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.

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Rise Of The Swift


This was not expected although it should have been. The Swift has been flowing like clockwork at 50cfs since last Winter. And then today it jumps to 125cfs and levels off. I was always interested in these Summer jumps and was given an answer on this blog a few years back. When the Connecticut River hits a certain low flow at the gauge at Montague water HAS to be released from Quabbin by mandate. This will last until we get rain anywhere from Montague to northern Vermont which will raise the river and then turn down the Swift tap to a normal flow. This condition could last two days or two weeks. We will see.

Now, this flow may have some anglers waving the pom-poms BUT I like that 50-60 flow which is why I spent last night working up a bunch of size 22 to 26 emergers to continue the low flow, tiny flies for large trout battle from the week before. Yes, it's funny that I didn't bother to check my own blog for the flow reading at 4pm when I left to hit this river but the flow had not changed even with this mini drought UNTIL TODAY.

The flow was up and so was the angling pressure from the gauge downstream. I worked the riffles in this section with a monster size 14 grouse and orange 24 inches below a micro shot (take no chances during flood conditions) and took 3 'bows and missed another in an hour and a half of fishing.

The tiny flies never got wet but they will as things get back to normal. As I write the rain is coming down hard which means the BIG river will come up and the LITTLE river will go down, hopefully. Hopefully the drift boys will stay on the Deerfield and not force us to reel in as they go by on the intimate Swift.

BTW, Have you noticed the DCR intrusion on the Swift gauge site. Two very uninspired photos of the Swift and a BOATING SAFETY/REGULATION poster!! One would think that they should of got their camera crew downstream at the PUBLIC BOAT LAUNCH instead of implying that the C&R/Special Regulation section is a boating destination. It's a WADING FLY FISHING DESTINATION and not the place for pleasure seeking flotsam!! I think that they have no problems in turning the best small stream, year round fly fishing river in Massachusetts into a theme park.

I may be wrong but.....

Ken

16 comments:

flyfisher1000 said...

I think you are right(theme-park)
the swift...if you ask me...is way too small to use drift-boat...as well as the Deerfield also..i was "runover in both rivers from float-guides...!!!!
go to Alaska....not these tiny thin blue lines...be realistic!!
even a ranger agrees..

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the notes on the size 24 Black CDC Dry flies. I could not get them to take the size 24 but did get one to take a size 20.

Bob Wilson

Anonymous said...

If I remember right, the average daily minimum flow at Montague is 3000 cfs; if less than that for 3 straight days then it requires the increase in flow from the Swift. The Swift's flow will not be cut back until Montague is over 3000 cfs for 3 straight days.

After what the floaters accomplished back in the 90s, you'll never be rid of them on the Deerfield. With the operators making money at everyone's expense perhaps there should be some required certification or licensing involved. If too much traffic becomes an issue, then there will have to be time slots allocated to the pros like they had to do in Montana. One of the float guides on the Deerfield has been out there and I'm sure they'ld put up some sort of stink.
Also, I know some of the kayakers on the Swift are using rentals - these should be required to be registered (all for a fee, of course).
However, this being the state of Mass, there would be nobody to do the foot work to enforce any kind of regulations.

Al

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Al,

I, as a past President of the Deerfield Chapter of TU and another past President of that chapter fought long and hard to get TU to fight the rafting business on that river. We got steamrolled by TU who wanted to be "part of the discussions". The result of this tepid decision was the wholesale onslaught of rafting and "their" required flows. Traditional users (fly fishers) were left at the shore. That is why any talk of certification, licensing, time slots or user fees is a blueprint for disaster for fly fishers. IT LETS THEM BE WHERE THEY SHOULD NOT BE!!!

Fly fishers have no problem with floaters (guides included) using the boat ramp downstream. Why invade, disrupt and disturb pure wading water enjoyed by thousands of wading flyfishers??

Swift River fly fishers have to fight any attempt to turn this gentle river into a rafting/kayak parade.

Ken

ethan said...

The deerfield frequently runs at 125cfs in the upper catch and release section and in many others as it winds it through the five or so dams on it's way to converging with the connecticut river in greenfield. There are many excellent fly fishing oppurtunities each week for the wading angler...simply check h2online for flow schedules

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Ethan,

The daily flows on the deerfield at Charlemont range from a low of 175 to over a 1000 and this has been going on all August. It would be a shame if we had to check flow schedules on the Swift.

Ken

bert said...

We've had this discussion before but floating the Swift is too silly for words.

NHFFO said...

I fish the Deerfield weekly, and the flows almost never reach 1,000 from Fife Brook down in the summer, unless there's been a major rain storm. Normal flows are 850 to 125 usually, and after a release from Fife, you have several hours of fishing in the two C&R stretches after a release. Also, 850 is pretty fishable on the Deerfield, in fact at times better than at low water. Much of the river is still wadeable, and fish become more active after the high water has leveled and also as it is coming down. Not sure why the flows get such bad press, that river has some of the best natural reproduction of any place in New England, it's consistently cold, the fish are extremely healthy and nobody has to fish it at 70 degree water temps which endangers the fish. The Swift is a great fishery as well, I can only imagine the 125 CFS makes the fishing better and spreads the fish out a bit. Their concentrations in areas border on the ridiculous at times.

Anonymous said...

NHFFO - From what I've read and heard, perhaps the biggest complaint about the flows has been the inconsistencies of their "scheduled" releases. I haven't fished there since the FERC relicensing but prior to then, during the 80s and early 90s, one could call and talk to the dam operator at Herriman station to get the release schedule - and they never did me wrong. It is a 2 1/2 hour ride for me to get there so that was important (Al Gore had not invented the internet yet and there were no USGS gage sites to check).

It's great that the Deerfield is becoming a prize fishery again, at least by today's standards, after having been destroyed as "the prize" winner in Mass, if not Southern New England, after the relicensing.

Ken - my reference for following Montana's regs only pertains to the Deerfield. There's no way of getting the pro rafters off that water. If the number of them have become so great that they endanger the shore fisherman's safety, then that is a possible solution. If guides were required to be licensed like in NH and Maine, they would run the risk of losing it for not abiding. Also, a guide should also know better and be responsible for not taking his craft through sections of rivers like the lower C&R of the Swift. One more "also", a licensed guide would be responsible for their behavior all the time, not just when float guiding. The worst case I have seen on the Swift was not with a guide in a raft but with their clients on the shore. If there were someone to call, I would have made it.

Al

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Al,

I have nothing against the rafting guides on the deefield. It is what it is. But I remember a friend three years ago who raved about low flows during the evening and said that the deefield, because of some notice, would have low flows the next evening. I drove up there to meet him and was rewarded with a large water release. I remember retrieving a flip-flop from some tuber around 6pm. It is what it is and if someone likes to squeeze their fishing into a slot so be it.

I remember the deerfield 25-30 years ago. It's very different today. Some may actually like the flows today but they may not have been around "yesterday" to really know what it was like.

A rafting guide on the deerfield once told me that the higher the water the better it was for them. Enough said.

Good points Al!!

Ken

Anonymous said...

Ken
This conversation has my memory cap on RE the swift. Am I crazy, or like 25 years ago (ugh - cant believe I fished it that long ago) or so did they have dialy fluctuations in flow.

I feel like I remember fishermen built small stone deflectors where the bubbler arm dumps into the Y pool to try and split the flow when it was going a bit faster, and that either 1X or 2X day the flow changed. For example until 11AM is was X and between 11 and 3 it was Y, then after 3 it went back to X.

Am I crazy or am I remembering that some what correctly?

Will

flyfisher1000 said...

some even come down the "FALL-RIVER".... between bernardston and greenfield...which dumps into the conneticutt JUST BELOW the "TURNERS FALLS DAM"... I can jump across that one...in spots...

Anonymous said...

Will - that long ago, they were still generating electricity on a periodic daily basis. I'm not sure when they shut that down for good.

Al

NHFFO said...

Al,

I don't disagree that compared to the past, of which my knowledge is limited, the Deerfield is very different. I do know in the last 3 years, the flows are usually consistent with the reports on the website http://www.h2oline.com/255123.asp. This is the Fife brook release schedule, the dam @ the start of the Deerfield C&R section. Again, the gauge is downriver, so reading the graph is not as accurate. However, the cfs #'s, in my experience, are usually spot on unless pretty significant inclement weather are a factor. I prefer it to fishing elbow to elbow on the Swift.

Anonymous said...

Al - that sounds familiar. The more I think about it, the stone "baffles" would be maybe 8" or so out of the water when it was low, and the water was just over the top of them by a little bit when it was "up".

Will

Bob O said...

I fished the 'ditch' of the Swift (where it flows from the bubbler into the Y pool) last Thursday and again last night. Did well underneath, and as dusk set in, a light-colored elkhair caddis provided some subtle sips, and smashing takes, as well as sudden rejections. It's still hopper season, and the fish are looking up. High water or low, the Swift is a treasure. Tightlines.