Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

Monday, November 10, 2014

Autumn Is A Swift Season

What can I say. It's been wonderful on this river over the last month. Brook trout in all size ranges and in all numbers are all over the river. Big browns are in the mix with outsized bows to top it off. Regulars with 40 plus years on this river haven't seen an Autumn like this. It's the brook trout that have stolen center stage. I have not seen these numbers in the almost 30 years on this river. They have always been there and their numbers seemed to increase in that last five years BUT this year may be a benchmark. Do we have a native brook trout fishery on the Swift? Looks that way! Should we protect it? Of course!!! Catch and Release, no bait, year round below rt 9 to the boat launch. Why not??

Winter doesn't end the season on this river. Some of our best days are during the Winter when a sunny day pushes the temperature into the mid to high 30's. The fish respond and we are rewarded. Let me know if you want in on this!!



Jake MacVarish said...

I was there on saturday for a few hours. The amount of brook trout was staggering! I saw at least 4-5 packs of 20-30 brookies swim past me down by the bench on the bank of the river, and I was blown away by the fish staging on the redds. Some of those brookies are getting big.. Also, for the first time in this river, I had a rainbow take a small brookie off the end of my line in the bubbler arm. There must be so many that the rainbows are starting to view them as an actual food source.


Ken what a great thought of a brookie fishery. I usually fly fish small streams, creeks & brooks in western mass to catch/fish the brookie experience.

Good Stuff...........Phil

Brk Trt said...

I am happy to hear of the brook trout resurgence on the Swift. Some good news to hold on to through the winter.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, I have also seen several feeding frenzies with a few big rainbows inside a pack of brookies. I believe that the rainbows have always preyed on the baby brokies. By the way. some of the schools of brookies are decent sized. I've seen a few schools of (15) 110 inch trout.

Troy Holt

Rollcaster said...

Hi Ken. First of all this is my first time posting on your site, and I very much appreciate the information you and other fellow fly fishers post here.

As a purist flyfisher I have to admit I dont like seeing bait fishers. Especially when I'm picking up 50 yards of 20lb mono everytime I go out (I almost always fish Kady Lane or below). But the idea of making from Rt. 9 bridge to the boat launch C&R year round is a little bit much. What I could agree on is a fly fishing only zone all the way down to boat launch, and maybe a 1 fish limit for most of that stretch.

This is my home river, and I want to see it protected as you agree. But I dont want to see from the boat lauch to Rt. 9 bridge turn into the y-pool area. No offence.


tincup said...

Can we say brookies streamers. I posted this a month ago that it would be a winner an new pattern. I feel sad that I am chasing a big rutting buck with a bow to enjoy this now. Pats play at 830 sunday no hunting on sunday can we spell road trip. Just love this sight thanks ken

Anonymous said...

I cant help but wonder if the Ice storm of 2008 and the snow of october 2011 were factors. They dumped a lot of wood in the river, and that cover, and habitat for both food (bugs) and fish is great. Great to see the brookies doing well!


Millers River Flyfisher said...


If you want to turn Cady Lane into the Y Pool then make it fly fishing only. I would prefer C&R, artificial only BECAUSE bag limits are worked around or outright broken. Bait fishing and C&R don't mix because of the proven mortality rate. I have no problem with lures. Those guys do't leave bait containers.

NHFFO said...

I fish the Swift often, but rarely above rte. 9. the crowds are a bit too much for me. The brookies stay well-protected, as they all retreat into the swamp in the winter. That being said, the Swift could be one of the best brook trout fisheries anywhere if they imposed a few law changes.

1. Fewer rainbows stocked. I know, not popular, but they encroach on and destroy wild populations anywhere you see them. look at how they've devastated cutthroat populations out West? The fewer the state dumps, the better. Plus, less money spent on stocking is always good, as those funds can be used for more useful, sustainable projects.

2. Ending all bait fishing on the Swift. Allow artificial lures below Cady, but make it a one fish limit. Possibly an applicable slot limit that actually gets enforced, if the biologists feel it's appropriate? I'm sad to say I've never had my license checked on the Swift, Literally every Officer I've ever seen there is above rte. 9. Mass. should expect more from their Conservation Officers.

3. Habitat restoration. Add some gravel to the Upper Swift, build some structure to keep it from washing away. The Swift's saving graces are its constant temperatures and fairly consistent flows. If those are taken advantage of, spawning ground could be greatly improved.

I'm fine with allowing the worm dunkers to go kill dumb stockers in certain water; they pay for a license, let them fish somewhere. I just don't think a gem with so much potential like the Swift is the place.


Eric said...

Amen! Agree 100%

And I would add, lose the dam in Bondsville and reconnect miles of quailty water below with the the prime (protected) spawning gravel above Rt.9.


Terry said...

The thought of a reproductive wild brook trout river is awesome! Great dialogue everyone. In spirit of protection of these wild fish, why wouldn't the closure of the rocky bottom area above Rt 9, during the spawn, make its way into this conversation? or perhaps the entire C & R area to further ensure success of these wild fish by giving them a safe haven to reproduce.

Anonymous said...

Got squeezed out of the Y pool a few weekends ago by some very inconsiderate fishermen. So I fished the stretch just below the Y pool to the end of the pines.There was a caddis hatch and the brookies were extremely active. I caught many (25+) little peanuts and then BANG.... a 15 inch native brookie... beautifully colored..with a very distinct hook jaw.... the fish of the day...I'd trade that 1 for all of the rainbows.
Tom from Orange

Millers River Flyfisher said...


I wouldn't go so far as to close the C&R in the Fall. The brook trout population is doing very well even with the fishing pressure. If biologists found a stretch of critical spawning habitat it could be sectioned off. The brookies appear to be trying to spawn everywhere. I saw a female scooping out a nest on the lower section yesterday.


The words "habitat restoration" scare me!! Over 30 years ago some heavy lifting was done above rt9 with the building of those "jut outs" and those underwater benches which basically do nothing. Ditto for removing that structure above the duck pond. That project was supposed to expose a number of riffles upstream which it didn't.

We probably don't need additional gravel and we don't need to build anymore structures. One biologist told me 10 years ago that the problem on the Swift is the poor nutrient load. It needed more "woody debris". That problem may have been solved with the 2011 halloween snow storm which downed tons of trees and limbs into the river. Funny, but since that event we have seen more brookies. Maybe we should of knocked trees into the river years ago instead of bringing in the heavy equipment.

The Swift seems to be getting better. Lets not try to "fix it".


Peter Vong said...


First time poster here.... The swift has been great! I was able to pull out this bunker brookie on friday 14th. Largest Brook trout of my life

Anonymous said...

Ken, Great to meet you in person on the stream. What a gem we have on the Swift. Keep up the great blog.....I've learned a lot from it and enjoy it. Bill Cash

NHFFO said...


I agree 100% when you say no heavy load work, i was thinking along the lines of trees in some areas.

The Swift is doing very well, but I think with less rainbow predation and less worm dunkers killing fish, it could be even better. And let's be honest, if the rainbows start to diminish in number, you may see a decline in the fly angling pressure as well, which could definitely be considered a good thing on the weekends when it feels like a suburb of Boston in certain stretches.

Just my thoughts, but I think a focus on how to continue to improve the brook trout survival rate would be time well spent.


Millers River Flyfisher said...


First you talked about structures and hauling in additional gravel for the Swift. This sounds more than felling trees into the river. I don't accept your backtrack on the debate.

Also, where did you get your data to support your theory of rainbow predation on the Swift?? "Common Sense"? I hope not. Why has the brook trout population visibly increased WITH the rainbow stocking?



Millers River Flyfisher said...


Wait a minute. You went from building structures and bringing in gravel to saying that you only meant to adding trees to the flow (what I said) and reducing rainbows. AS I SAID, brookies are coming back EVEN with the stocked rainbow population. Let me ask, where do you get your data on rainbow predation on the Swift?