stated a year or so ago the Connecticut River flow dictates the Swift flow. The more water in the Connecticut River will cause a reduction in the Swift flow, pure and simple.

Anyway, the LOWER flow has brought the trout UP!! Monday, during the day, and Tuesday evening were banner occasions. I fished dries exclusively and landed trout in the 18 inch range in and around the PIPE section. What was strange was the ant event at dusk Tuesday night. One regular said that they looked like caddis but a very close examination showed winged ants in the size 20 range. I still had them on me when I got back to the car. Ant events are not a dusk event so this was strange. The bows loved them. My 18# parachute tan emerger brought some action until the ants took over.

Rafting fly fishers - Monday at noon saw an inflatable battleship, more at home on the Deerfield, trying to negotiate it's way down the placid Swift during a 50 cfs flow. Amidst the scraping noise and the "excuse me" excuses we watched the guide actually have to jump overboard to negotiate this raft through shallow water and deadfalls. Comments were made in their direction. Again, the Swift is NOT a river to be floated!! It's too damn small. It is a WADING RIVER. You ruin things for wading fly fishers. I hate to say it but I would rather encounter a kayak than one of these inflatable tankers. You are not allowed above RT9. The same rules should exist below RT9 until the boat ramp. Guess what - there's trout below the boat ramp. Go cruising down there!!!

The Millers - The flow is up (finally) and I'll spend some time up there. August has always been good on that river during the evenings. The days are already shorter with the sun setting much sooner than just a month ago. The browns have survived (they did in 2010, the worst Summer) and should provide some action as dusk settles on this wonderful river.


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Fog On The Swift And An Old Fly Works Well

The Swift has been bouncing between 45 cfs and 125 cfs for weeks now. I can't talk about what's happening above RT 9 but the fishing below RT 9 has been better with the lower flow. There are a few reasons for this. A higher flow may move the bows around while the lower flow will concentrate them. But there is another reason for this and it's the Summertime fog that wraps up the river on high flows. First, the fog is created by the mix of cold air near the cold water and the humid Summer air above. At 45cfs there is little mixing of the air because the low flow has less cooling effect. Ramp up the flow to 125cfs (a lot more cold water) and you'll have those blankets of fog that can last all day. I see far fewer mayflies when a heavy fog is on the water, period!!! That means fewer rising trout!! All of this is moot when we have a clear, low humidity day. There will very little fog. The "Old Fly" - backcast to my post of 1/12/09. The old Millers Bivisible, a big bushy concoction, DID raise two bows through a heavy morning fog on the Swift. I think the trout could see it!! Ken

Sunday, July 22, 2012

This Dry Summer - The Swift And The EB

It feels like 2010 all over again!! Days and then weeks without rain and smothering heat on top of that. The browns on the Millers survived that 2010 Summer and should survive this one but the shrunken flow is not much fun for fishing. With limited time to fish the fly angler will look for other waters. That's where the Swift comes in. The Swift is a sport saver. The last two weeks have seen a 120 cfs flow of ice water and this is the ticket when the air temperature is in the mid 90's. So is the evening surface action that I've had the pleasure of experiencing. I've avoided the crowds above RT9 and spent my evenings around the PIPE where I've seen plenty of fish working the emerging sulphurs and cream cahills. What I really like is the surface fishing for those little native brookies that hid in the weeds around the hatchery intake. A six inch fish is a good fish on this stretch. An eight incher is a monster!!!! Where else in New England can I cast a dry fly for native brookies during this Summer??? Not many places!!! The EB - For the first time during the life of this blog I will not tell you where all the TROUT are on this bony, trickle of a river. You'll have to find out for yourself. For those who thought that they were all dead from the heat I can say that you're all wrong. Pray for RAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ken

Friday, July 6, 2012

Early July - An Update

Wow, two weeks without posting is a record for me even in the Winter let alone early Summer. Fishing and guiding and a vacation week have taken up the time in a very good way. Now, what's been happening? The freestone rivers - Anyone who has read this blog over the years knows that the Millers and the EB are in Summer mode as are most freestone rivers. Fishing at mid day (unless it's cloudy and raining - maybe) is a waste of time as far as trout are concerned. Very early morning and evenings (late evenings into the night) will work on the Millers and hopefully on those EB browns. Overall, June was a good month on the Millers. The Swift - This cold water gem will welcome you on a 95 degree day. It will also welcome the flotsum that insist on cruising the C&R section below RT 9. Why they don't take their act down to the boat launch and go DOWNSTREAM instead of putting our fish down will remain a mystery. The last two weeks have been great at the PIPE section especially in the evening. Those Cream Cahills have have made their appearance every time and a dark tan emerger has fooled the rainbows. One thing of note - the best surface action has been when the flows are in the 40-50 cfs range. A few days of 100 cfs seemed to kill the surface action in this area. It would be nice to see some rain during July!!! Ken

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dry Flies On June Evenings

From December to early April we dream of these evenings. These are the times of warm days that blend into sublime evenings that bring us to that magic moment: RISING TROUT!! We are at the high point of that season. There are many over lapping mayfly hatches to keep us on our toes. Let's look at two evenings. The EB on June 16 - That crystal clear, blue bird sky didn't promise me a lot when I arrived on this river. Browns, my favorite game, are light sensitive and will wait until the sun is off the water most of the time. Sure, I could of fished nymphs BUT dry flies are my favorite on this river. I started working the fast water with a #10 stimulator and took two bows before I saw the telltale signs of browns beginning to work in the deeper runs. My olive snowshoe emerger rose five and I landed three. One brown, a freight train, took off and couldn't be turned. It is now a great memory!! The PIPE on June 18 - Plenty of cars by the Y Pool lot AT 5PM but ZERO at the Pipe lot. Why?? I've caught plenty of trout here over the last two months and have published the results. Are we so hooked on "flyfishing only" that we ignore other areas? I like to fish above RT 9 BUT below RT 9 is so much more interesting. Here's what happened. I got there at 5pm and had an hour and a half to fish. I caught two on a #22 pinhead before the hatch started. I'll call it that cream cahill that I mentioned last week. It's not a sulphur!! A fellow was down at the Tree Pool working rising fish while I cast a #16 tan parachute into the fast water at and below the Pipe. I hooked five and landed three crazy bows. I can't see the dry while fishing upstream (too much glare at that time of day) so I got across from the Pipe and "checked" my downstream cast to give plenty on slack line to insure a drag free float. God only knows how many trout I could have caught if I didn't have to leave! The official start of Summer is this week and it's my favorite time of year. The Swift runs cold and clear and now ants and beetles are in the mix for this little gem. The browns of the Millers and NOW the browns of the EB of the Westfield will work their twilight magic if the rivers stay somewhat full. I have spent 40 years working our rivers for twilight trout!! The memories of these rivers and those wonderful fish will sustain you on a cold, January evening!! Don't miss this time. It is FLY FISHING!! Ken

Saturday, June 9, 2012

EB Browns And A short Evening On The Swift

It pays to live close to good trout streams. I'm 15 minutes from Chesterfield Gorge on the EB, 25 minutes from the Swift and 40 minutes from the Millers. The EB is the closest and gets a lot of my evening attention. It's a good, quick fix! This river is loaded with BROWNS!! I took nine trout last evening and seven were browns and all were on dries. I was fishing the Bliss Pool and the two bows were caught in the fast water at the head of the Pool. The browns were taken only in the calmer mid section of the pool. The bows took a large dry stonefly, the browns fell for what is becoming my favorite emerger pattern - Trela's snowshoe emerger. I used the March Brown style and it is deadly. The Browns - The EB has always had them but not in this number. I was told that the DFW stocked the EB with some "experimental" browns, whatever that means. In any event this should provide better Summer action if the rainbows don't cooperate. Browns fish best on very early mornings, evenings and on cloudy, overcast days. That's my experience. The Swift - stayed away last weekend and hit the pipe around 5pm on Monday as two fly fishers were leaving. It was cool with a heavy drizzle AND a heavy mayfly hatch just starting. The fly that was hatching is a bit of a mystery. It first appears in May, hatches all Summer with a peak in early August and then continues into October. It's about a size 14 and is of a dark tan color. It's not a sulphur as some have called it. It reminds me of the Cream Cahill as pictured in Tom Ames's book "Hatch Guide For New England Streams". Anyway, I tied on a tan Snowshoe Emerger and cast upstream into that small run below the Pipe. I took 5 before I had to leave. The Millers - 900 cfs as I write this. Hmmm...Let's hope for a week without rain. I may get ambitious and take some photos of a shoeshoe emerger and post them. Ken

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Rains - Again

I should have hit the Millers or the EB on June 1st. The rains came Friday night and continued for most of Saturday. As I write this on a sunny Sunday morning both rivers are running over 1200cfs. That leaves the Swift with it's placid 55cfs flow the only game in town. I'll work that river Monday evening. The EB will be the next since it rises like a rocket but then drops like a rock. The Millers?? Who knows. This river may actually rise for another day and then start a slow drop in flow. Let's hope that the week long forecast is WRONG. In any event it doesn't seem like a repeat of 2010, the driest Summer I've seen on that river in 25 years. Ken

Friday, May 25, 2012

Millers Update And The EB Too

On Thursday the 24th the Millers gauge at Erving read 565cfs at 5:00am. high but acceptable. I knew that the river was rising but didn't know that it crested at 760cfs at noon until I got home in the late afternoon. The fellow that I guided had multiple hits but few landed and that was because of the heavy flow. The area deserved a second chance. Friday morning I hit the Orcutt section. This place has never been a favorite section due to the heavy crowds. It is a very easy section to fish in high water and today there was only one other fly caster. One wades down the right side of the river and casts across. Normally this is a good technique but the flow was too heavy to fish it correctly. I waded across the flow until I was about between the center and right bridge supports looking upstream and then cast a #8 black WB into the calm water near the opposite bank. I took four large browns and two rainbows of the same weight class. These big fish dug deep and took some effort to get to the net. Now the Kempfield - The water is too high and I didn't want to bother the goose family that claimed the "Island" section which is still fishable. So I went down to the large pool at the end of the run, waded out on the sand bar as far as I could go and dropped that wb for a slow deep drift. I took two very healthy browns doing that. Personally I like light lines and lower water and today's fishing was something that I would consider for Patriot's Day but not Memorial Day Weekend. There is no rain in the forecast so this river will (hopefully) drop by Sunday and Monday. THE EB - It is loaded with fish but success has been spotty. I took a few in a few hours. It will get better soon. The fish are there!! Ken

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Saturday On The Swift

I really wanted to fish the Millers but that river was running at 1100cfs due to that mid week squall line. The EB had recovered nicely but it would be playing host to the annual TU picnic. Way too crowded for me. So 7:45 am found me just below the Y Pool on the Swift. One can have uncrowded conditions at the Y Pool if one gets there early as I have done the past two weekends. One can have GREAT midge fishing if you get there early and have the right flies. A size 26 brown thread emerger with a CDC wing brought 7 rises with 5 bows landed. It was a perfect morning. It was sunny, warm and my first day fishing in shirt sleeves since last October. Summer is just beginning!! Ken

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Millers, the EB, And Posting Guidelines

First things first. The Lower C&R of the Millers (the important part) will be stocked this Friday, May 11, if all goes to plan. The EB of the Westfield (Chesterfield Gorge and below) will be stocked this week because of the TU Indian Hollow event starting on the 18th from what I gather. The "good fishing" (remote fishing with no crowds) starts after the TU event. Posting - I, as mentioned by enough of the regular posters, have had enough of the cowards who throw garbage under the safety of the label "Anonymous". Put your name on it if you really mean it. Better yet, take the simple step and register as a google member. It's easy. Going forward anyone who posts "Anonymous" without a name will be tossed. Posting "Anonymous" with a "name" but sending an incendiary bomb will also be tossed. This is not some politically correct website. I (and thankfully "we" - the fly fishers that follow this forum) want timely up-to-date reports on these three rivers: The Millers, The EB of the Westfield and the Swift. It has expanded to other Massachusetts rivers if the reports on the East Branch of the Swift and the Quinapoxet are any indication. This is a very good thing. It's a network of Massachusetts Fly Fishers wanting to know where the trout fishing is good. No guarantees, just some reports. This blog started in 1997 to highlight the Millers because nobody else wanted to do that. It has expanded with hundreds of fly fishers logging in each day to see some reports and to get some discussion related to our endeavor. I can only fish so many rivers so how about some reports from around this State and around New England? I have been beating the drum for the Millers for years but have never been crowded out even with the increased popularity. Mention a river, without a certain section if you like, and tell us how things are. Ken

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Browns For The Millers

Here's the latest on the brown trout stocking for the Millers: Friday, May 4 for the Bears Den C&R Section. Let's hope that they spread them out. Friday, May 11 for the Lower C@R (Wendell Depot). Let's hope that they spread them out. "Spreading them out" is important. When I ran this program I made sure that browns were distributed evenly. Last year I saw fly fishers standing in ankle deep water at the Kempfield pool catching dozens of trout BECAUSE that's where they put them. Browns do not move around a lot. Spread them evenly, let them find their spot and we will all have a great fishing experience. It's the challenge and not the numbers that we are after, right?? Ken

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Lessons At The Pipe

Two weekends ago I spent a very good morning at the Swift's "Pipe". The "Pipe" is the section from the hatchery outflow downstream for maybe 20 yards until that flows into a deep pool that locals call the "Tree Pool". It's a strange place because of the way that the trout behave. It seems that in the early morning (sunrise) the trout are found mostly in the tree section but as things warm up, or as hatchery activity increases, the trout move up to the pipe stretch. That's where I expected to find them at 10 am yesterday just like the last two outings. NOTHING!!! The Pipe was barren of fish. I worked my way down to the Tree Pool and there, on the bottom, were dozens of trout (and some BIG suckers) just sitting there. Pinheads, scuds and hotspots all worked in sizes 16 through 22. I landed 23 rainbows but the real story was the 20+ inch sucker. This brute blasted around the pool scattering trout wherever he went. He won the battle of the 5x and I lost him. He took a #16 scud. Why the trout changed their pattern is something that I probably will not solve. By the way, this section, once rivaling the Y Pool in popularity, has been underfished over the last year even though it has plenty of fish. I guess I don't understand fishermen either! Ken

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Millers - Finally

The title of this post is a bit misleading since I usually don't hit this river until mid May after the flow recedes but it's been low (180cfs on Sunday morning)and very fishable for weeks. So I guided two individuals from the lower river up to the Upper Trestle Pool casting WB's and some dries for a few rising fish. First, the Bridge Street Pool proved it's early season worth. We took one bow and lost some others. The Upper Trestle Pool, usually too high to fish, was very fishable and we managed to lose some up there. The Kempfield was a bust except for the occasional cruising browns that tempted us. We quit just as the rains began at 2pm. The RAIN - Central New England, on Sunday morning, was down about 7 to 8 inches of rainfall year to date. Buy Monday morning we had made up half of that and as I write this (Tuesday afternoon) the Millers is roaring away at 1030cfs!!! I'm not going to complain because we really needed the rainfall and besides, the Millers now looks normal for this time of year and that is ok with me. Let's hope it stays normal. Ken

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Great Swift Weekend

With the Millers blown out by the canoe race flood the easy choice was the Swift. Even if the Millers had perfect flows the Swift would still have been a good choice. First, I love fishing tiny flies and light lines and I like well educated trout. The Swift fills the bill on both counts!!

"Glossosoma" is the genus name for what I saw littering the surface on Saturday and Sunday. This tiny caddis likes to run around on the surface and trout will chase them. The surface action was light even with the kazillion surface flies. Could the trout be feeding on emmerging insects? On went a #22 pinhead and that was the answer. I took 18 on Saturday and the fellow that I guided Sunday made it to the double digits.

The Swift is truly a great river.


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Updates On The Swift And The Millers

6:45 am and there were no cars at either Y Pool lot. I was the only one at the PIPE where I caught 7 in an hour just above the TREE. Then I went to the Y.

The spillway is still spilling but it's a smaller flow. There are trout in that ARM but I couldn't wait to mid afternoon for the predictable rise. The Bubbler arm was DEAD. I fished the Y Pool proper, caught one and missed another all on tiny dries.

The Millers - I'm worried! This has been the driest first quarter that this State has ever seen. 18 Ma rivers are at seasonal record lows. The Millers is probably one of them.

We need rain. We don't need another 2010!!!


Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Rising Trout On The Swift

This was a strange day. It was supposed to be a day of family meeting family to address some issues. All of that is now on tomorrows plate.

I was stretched out, nowhere to go, the plans are all changed and I needed some time thing and relax - regroup!!! I now have the time so why not the Swift!!

I got there around 2pm and found only one angler who left within a half hour. I landed 8 and missed a few more while fishing dries. It's the last day of March but the dry fly action lives up to the Swift reputation.

Fly Fishing is not a game of how many fish that you catch. Last week I caught 1 trout in the same spot that I fished today. It was fun!! Today, with a few adjustments, was much better. I figured it out and that's the FUN in this wonderful pastime that we enjoy. There will be days in the months ahead where I will feel like a trout-god and other outings where I will be left scratching my head. That is this wonderful sport. I love it.

Flies today - Fished around the Y Pool area. Everything was caught/missed on a #22 dark caddis dry (clipped hackle)emerger. I went to a #18 in the same pattern - nothing doing!!!

Tomorrow we get get back to the things that have to be done.

Today was good!


I caught trout in tiny side flows. I could see them rise and take the fly!!!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Let's Here It For The Swift!

Check the photo above. This is why we had such great fly fishing on this river. The "overflow" started in November and with it came hundreds of LL salmon and Lakers which gave us great sport throughout the Winter. Rainbows, Salmon and Lakers!! Name another river that could provide that!

This week (including today) found 'bows hitting winter caddis (like in Ames book) and another fly, much smaller, that I couldn't identify. Today I had 8 takes but only landed one. I was without the flies needed and that was the problem.

It is still March after a mild Winter but dozens of rising trout in March are the norm for this river. Where else will you find them? The Farmington of course but this river is in Massachusetts.

I like surface fishing more than anything else. The Swift provides that!!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A New (Old) Pool On The Lower River

I first fished this spot in 1985. I caught trout. I didn't go back until the mid 1990's. I still caught trout. The last time there was in 2007 when I guided the outdoor editor for the Worcester Telegram and she caught trout.

Where is this place and how come I so seldom fish it?

I'll call it the rest area and It's 2 miles west of Bridge St. in Farley. Be careful when making the left hand exit into the rest area!!!!!

I seldom fish it because 1) it's too out of the way for me and 2) the rest area is closed from 8pm to 8:00 am. I like evening fly fishing so I end up going elsewhere.

Park in the lot, suit up and head into the pines and downhill to the river. You will find a long flat beautiful pool close to 200 yards long that can be waded.

Whitewater enthusiasts named this place "The Funnel" years ago because the head of this pool is the end of a very dangerous chute which has claimed at least one life. Ask a whitewater person about "The Funnel" and they will tell you of this place.

I like The Funnel. I will fish it this Spring!


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Defending Myself - Here's My Millers Resume!

Last night I got a call from a friend who asked me to check out a website. "Make sure you're sitting down" he said. What I saw was humorous at first but then began to set me off. The unnamed writer(they're always unnamed) mentioned "a well known Millers River guide" who has a Millers River Online Fly Shop (guess that's me)and derives income from it. Well, he got that right. Now for the bullshit:

"A person that I personally never seen involved with any groups to make the Millers River better, help stock the Millers River, be part of cleaning up the Millers River or for any other productive activity involving the Millers River other than his selfish gain".

To the nameless writer who didn't bother to fact check. Here's my Millers River Resume:

President, Deerfield/Millers Chapter of TU 1987-1990.

Signed the original petition for C&R on the Millers.

Organized volunteers to work with the DFW in electro-shocking sampling on the Millers in 1989 and 1990.

Conducted a joint effort with the Millers River Watershed Council to sample the ENTIRE RIVER for oxygen content for two years running.

Conducted creel surveys to support brown trout stocking of the proposed C&R sections.

Chairperson and Vice Chairperson, Millers River Watershed Council 1993 to 1996.

Organized the above mentioned oxygen study.

Conducted two "clean up" days along the Millers.

The MRWC found the source of an illegal spill on the upper Millers. Our work was rewarded by a court ordered check for $7500 which was part of the penalty.

Worked on the MRWC DAM SURVEY - an inventory of every dam in the Millers Watershed.

Got the MRWC involved in the Atlantic Salmon Spring stocking of the Miller.

President and Vice President of the Millers River Chapter of Trout Unlimited 2003 2006.
Realized in 2002 that the DFW had stopped stocking browns in the Millers because of "pcb's". I told them that issue was addressed and resolved in 1991(I was there!) and that ending the brown stocking without public notice may have been an illegal act. They agreed to continue stocking browns in 2003.

Organized, with Ken Simmons of the DFW, the first TU/DFW brown trout stocking in the two C&R sections. Actively involved in this effort until 2008 when I moved out of the area.

So there you go, unnamed writer. That's 25 years of environmental activism in that watershed, which I'll measure against any other effort, and I'm still at it. And stop saying that the Millers was a polluted river "20 years ago". You know nothing about the Millers 20 years! Nothing!!! Your comment is insulting!! Why would TU volunteers and the DFW fight for C&R classification, let alone stock, a polluted river 20 years ago!!! What are you thinking??????

Unnamed writer - come out of the shadows and send me a private email. My address is on this site. Show me and my readers what you're made of. Maybe you'll be enlightened. If you don't "come out" then SHUT UP!!!

Enough of this. Time to scout the Millers!!


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Spring Is Here - Late Afternoon On The Swift

It was a busy weekend with hitting the Swift put on the back burner. But moving the clock ahead opens up late afternoons/evenings which figured into my plans nicely. I would be on the Swift late Monday afternoon!

I passed the Y Pool lot at 4:30. 8 to 10 cars were there with another 6 or so parked across from River Road BUT the Pipe lot was EMPTY!!

I fished for 90 minutes from the Pipe downstream and took 5 'bows. Two were large fish (14 and 18 inches) and the others were around 10 inches. The big guys fell for a #12 scud with a green,glass bead head. A Swift Serendipity(#16) and a larvae pattern (#12) took the others.

The Swift flow is around 175 cfs with half of the Pipe showing. Still a little high but it's heading in the right direction.

Spring is here!! The "Dark Season" is over. Soon the freestone rivers will get their fish (look for holdovers after this Winter)and life will be fine.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Beating The Drum For The Lower Millers

I seem to do this every year around this time and that is to beat the drum for the Lower Millers. Twenty years ago I had Wendell Depot and The Bears Den practically to myself. Now they are popular destinations and that is a very good thing but many fish nowhere else on this river. The Lower Millers is pretty much the same lonesome place that it was back in the 1980's. This is where I caught my first Millers trout in 1985. It's a great place!!!

Where is it?? I consider the Bridge Street Pool as the start of it because from here downstream there is no real road access until you arrive at Millers Falls. The railroad is the only real access which means that you have about 5 miles of hoofing it to work the entire area. The above photos are of three GOOD pools that are within .6 miles of each other.

Bridge Street Pool - This is a great place and is usually the first place that I show people below Wendell Depot. Classic riffles that lead into DEEP holding water. If I had one place to fish on a May or June morning this would be the place.

Cable Pool - About a 1/4 mile below the Bridge Street Pool is the Cable Pool. The few fly fishers back in the 1980's knew what was meant by the word "Cable". This place was crisscrossed by cables with sliding gates for kayak training. The cables are long gone but the pool/run is still there and it is perfect water.

Morman Hollow Brook - Morman Hollow Brook flows into the Millers about .6 of a mile below the gauge at Bridge St and the pools in this spot are beautiful. The trout are there along with the largest smallies that the Millers has to offer.

Take a break from the crowds and spend a few hours here. It's worth it!!


Monday, February 27, 2012

The "Revisionists" Are Out There - Renaming Of Millers River Pools

It started in 2004 when a "local" decided to "rename" some famous pools on the upper river (Bears Den) of the Millers. It was strange BECAUSE these places ALREADY had names that stretched back a half century!!!! I thought that baloney sank without a trace but it's back with an internet presence. Out of nowhere came the name "McKenzie's Pool" in place of the "Gorge Pool". Where did that name come from?? I had 20 years of fishing that river(at that time) and I had never heard of it. Neither did any of my local fly fishers friends who fished with me "back in the day". The late Bob Roleau, a local commercial fly tier and instructor NEVER called it "McKenzies Pool". When researching my Millers guide I fact checked the name of that pool and he said "It's the Gorge Pool and we called it that back in the late 1930's" Rodney Flagg of Flagg's Flies backed him up: "My dad and I fished the Gorge Pool in the 40's and 50's until they stopped stocking the river". Red Sox great Ted Williams and Heavyweight Champion Jack Sharkey, who fished this river in the 40's and 50's, would NEVER recognize the name "McKenzie". They would know the name "Gorge Pool".

The McKenzie label and any other labels are 21st creations. They lessen the legacy of this river that goes back at least 80 years and add unnecessary confusion to new generations of fly fishers.

Why do they do it?? Your guess is as good as mine. Me? I like a sense of local angling history. It's important and I don't feel the need to make it up. It's like renaming the Y Pool on the Swift and calling it "Kens Pool". We fished the Gorge Pool long before anyone tried to rename it!!

I'm glad to see that the Gorge Pool is now a favorite section. Since I first wrote about it in 2008 I've received many emails about this place. I've brought many fly fishers there too. If Ted Williams were still alive he would know where I was talking about. "McKenzie Pool"??? Ted wouldn't know where that was!!

The above photo is of the GORGE POOL!!


Monday, February 20, 2012

Midging On The Swift

I was thinking about this all week long - midging rainbows on the Swift. Let's face it, it's February and we have the chance for rising fish. I got a sniff of this two Saturdays ago with a few trout brought to the net but the fly selection was off the mark. I fine tuned that selection with some #22 through #26 in a simple recipe. Stripped peacock with a tiny tuft of CDC at the top. It worked.

First, I had to wait for the midges to start hatching. At 10:00am the trout seemed dormant. At noon they began to move around because that early afternoon hatch was beginning. At 2:00pm the trout were gently slurping the surface and I took a few. It isn't easy. My first offering brought fish up but they turned away. Reducing the size by one size brought success.

The above photo is of the Y Pool at 10:00am. It was EMPTY!!!!! You may never see that again on a sunny Saturday morning. The salmon are still there (caught one) but they are fewer and they seem a bit shopworn.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

A February Morning On The Swift

It was a non hurried start this past Saturday morning. First a haircut and then breakfast at my favorite spot in Northampton and then off to the Swift.

The 2 inch snowstorm never materialized and neither did the mob that usually fills this river up. The fear of snow may have scared them off because at no time did this parking lot for the upper section have more than 8 - 10 cars.

The fishing - I started out swinging a #12 partridge and orange and took one salmon and lost another. I like swinging flies for these fish instead of deep drifting because it reminds me of REAL salmon fishing (sea run Atlantics). They will rise through the water column and take that fly just below the surface, breaking the surface as they strike. It's fun!!

Now for the rainbows (remember them??). One can expect at this time of year a mid day hatch of midges. Many consider any tiny fly a "midge" but I'm talking Chironomidae. I believe that is what the few dozen trout were rising to at the overflow arm of the Y Pool. I took two rainbows and lost two others fishing a #24 dark grey midge pattern with a dark grey cdc wing ON THE SURFACE!!!!!

The days are getting longer. It's mid February and the bulk of Winter is behind us.

I'm ready for Spring and fishing the Millers!!


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Super Bowl Sunday On The Swift!

It was COLD on this Super Bowl Sunday. The 350 or so cfs flow was wadable but I didn't catch anything. I have great faith in an orange soft hackle swinging just below the surface on this mid 350 cfs flow. It had worked before when the flows were wadable as today and salmon came to the net. This time the salmon and the trout didn't want any of it even though the flows were perfect. I saw no rods bent with a fish in play. One nice lady hiker said that she saw a trout taken on the bubbler arm. "Bill", the regular ( a true fish hawk) spent his time on the upper overflow arm. Another angler said that he lost a 20+ inch laker drifting a large streamer in that spot.

The large fish (salmon/lakers) are there. The trout are scattered. A few warm days will find the trout working the surface above Route 9. They were scattered on the surface today.

I saw two birds building a nest this morning in early February. Things are changing!!


Monday, January 23, 2012

The Low Time Of The Year

It's that time of year. No matter how many flies you tie, no matter how many shows that you take in, no matter how many books and magazines you read it's the dark time of year for the fly fisher. Unless you are lucky enough to fish the Swift and the Farmington on occasion it is a season of longing for better times. Don't get me wrong. Fly tying in the depths of Winter can be very rewarding, a deep thought, creative process. I'm in the middle of that now!! But I would rather be fly fishing and I will be as January moves into February, the month where we first see the seasonal signs of change.

February - It's right around the corner and it's like a new relationship as an old relationship fades away. There is promise of a new beginning, a Spring that makes us all young again. It will be soon.

Fly Tying - it's been consuming but my inventories of scuds and Moby Dick Wets are now getting up to good levels. The demand for these patterns were very much appreciated in 2011. Hot Spots, for some reason, became very "hot" during the Fall. I have plenty of them too.

The Fly Fishers Guide To The Millers River - someone told me recently that it is a "classic". Hmmm....maybe not that but a very good guide to a very good river is what it is.

The above photo was taken on the "lower" Millers. This is where very few fly fishers go, even the locals. I guide on this section (and others) and WE CATCH TROUT!!

Think Hendricksons!!!


Sunday, January 15, 2012

2012 - A Few Things To Do

Hello 2012!!! Today is January 15 and the air temperature at 10 am is 12 degrees. The Y Pool parking lot is EMPTY and all I saw at the PIPE was one shore bound bait fisher who had caught nothing. It was cold and even though I was dressed in space age layers I was glad that this was a non fishing trip. It was tooooo cold to wade and that was that. There is a limit to Winter fishing.

Winter fishing - this is the venue of the tailwater angler. The stream will not freeze over and if you can take the elements you may have success. I've been asked about Winter on the Millers. The Millers is not a tailwater and I can say after 28 seasons on that river that I can count on three or four frost bitten fingers how many Winters actually proved successful. This river, during most Winters, freezes over enough that you can see the deer tracks crossing it's most famous pools and runs. It's a common occurrence to find the stream gauges non operational because of the ICE!! One can fish around the outflow of the Orange WWTP if one likes doing that or dunk bait from shore below the dam in Orange BUT is this what we really want to do?? One may find a spot or two of fishable water but this is the season to tie flies, tie leaders and read about our sport and fish the Swift or the Farmington.

Did I say TIE LEADERS??? I gave up using standard tapered leaders for most sunken flies a year ago. Why?? The answer is that tapered leaders used on deep drifted offerings like cone head buggers, weighted nymphs or even the tiny Swift offerings fished deep are a waste of money (the cost of a tapered leader) and are not as effective as the system that I use now. To get down deep I use a 6.5 ft leader made of only two leader diameters. A 4x terminal end is made of 5 feet of 3x and 20 inches of 4x. That works well for buggers early on the Millers and the EB. A 5x terminal end is made up of the same lengths of 4x and 5x. For 6x on the Swift I use 4x and a 6x tippet.

Now, someone may ask "how do you cast that rig"?? The answer is that you don't have to really cast it. You are just placing the weighted fly on interesting water using a short line. The weighted fly will straighten out the mono and because the mono is very thin it will sink very quickly. Your fly will get into the zone quickly. I do a lot of "high sticking" on the Swift and a long, tapered leader only gets in the way. A short, thin leader gets the job done. Once surface action begins I go to a tapered leader (10 to 12ft) to catch trout.

I don't waste money on these leaders. For the 3x portion I buy a small spool of .008 diameter clear mono at any fishing store. You get 100 yards for a few bucks. In fact this diameter works well with a 5x tippet. I tie up a few of these leaders and put them in small, labeled zip lock bags. It works. Just don't try a 40 ft cast with a size 16 dry sulphur with these leaders. That's what tapered leaders are for.

Thought I'd show a photo of a Millers Stonefly from early June. THINK SPRING!!!