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.

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

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

Who is providing / stocking the fish?

Also, did the State stock any browns along with the rainbows this spring in the Wendell area?

The Millers is over 500 cfs the 1st week of May - yup, must be getting back to normal.

Al

Millers River Flyfisher said...

The DFW provides the browns because of an agreement, agreed upon in 1991, and "remembered" in 2002. I got TU to provide stocking support for 2003.

Browns are only stocked in the C&R sections of the Millers. Rainbows are stocked before the browns.

500 cfs is normal for this river right now.

Ken

Anonymous said...

So there hasn't been any browns stocked since last May?

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Browns were stocked last Fall also.

Ken

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update Ken, but it saddens me that we have to rely on stocking non native fish in our rivers to support the fishery

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Anonymous,

It should not "sadden" you because non native fish are stocked in the Millers. The only "native" trout species found in the Millers in 1620 ( when the pilgrims landed) were "some" Atlantic salmon smolts and some very average sized brook trout. Conditions have changed since then. The Millers does not support a native brookie population. We now have brown trout that can exceed 20 inches because they have filled a niche for this river. Are you against the smallmouth bass population? They were not directly introduced to this river but play a significant role in it's predator/prey make up. Rainbows - do you catch them anywhere in Massachusetts? Do you feel bad about that. They are non native so maybe you should.

You will be reduced to fishing the most minute feeder streams if your game is to catch only "native trout". I hope that the next generation fishes for stream bred brown trout in this State.

Ken

Anonymous said...

I fished the Millers for the first time last Sunday 4/29. Armed with Kens' guide I made the 1.5 hour drive and fished the Bridge street pool and Cable pool. Long story short, didn't catch anything. River was at around 550-600. Main problem was the very strong gusty wind, blowing alternately upstream and then down (I think I was at the cable pool, you can see the bridge from cable pool, correct?). Later I found the kempfield section (Copper Angel restaurant, as mentioned in the guide, no longer exists). Thanks to the friendly gentleman that showed me the trail and gave me tour of the fishing spots around the bend. Nymph fished upstream unsuccessfully. It's a beautiful river and I can't wait to get back and explore it more. Love this site. I discovered it this winter and read it from start to finish. That and tying flies got me thru the winter.
Bobby M

Anonymous said...

Ken,

I understand and agree with what you are staying about the current status of the Millers. However, I'm not sure you didn't make my point for me.

The Millers did not evolve as a trout stream. As part of the Connecticut River system it would have been the seasonal home to both salmon and shad. Brook trout, as they often do, found small niches to occupy but never became a major species. We have, as a result of interrupting our native trout streams -- either through pollution, development, or genetic dilution from overstocking of rainbow trout -- been forced to turn it (and similar waters) into a trout stream. These fish are planted in environments with little to no affordances by which the fish may prosper and develop wild stocks. As a result, the fish we catch (and yes, I do fish the Millers, Swift, Westfield and Deerfield) are but one step from the stocking truck and two steps from the concrete raceways of the hatchery. And for many of us, this does indeed alter the experience. It doesn't destroy it, but it certainly diminishes it.

Fishing for native fish in pristine environments should be as satisfying as double-digit catches of stocked fish. Whether I'm fishing for 12" brookies in the Blue Ridge Mountains or cutthroat trout and grayling in the Yellowstone drainage I find it more satisfying to outwit a fish that has evolved to occupy its current environment.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anon,
If your experience fishing these fine fisheries leaves you feeling diluted, GO FISH SOMEWHERE ELSE! I have CnR countless streambred trout around the state, some 24+ inch fish. These diluted trout are 4 or 5 years old. The offspring, 5 or 6 years removed from the TRUCK are plenty wild to me.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I thought it might be possible to have a reasonable conversation on this blog, but apparently that is not the case. Instead of jumping into the "GO FISH SOMEWHERE ELSE" mode, it would be good to think about what somebody is saying.

I didn't say that I felt diluted, but that the genetic strength of whatever wild fish remain have been diluted. This is an undeniable fact. As sportsmen and (I would hope) environmentalists, we should be aware of the costs of our pursuits. I would recommend reading "An Entirely Synthetic Fish" (http://www.amazon.com/An-Entirely-Synthetic-Fish-Beguiled/dp/0300140878) if you are interested in learning more about this and engaging in more than simple shout downs. Enough said.

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Simmer down boys.

I agree with the fact that the Millers was never a TROUT stream before the land was colonized. Today it has a small population of reproducing brown trout and we could have more of that if efforts were directed towards that goal. It has become a BROWN TROUT RIVER and that is a very good thing. Diluted genetic stock is not an argument since there were no trout (except for the occasional brookie)before stocking began. Rainbows are a non factor since they do not thrive in the Millers.

Anonymous said...

Simmered we are. My concern about gene pollution wasn't targeted to the millers but other steams where rainbows have pushed out native species. Particularly out west where pure cutthroat stock is dwindling at a frightening rate.

HamOnFly said...

Are there any actual fishing reports out there?
I have a rare opportunity to get out this afternoon and am curious if they "looking up" somewhere.

HOF

Anonymous said...

Had a chance to hit the Millers also for my first time armed with Ken's gide. Not much luck with nymphs and didn't see any risers as it was a very overcast day with not much bug action. Fished a scud just under the surface and did quite well getting them to take it, getting them to the net not quite the same story. I managed to land 5 fish, but had great action and enjoyed the river. Thanks Ken! I look forward to meeting you in a few weeks when we go out on memorial day weekend.

Falsecast said...

Not to add to the simmering, but I do agree with the post from Anonymous regarding the stocked fish. I don't think he was being judgemental, but factual. It is sad how bad almost all of our New England (with the exception of ME)rivers have been altered.

Again, not being controversial, but I doubt any stream holds fish for more than a year or 2. I would guess that if you stopped stocking, all the rainbows would be gone in 2 years and in a few instances browns would hold on a bit longer. In the Swift, imagine no Rainbows? It would be a nice wild Brook trout stream. Not the worst thing in the world.

Before someone says "fish somewhere else", I do when I feel I've had enough fun with stocked fish, fish the winter when it can be more satisfying, chose to chase small brookies and I do go to Montana every year. I actually know some of those rivers as well as I do local waters. They all have their value to me as a fly angler, but if I had the choice, I'd far prefer a wild fishery here. Better looking fish, more natural angling techniques, better fight and bigger "accomplishment" from the perspective of outmatching a wild creature.

None of this means I don't enjoy (as I am sure Anonymous does) fishing our local rivers. They have a place in our hearts and, of course, are local.

The Quinnie is at a good level and is still fishing well. I took some nice Bows in the Stillwater too, no LLS.

One of the reasons I found this board was simply I never really fished the Millers and like learning new water. It's all part of fishing and great fun, even though the fish are stocked. I just think there is room for observations such as Anonymous's.

Michael said...

Hello All,
I'm new here and have enjoyed reading all the comments on this blog. I live on the Millers just up the hill from the Millers Bridge. I can get to the river through my back yard and fish the section between the Millers bridge and the bridge by the old paper factory. I'm still kind of new to fly fishing. I own two Thomas & Thomas rods and could not let them just sit a collect dust. My father used to work for T & T and he introduced me to the sport a few years ago. I've fished all over Western Mass and have had some good luck.

For me, the stocked Rainbows in the Millers help keep me interested in building my skills as Fly Fisherman. I love the challenge of reading the river and selecting the proper fly for the environment. If not for stocked fish, I'm not sure I could have ever landed one.

So as I continue to work on my cast and learn the art passed down to me by my Father, the Millers and its stocked fish really provide me with the best the sport has to offer.

I've already put three good size Rainbows and two Bass in the net this year. It's not about the numbers for me either but they do sweeten the pot a little.

I want a nice Brown so I can show the pictures to my Father(I always C & R). So I'll keep reading and keep trying, that's what it's all about for me. Any advice would be a big help.

Tight Lines
-Mike

Anonymous said...

If you know where to go on the titled river of this blog you can find many fish that hold over for easily longer than a year or two. It is loaded with fish right now from last fall, last spring, and even further back I'm sure. I jus hooked up with a rainbow from a desolate stretch of the bearsden that made me panic. He broke off heavy tippet like it was nothing, much like ken's story from gorge pool. A brute of a holdover that I won't soon forget. It may not be exactly what everyone is looking for but the millers is still one hell of a fishery that I personally feel.blessed to have in mass a short drive away!

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

I really do not see the need to continue this discussion. Unless someone here can provide documented proof whether from MA Fish & Game reports or actual photgraphs of exceedingly large browns taken in the Millers, it is all heresay. I have heard several "stories" of browns taken that were in the mid 20"s or larger, however never seen anything concrete as proof which quite oddly seems especially strange in this day and age where everyone takes pictures and posts them immediatly that evening on theinternet. As far as there being wild browns, I would love to entertain the idea however again, is their a shred of evidence. HAs the state electroshocked the tribs or main stem and found found proof of this? Where is the factual evidence of this to be the case? Unless anyone here has recent documented proof of this, it is nothing more than conjection. Are there holdover & wild reproducing browns in the Millers? I do hope so. Can stockeis holdover for 2, 3 4 years and become self sustaining I would also like to believe that. I would also like to believe there is life outside our planet and that UFOs are real, but until I see proof it is nothing more than one persons opinion vs another here...
-BT

Tom said...

Hit the Bearsden Section off of Gulf Rd on Monday, beautiful day, glad I skipped out of work. Hooked into 8 really nice browns; only landed 5 or 6 of them. Worked the first few with a nymph and wet fly then switched over to a slump buster streamer that triggered some of the most aggressive takes I've ever had from brown trout both stocked and wild. The streamer light dawned on me when I hooked into a 6" chub that was struggling and as I pulled it in this huge brown came shooting out of the depths to nail the chub. Hats off to the Millers River TU chapter and MassWildlife and all the others that have helped to create an enjoyable fishing experience. I live in NH but I prefer to fish in Massachusetts

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Browntrout,

The DFW has stated that browns up to 4lbs exist in the Millers. I have seen and caught browns in excess of 22 inches. The DFW has been sampling the tribs of the Millers for YEARS and have documented proof of self sustaining brown populations.

No conjecture here, just real evidence. The discussion continues!!!

Ken

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Browntrout,

The DFW has stated that browns up to 4lbs exist in the Millers. I have seen and caught browns in excess of 22 inches. The DFW has been sampling the tribs of the Millers for YEARS and have documented proof of self sustaining brown populations.

No conjecture here, just real evidence. The discussion continues!!!

Ken

Browntrout said...

Ken,
Wow, that is encouraging. Thank you for the info.
-BT

Falsecast said...

Not surprised that there are 20+ inchers in the Miller's, but I do wonder (and don't know) how many years since stocking can they survive?

I fished the Housy before they began stocking the Glendale. There was great trout fishing even when it hadn't been stocked in 25 years. The only difference between then and now was you never caught small fish. All Browns and very buttery colored and meaty fighters. The theory was that the "best of breed" that survived stocking in tribs found there way to the river. Is that a couple of years? Anyone know how fast a Brown can grow in a year? If put in at 14 inches can it get to 20+ in 2 years? Don't know, but would be interested to find out.

My guess the big Miller's fish may be holdovers from Miller's stockings or "survivor" fish from tributary stockings like the Housy.

Anonymous said...

I have been reading this blog for years and this is the single most frustrating line of conversation I have encountered.

Fishing means different things to different people. Your religion and dogma when it comes to fly fishing should be your own. I am sorry some of you feel sad, but that's how you feel, so try try to think of something to brighten your day.

As far as stocked fish, I have found some to be weak fights and some to be brutes. I like em all. If you want to return your rivers to some time in our past, great. It'll be a futile effort because with all things, there's change. Population densities are different now, climate is clearly different, flows have changed, etc. But if you still want to go for it, it takes money and participation. You only get people involved by getting them invested in the river systems. That is what our stocking system does; it provides angling opportunities where there might not be enough wild fish to sustain healthy populations while serving the angling population.

There are plenty of hold overs in the Millers in case you think it is simply an annual put and take fishery. Just look at the size, color and markings of the fish you catch.

Lastly a stocking program is vital to any fishery. i fish at the ALC annually near Old Forge, NY. They are possibly the best stewards of the land I have ever encountered and have endless resources at their disposal. Guess what, they stock populations of fish, they take polling to monitor the fish, they engage in efforts to thwart unwelcome threats when they can, but through it all, they change with the times and play the hand they're dealt year to year. Sounds like a lot of the things that get done in the State and through this blog, except the latter.

Last comment and then I'm done. Fished a local club in Concord the other day with stocked rainbows. Each fish on the line jumped at least 4 times and put up one heck of a fight. I felt like what I imagine clear high mountain lake trout fishing might be. It was something I have continued to dream about. I suggest for the sad and downtrodden you try and find the positive in the opportunities right in front of you.

John S.

Anonymous said...

John,

I started this thread without intention to be dogmatic or political. Probably should have known better.

As for whether or not annual stocking is a good thing, there are plenty of studies, and states that have adjusted practices accordingly, that show stocking fish can actually harm a fishery. If you fish rivers like the Madison in Montana, the river is full of healthy wild Browns and Rainbows (not native of course!) but they haven't stocked in years. In fact the decimation of many western stocks of rainbow trout can be directly linked to genetic weakness due to traditional stocking practices.

Now, before anybody gets upset and tells me to move and all that, I do understand that Montana is not Massachusetts. But until they changed their practices, they were very similar to us in how they managed their resources.

Will said...

I have also been told of the states electroshocking in several millers tribs and discovering brown trout fry. Given that, I do admit it would be interesting to see how the river fished after several years of no stocking... But I also wonder if stocking brown's has the same impact as rainbow's...

Regardless, it really makes sense, that if your going to stock streams/rivers that get into the 70's many or most years... you should do it with a fish that has a chance to survive (browns). I'd be happy if most stocked fish were brown's or brookies at this point.

Brendan said...

I don't want to add fuel to the fire, but I'll throw my 2 cents in. I enjoy fishing for stocked trout and I appreciate that in many of our rivers, their would be little/no fishing if it weren't for stocking. I also appreciate fishing for wild fish, however small they may be in many streams where they are commonly found, and there is something pleasing about catching a fish that "belongs." I enjoy fishing for brown trout. They are tough to fool and fight hard, a worthy adversary for sure, but I have a problem with stocking brown trout in rivers with significant populations of wild fish given their predatory nature. I have seen brown trout chase stream-born brookies (little guys) that I have hooked in the Y-pool at the Swift, and in the Trout Brook pool on the Quinnapoxet. Now the Swift is basically only stocked fish, at least in the upper section, and the Millers, as has been established, is not known as a brook trout river, so I have no problem with brown trout being there, but would rather not have browns stocked in rivers that are home to native fish. Just my 2 cents.

Falsecast said...

I love this thread while frustrating to some, I understand. This discussion is at the foundation of the stream rehabilition issue in this state. This is the discussion to be having.

It's very hard to "restore" streams to their historic roles. It isn't always hard, however, to create fisheries and manage them. Not that the biology is that difficult,though it surely is in some places, but it's mostly the people and laws that are the issue, removal of dams (see that stupid Bondsville dam as an example), legistlating new development or water management practices or not allowing it, slot limits, stocking practices, storm stream "enhancements" like in VT.

With tremendous respect to John S, I believe he is missing the point. What we need are better and more strategic macro principles and goals set by the Mass F&W regarding the states streams/Lakes. We also need more scientific study of what is possible in our streams. Not what I want or what others on this board want. We have enough lakes and streams that surely some logical efforts could be put forth. The problem, as stated above, is every chuckle head that's ever bought a Zebco rod in this state will complain, hence it's a free-for-all as we can see on this board.

Everyone has very valid points and passionate, informed arguments here, which I respect a lot, but it just doesn't matter wihtout some guiding principles. Am I sad about that, sort of, but I don't let it ruin my day. In the absense of these macro principles everyone thinks they have a "right" to do whatever it is they are doing, myself included.

When I found this board I gravitated towards Ken as a "river keeper" of the Miller's. He seems to have put a lot of personal effort into studying and lobbying for the river. I realize how hard, possibly even fruitless some of the efforts are, but his passion and love for the river keeps him on it. I respect that. After all of his efforts he can't get Browns only stocking. Something pretty easy unlike the harder tasks listed above.

Please don't missunderstand my post, I am not trying to point fingers at all, but I do not hold out much hope in Mass. What are there like 5 EPO's in the state?

Browntrout said...

Not to put workds in Ken's mouth however everything I have read about the types of fish stocked in the Millers (and the state for that matter) leads back to an intrinsic short term philsophy by the MA F&G and that is to stock MA. rivers the cheapest way possible with Rainbows. They grow faster than Brown which means they cost less to raise prior to releasing. They view MA. rivers as short term put n take fisheries expecting the rainbows to either be caught and killed or just die knowing they will re-stock the next season..over and over again. What they appear to be unwilling to realize is that by investing now in Brown trout that have a better suited to survive and holdover in MA. waters (based on water temp,water quality etc, they could create some really good trout fisheries that would breathe life to these river communities and help improve the economy. CT clearly has this figured out, just look at the Farmington, Natchaug and Housatonic as 3 examples. These rivers drive tourism and recreational dollars to the areas.
MA F& G just can't seem to see beyond the bridge of their own nose. Ignorance is bliss.

Anonymous said...

I hear you and agree with you Falsecast about the big picture. I also recognize that the reality in Mass. of legislating that necessary change is very low and so I take incremental positives as steps towards the end goal. I think this blog is in part responsible for more consistent brown trout stocking by the State, whether that's good or bad. I wasn't missing the point, it's just the point has changed a bunch and that was what was frustrating.

It started with anonymous boo hooing about having to fish non native fish in Mass. Then Ken knocked down this high brow line a few pegs by pointing out the non native fish that have supported this fishery for decades. To which anonymous backed into the conservationist corner (where all defensive fly fishermen flee) and said what was really botherinng him was that cutties where being starved out of Western rivers (???) Then Browntrout needed to chime in and continue his 2 year passive aggressive pissing match with Ken. Was just saying its tiring.

This blog is an unbelievable resource for fisherman to share ideas and experiences (stream preservation included). It is invaluable for a novice fly fisherman to get out armed with info that will make him/her better. Just saying fly fishing elitism and the practice of flexing muscle about fish caught without sharing any information so others can enjoy that same experience, while out the other side of the mouth bashing others about unusually high and prob a bit suspect fish totals is a weak hand.

Sorry Ken. Next time I post will be on a new hole or run on the lower Swift below Bondsville.

John S.

Falsecast said...

Definitely agree with the moving topic and your points John. Shouldn't have singled you out in hindsight. I do think it's all good discussion on an important topic to all of us. Hope to see you on the water or share a beer in the lot!

Anonymous said...

Wow. I'm beginning to think rational discussion of issues of tremendous importance to us all - issues upon which we should be able to disagree with civility - may be a fool's quest.

I'm not sure I would characterize my comments as a "boo hoo" moment, and they were certainly not couched with the political overtones of John's dismissal of "conservationists".


Like everybody posting here I want to see a sustainable fishery. Like everybody here I want to thank ken for this forum.

I would love to see a sustainable brown trout fishery. But a fishery that depends on stocking can't be characterized as sustainable. Do we have the collective will power to try to create sustainability? Would we be willing to not fish a river for a few years while we gave a stocked population a chance to firmly take hold? Would we be willing to stop planting rainbows in streams where their destructive behaviors jeapordize our efforts with brown trout? Even though we all enjoy fishing for them?

These are difficult issues and require substantive thought, conversation and compromise. I appreciate everybody's opinions equally as I would expect others to respect mine.

Browntrout said...

Just how many anonymous's do we have out there? To anonymous er.. #2 I believe, yes I do have my moments with Ken on certain topics as he has his beliefs and I have mine. Although we may not always see eye to eye, I respect his right to an opinion and certainly respect his committment and beliefs on how to best preserve the fisheries we all dearly love. Hopefully that is nice enough comment for you.
And by the way, get yourself a real username name will ya.
-BT

Anonymous said...

Ken doesn't get the big picture. He is ignorant and arrogant, a bad combination. You can take some of the fishing advice on this site; for anything else, go somewhere else.

YellowstoneBound said...

Okay, I'm getting a screen name. I'm not the anonymous who just ripped ken a new one. I'm the one worried about stocking,,,

Brendan said...

Wow. Nice post anonymous. Why don't you use your name when making ad hominem remarks? Or better yet, take your own advice and go somewhere else.

Millers River Flyfisher said...

To "THAT" Anonymous,

"Ignorant and arrogant" applies to some of the Millers locals who claim that the river holds 10lb trout. As for my info: It comes from the DFW and over 25 years of fishing the Millers, not from anything that I'm smoking.

I may require a "name" for any "anonymous" if the chickens can't behave themselves.

This was a good thread!! Thanks for your input.

This thread has ended.

Ken

Millers River Flyfisher said...

To "THAT" Anonymous,

"Ignorant and arrogant" applies to some of the Millers locals who claim that the river holds 10lb trout. As for my info: It comes from the DFW and over 25 years of fishing the Millers, not from anything that I'm smoking.

I may require a "name" for any "anonymous" if the chickens can't behave themselves.

This was a good thread!! Thanks for your input.

This thread has ended.

Ken

Wood turtle said...

I've been involved in discussions on usegroups, listservs, and blogs for nearly 20 years now--back to before there were web browsers. And always, always, always, they degenerate into the sort of name-calling, yelling, obnoxious flame wars that rarely happen when we're face to face. It's repeatedly driven me, and many others, away from otherwise interesting and useful forums.

I think we can do better. We're not even very far apart--we all wish our rivers were full of big wild trout, and we all know they're not. We vary in how we feel about it and what particular solutions we want to see. That should be okay.

I think Blogger's unfortunate default handle of "anonymous" is part of the problem. I think we'd be better off if we all used names or handles, or at least signed our posts.

Beyond that, a little humility and openness to other opinions can go a long way. Not one of us has been fishing long enough to know God's Own Truth about all matters fishy. And, as we like to say at my place of work, inside every stupid idea is a good idea struggling to escape (okay, not EVERY stupid idea).

I'd hate to minimize the clash of ideas, but it sure would be more pleasant and productive if we could play a little more nicely together.

Brad C.

bert said...

Brad C, good post! I agree completely.
Ken, it would be better to get rid of the "anonymous" option.
Nice thread, enjoyed reading it.