Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Swift _ Alone In The Drizzle and Some Emerger Patterns

I knew that the weekend would be a combination of watching the raindrops and having to do some personal stuff that really had to get done. So Friday afternoon, at 4:30, found me above RT 9 on the Swift as the ONLY fly fisher there!!! It was a first, my own private tailwater with the only drawback being a cold drizzle and fog that made sighting the trout difficult at times.

Where to go? First I hit a nice stretch below the power lines (you know where it is Matt) and took a rainbow that nailed a size 20 hotspot. Next it was upstream to the hemlocks where I had the place to myself and spent an hour or so taking one bow and losing another. By 7pm I was out of the water and heading home.

Just an observation but the trout that day didn't seem to have much fight in them. Maybe it's been a hard, long winter for them too. Anyway, fresh recruits will be in the river in a few weeks and they will become Swift River trout, very difficult but so rewarding!!

Still playing around at the vise to solve that stage of mayfly life as the insect breaks the surface tension and begins to hatch as a full blown dun. I think this may work:

Hook - any size for the insect you are matching

Tail/Shuck - I'm hooked on something called FROSTY FISH FIBER. Great tails on dries and good shuck material. Has a subtle sheen to it and comes in a million colors. I use olive and hit it with the appropriate sharpee.

Hackle - Here's my theory. I use a small size hackle (#18 or #20 for a size 14 hook) so the fly rides very low in the film.

Wing - cdc of the right color (grey works for everything)tied back over the fly much like a wet fly. The cdc will keep this fly poking above the surface. I also tie a larger head on this fly. It just looks good. One point - clip the hackle on top of the hook so that the cdc doesn't stand up but slants back.

I'll be at the Swift again this week.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Playing With CDC

The wind has howled all day taking a low 30 degree temperature and making it feel like single digits. More like February instead of being on the cusp of April. Four years ago we were taking rising browns on hendricksons at the very end of March. That will not happen this year. Instead we fish the Swift and tie flies.

CDC - the miracle fiber!!!!! Floats like a cork and may be the most versatile component in dry flies. First, it works on dries all the way down to size 30 which deer hair and snowshoe hare really don't do. Second, it can be used for different fly stages very effectively.

Here are two mayfly spinner patterns. Just tie the cdc in like you were tying a comparadun and then split the feathers from side to side.

Below those spinners are some cdc caddis patterns where I've kept the traditional hackle. The fly looks good with the hackle but you really don't need it.

They say that we will be in the 50's by the weekend and those temperatures will be maintained well into next week.

Lets hope so!!


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Swift, Fly Lines And The WMFF

It's a weird winter on the Swift. First, the PIPE section is fishing S-L-O-W. The access road was a rutted mess this past weekend and the stretch was deserted except for one young fly fisher. Even the footprints on the way down seemed old. Translation - Wait a month. The fish will be there then which brings up the question where did all the trout go? There's always trout above RT 9 and that's because it's all catch and release. Maybe it's time for a change in regulations!

Above RT 9 - Bring a camera and get some shots of the Y Pool otter(s)!! I just barely missed my shot as the critter slid off the ice at the overflow arm. The otter(s) has changed the fishing at the Y Pool as it seems that the trout have moved downstream and spread out. So have the fly fishers and that's a good thing.

I was asked this question about the style of fly line that I use and afterwards realized that I've never written on the subject. Well, my favorite line for the Swift has been a double taper and it has been for over 15 years. I like the double taper for a small stream like the Swift. First, most casts are rarely over 30 ft. and the line lands on the water gently which is important with Swift Bows. After hours of casting we will have a loud, sloppy cast or two which is magnified with a weight forward, not with a DT. Second, a DT roll casts better than a WT, period! And third, you are buying two lines in one. With a weight forward you will have to replace that line after a season or two. With a double taper you just reverse the line on the reel and you will have a "new" line. It's as simple as that.

My DT line is a 3 weight and I will be going down to a 2 or a 1 someday soon. Granted, my current line will not toss ugly weighted buggers or stoneflies but who needs them. This is the Swift, right?

Now the WWFF or the WESTERN MA. FLYFISHERS. This is a group of dedicated fly fishers based in Ludlow Ma. who have been around for a thousand years. I can honestly say that this group has the greatest concentration of Swift River experts and fly tiers in Massachusetts. Their home river is the Swift River and they are THE source for information on this river. They meet on the third Monday of each month September through May with tying demos for Swift River patterns and other patterns for other rivers. The tying demos are on a big screen so you can see everything. Their club house is the Elks in Ludlow ma and it starts at 7pm. If you can't attend then join. It's cheap ($15.00) and it supports a very good group.

Here's the web address:

Think Hendericksons!!


Monday, March 10, 2014

Playing At The Vise = A New (?) Fly Body

First, I'd like to thank all of you who made it to the Evening Sun Fly Shop yesterday for my presentation on the EB. We had a great time during the show and then hanging out at Charlies afterwards. I booked some guiding trips yesterday and now have a bunch of inquires for the Spring and the Summer. If you're interested don't wait!!

February was a lousy weather month with this brutal cold and that certainly cut down on the hours on the Swift and put more hours at the vise. While working up some soft hackles i got this idea. Could I use tippet material to form a body of a soft hackle. Why not? If I don't like the looks of it I can toss it and forget about it. But the fly looked good so I'll try it out.

Here it it: take a size 12 or 14 size hook tie in at the thorax a 6 inch length of 5x tippet and then wrap it back to the tail. Then tie in a body color of your choice (I like silk or floss)and then wrap the tippet material forward in close turns up to the thorax. The first thing that you will see is that the tippet material has a nice sheen to it and that it is opaque!! You can see the color of the body underneath the wraps giving the fly a neat transparent look. Use 4x for larger flies and 6x for 16 and smaller.

I've always thought that mono had been used in the past but my google search didn't find any. I still think I've seen it somewhere.

Sorry for the quality of the photo. Double click the photo for a better look. I hope that the trout like it!!


Saturday, March 1, 2014

East Branch Westfield River Presentation At Evening Sun Fly Shop March 9th!! And some Midge Patterns

First, I said in my last post that I would be hitting the Swift today to take advantage of this 30 degree weather but other things happened that had to be taken care of and a 5 degree temperature at 9am made that certain. So, time to do some domestic things and tie some flies. It has been a hard winter. April is one month away!!

Second, Charlie Shadan of the Evening Sun Fly Shop asked me if I could do a presentation on the EB. I said "of course" and I will be at this great place on Sunday, March 9th with the program starting at High NOON! These shows have always been well attended and I will give you everything that I know about this great river. I'll also talk about the Millers and the Swift if time is available (it always is). Thought I'd add a couple of Summer photos of the EB. We can use them!

ALSO, Charlie is kicking off a March/April sale that, in my opinion, may be the best deal that you will see this year. Charlie has a great selection of quality equipment (rods, lines, reels) that will be heavily discounted by free additional merchandise. Charlie has a great fly shop that is growing in reputation every year and he does it by continually keeping things affordable to the fly fisher. The "big guys" want you to pay top dollar for the "name". Don't do it!!! SHOP LOCAL AT EVENING SUN!!!!!!! Check the website for details.

This pattern worked for me during the chill of last week. Size 20-22 hook, stripped peacock quill or brown thread body and a tuft of grey (best) or white marabou at the head. When trout start rising I'll switch to a CDC tuft. Simple and effective.