Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

Monday, February 24, 2014

A Taste Of Spring And Fly Pattern Experiments

On this past Saturday the temperature crossed 50 degrees. Wonderful!! On Sunday the temperature was in the mid 40's. Still very good on the Swift during this lousy Winter. I was there both days. How did I do? I landed a few and lost a few. Although the overall action was slow others did better and that may be because I was experimenting. I've had Chironomidae on the brain for a month and I was working some variations that proved to be somewhat successful. The same patterns worked around the pipe but above RT 9 they were just so-so. Trout above RT 9 get a good, slow look at things instead of in my favorite spots below RT 9. I get to fish often enough on the Swift during the Winter that I can afford to experiment with fly patterns without thinking that the day is wasted because of fewer trout in the net. I fish a lot so I can take that luxury. I catch a lot too so I don't feel so bad when I work a pattern too long.

Anyway, here are a few observations from above RT 9 - The otter is at the Y Pool!! I saw few fish in this fish sanctuary on Saturday and the few that I saw hugged the bottom and were not moving. The first photo shows the ice shelf at the overflow arm of the Y Pool were I saw the otter. Just missed a photo of that critter.

Because of that mammal most fish were stacked up by the power lines. The water is shallower there than at the Y Pool and the trout have better defenses in that spot. There were many trout (caught some) downstream where the new foot bridge is just upstream from the parking lot.

Bill (the Swift regular) and I spotted a robin working some soft dirt just below the Y Pool. I saw that bird digging around moving leaves and such. Bill figured that the bird may have been pecking away at tiny winter stoneflies. I've seen hundreds of robins in and around where I live. They seem to be clustered around berry trees/bushes. It seems so early for those guys.

I included a photo of the Y Pool in mid May. We are heading in that direction. Spring will be here soon!!


Sunday, February 16, 2014

It's A Bad Winter Which Results In : Vests Vs. Packs

Fly fishing has ground to a very slow crawl in central and western Ma. on my favorite rivers. The Millers is frozen over and so has the EB. A Saturday road trip up RT 9 proved that the EB is asleep. So is the Millers. The Swift is still moving along without ice but the water temperature is very low and so is the activity of anything that lives in that water. Last Saturdays experience brought that home. We need a few days in the mid 40 degree range to kick start the next "season". That next season will shrink the snow/ice pack and that is a good thing.

So....what to write about? I hate discussions about rods, reels, lines and leaders. It's all marketing BS. I don't like the pros and con discussions about stuff like rain gear but I have an opinion about vests and packs. Because I have nothing else to write about here it is:

VESTS SUCK - My last vest was worn by me in 1988 and I didn't like it even then. In the cold season it's something that just doesn't fit well over warm garments and in the Summer it's another layer on clothing that I have to deal with. Also, vests over the years came with more pockets which would cause me to fill them and then try to remember where I put weighted nymphs, tiny flies, ants and beetles, soft hackles, streamers, wooley buggers, basic mayfly nymphs, hackled dries, comparaduns and so on..... Things got confusing and complicated and they didn't have to be.

Over the past 20+ years I've used packs exclusively. I've tried many but have come to the realization that most provide what I need: low weight, easy entrance, good capacity without being bulky. They should also feel comfortable.

I have two trout packs. The upper photo is my Swift River pack. It would work on any smaller tailwater/spring creek available. It's loaded with dozens of flies but the flies are small because Swift River insects are small. The containers are slim but carry many flies. No wooley buggers make it to this Swift River pack. Big flies are not needed. If I can't catch trout on the Swift with small flies then I give up. I bought this minimalist pack from Orvis in 2002. It is the perfect minimalist pack. They dumped it a year later. I guess it wasn't big enough to hold more Orvis stuff. Too bad.

The other pack is my EB/Millers pack. Yes, there are some size 20 somethings in this pack but this is where I store the hardware, the bigger (standard) flies and boxes needed for my favorite freestone rivers. You may be able to make out the brand name for this pack. It's not an endorsement. I cut off the useless waist straps and ripped out the "fly holding pad" that only got in the way. I improved this pack by doing the above!!

The Swift River pack stays in my vehicle all year. The freestone pack is in the trunk from April through November. Each has it's own leader supply, floatant, microshot, tweezers, thermometer, micro and the rest of the stuff we just can't seem to do without. My lanyard holds 4x to 8x tippet, micro flashlight and clippers.

I am fully armed!!

Daylight Savings starts March 9th. Short trips after work?? Can hardly wait!!


Saturday, February 8, 2014

This Cold February Morning

My plan was to flyfish at least once a week until we move the clocks ahead in early March and then I will flyfish more!! That meant that I will fish the Swift which doesn't have ice that you can walk across like the other rivers that I fish. Those rivers are asleep and we should keep them so. The Swift is not asleep. I will fish it. I went to the Y Pool.

So, it's 7:30 am with a temperature of 2 degrees as I slog my way up to the Y pool. I know what's going to happen: my line will freeze to the guides for hours which will start me worrying about my bamboo tip. The line froze to the guides which caused me to loose the only real hit that I had. It was terribly cold. So be it!

I left at 10 am. I guess that a later start, say NOON onward, would have been better because of warmer conditions BUT I was driven to get there early. I had to do it. I'm glad that I did. I just described the definition of compulsive behavior.

Daylight Savings starts on March 9th. Winter's back will be broken by then except for the occasional bad day. Rivers like the Swift and the Farmington will call you. The Millers, the EB and other freestones will be a month away.

Good Days Will Come,


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Back From Florida- The Swift And A Word On The Millers

Ok, back from Florida where the average temperature at 1:00 pm was 80 degrees for five straight days. No fishing but lots of beach combing, eating and drinking and looking for fly fishing areas. They are there and I'm looking for something a few years down the road that will get me away from these New England winters with guiding in mind. We will see!!

Made it to the Swift this morning and worked the Pipe and Tree Pool with two trout in three hours. Not so good! In fact I saw very few trout in all the likely places. I don't know how the previous week/weekend fished for all of you. I hope that it was better. Note: I was the only fly fisher in the three hours that I was there (left at 10:30am). Bad fishing all around OR maybe better fishing later in the day. Your thoughts....

Let's talk about the Millers and in particular the UPPER Bears Den section and more exactly the area ABOVE the C&R Bears Den section. Most who fish the Bears Den follow the line to Rezendes Pool, fish a few hundred yards up and down and the leave. I'm talking about the area around/below the village of South Royalston.

The center of South Royalston is Pete & Henrys Restaurant. The fishing is good across from this establishment through it's rocky chutes but I'm talking bout a half miles downstream.

Take the side road next to the restaurant to it's end. There are two things that you will see. First, there is an island in the middle of the river. The riffle/glide section closest to you is trout PERFECT!! This small flow in May and June can give you 6+ fish per outing. This section also has produced more 4 - 6 inch browns for me than any other section on the river! I like these fish because they are NATIVE BROWNS!

Now for the Pool!! It's just below the island and you can't miss it. Most who attempt to fish this pool don't bother to cross over to the OTHER side which gives you much better wading and casting room. You will see that it is a no-brainer. Cross over at the downstream tip of the island if conditions permit!

The photos on this post are from this section and were posted on this blob last May when I was writing mostly about the Swift (DUH). I'll post them now that I'm writing about this section.

If the Wendell Depot section seems crowded and Rezendes seems crowded GO HERE!!! Chances are you may be the only one there.

Think SPRING!!!