Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

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!



Gerry said...

Hi Ken,
I can't comment on the Westfield, haven't fished there in years. I do agree that the Swift was (still is) probably the pick of the area rivers this year. The temperature is ideal for the trout every day of the year, so they have to eat. And there appears to be enough food to keep them healthy for nan extended period of time - at least until Jan 1 when they get put on a stringer.
Also, I was thinking of you last week when these two guys put in a canoe at the USGS gage and went paddling down through the gauntlet of anglers. What a couple dopes! I also saw that a raft guide associated with the Harrisons is soliciting raft trips on the Swift River. "Stupid is as stupid does - Forest Gump"
Have a great Thanksgiving!

Question: Where do you think those salmon went? Maybe a few got poached, but you would think there would still be some around, even if they were real skinny.

Millers River Flyfisher said...

I saw two with a canoe last Sunday. There's no room for them or rafting guides especially when the swift is at 55cfs.

The ll salmon-the last that I heard of them was in late spring when they were spotted right at the bubbled. Since then???????

Unknown said...

Everyone has their own opinions, but my favorite trout stream in Massachusetts is the deerfield. Diversity of water types (riffles, pools, runs), insect population, quality trout, good access, low angler pressure are my reasons...


PCG said...

I'm going to have to trade out the EB for the Ware. Unfortunately, I've never fished the Westfield, and the Ware is just a short walk from my humble abode to great springtime fishing. That said, if I lived closer to the Deerfield or Westfield, those would probably win out.
Can't argue w/ the Swift as #1 though. Eager fish, year round? Yeah, I'm pretty happy that I live only 15-minutes away.
Had another great w/e there. Landed 11 on Saturday between 7am-noon and another 4 yesterday between 7-10am. A little chilly, but well worth it to have your choice of water w/o the crowds. My brother-in-law landed a couple of bruisers too that had the kid yelping w/ joy :)

Met a really nice gentleman yesterday at your secret spot Ken, who was singing your praises, for demystifying the river for him during a recent guiding trip. The lessons stuck so well, in fact, that he was hooking-up even while we were talking and not focusing so much on the fishing.


Millers River Flyfisher said...


The Deerfield is a great river and probably has more LARGE trout per river mile than any river in this State BUT the flows kill this river for the wading angler especially if the angler has a long drive to get to it. The flow notices are useless.

Thanks for the info. I like satisfied customers!!

Has anyone seen the Millers flow rate lately?? Today (11/19) the Erving gauge looked like an electrocardigram for a crack addict!! It's all over the map! The hydro operators in Orange are supposed to work their facilities at "run of the river" and not hold water back as they are doing. This doesn't help the creatures in the river or the wading anglers who can see a doubling of the flow in an hour!! Where's TU on this??


Scott M said...


FYI. TU noticed the flow rates from the Erving guage as well prior to your original post and is currently following up on the issue with the DFW, DEP, and ultimately FERC. As you know, this is not a new problem, but seems to have resurfaced again. The flow rates over the past week are very telling that its a clear violation of the dam's FERC exemption status. Stay tuned...

Scott M

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Scott M.,

Thank you on the update!! I'm glad, from your post, that TU is aware of this. This problem goes back many years and it has been addressed with some resolve but as years go by things are, for the dam operators, easily forgotten. There may be a FERC violation and there are measures to really address this but they have to be acted upon by an organization - TU!!

You may be an active member of TU. Keep this blog informed.


tbooth said...

Hi Pete, I very much appreciate the "gentleman" comment. It was great to meet you and your Brother-in-Law and I had a smile on my face hearing the hooting up river. I landed a few more in the secret spot before moving back towards to pipe.

Question on rigging, George and another fellow at the pipe seemed to have a good size weight about 18 inches above a small fly. Is that the best way to set up for that area? Thanks.

Falsecast said...

Personally, I put the weight about 12 inches to really pin it to the bottom in most of the Swift. I was at the Pipe the other day and got nothing until I took the weight off??

Ken, others on this blog, I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Millers River Flyfisher said...

18 inches above the fly works for me and that's a micro shot. Two if the current is stronger.

Happy thanksgiving!!


Anonymous said...

Where do you get your micro shot? The smallest stuff i can find is the size of a bb?

Bob O said...

Look for Dinshore shot. Numbers 6 and 8 what I use. Ìts tin, pretty light, and easy to use. Purchase online or even at B and R Sports at Rt9 and 202 in Belchertown.

Bob O

Millers River Flyfisher said...


Bob O is right or go to Cabelas in east hartford. It is all there. Look for any shot that says "micro". Any tiny shot that is lead free will work on the Swift or go to the Belchertown spot as mentioned.
Remember, weight becomes more important when the flows increase. Right now it's a "maybe" situation. I've caught a lot of trout on the Swift with weight and without. If you see trout breaking the surface then ditch the weight.


Anonymous said...

Happy Turkey Day

I like the reads. I particularly enjoyed the part where "secret spot" and "swift" were in the same sentence. :)

Will said...

I'd agree. I do not fish the EB, so on that, I'd have no comment. The Millers is always a blast, but this year, the few trips I cobbled together to the swift were awesome... and either my skills are better or the fish are less smart compared to the past, becuase they came to net consistently.


Millers River Flyfisher said...


There IS a "secret spot" in full view except very few fish this short stretch. If it were on the Millers I'd tell you where it is but because it's on the Swift....


I think that your "skills are better". That's Good!!!