Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Rating The Rivers Again And The "Dark Season" Again

Ok, it's that time of year again. A month and a half ago you could get down to the river at 5pm and have a few hours doing what you like to do. IT'S ALL OVER NOW UNTIL MARCH when we turn the clocks ahead. I hate this time of year because it limits what I want to do. Maybe when I retire I may feel differently but I think not. Our river choices are very few until Spring. The Swift and the Farmington will remain for the wading fly fisher. The others may very well be frozen over which will only cause us to wait patiently for Spring. In the meantime tie flies.


3rd Place - The Millers: Again, prime Summer time evening fishing was blown away by high water. Things are happening on this river. For the first 20+ years on this river I had GREAT summer evenings with manageable flows. Since 2008 I've seen one blowout after another. Canoes and kayaks on the Millers in July??? I love this river and the Spring seasons have been nice and some Fall seasons ok but the flow levels are like nothing I've seen. Climate change?? Bad luck?? Who knows? I guided this gent last July at dusk. We caught fish and he said the this river, at dusk, was just beautiful. I knew from the forecast that it would change quickly. I would love to see a Summer like the Summers of the 1990's. Maybe next year.

2nd Place - The EB: There's a reason why this river came in 2nd. It's not because of the flow. It was fine all Summer long. It's not because we didn't catch trout. We caught a bunch! In fact, this may have been the best season since the epic 2009 season. The flow stayed at a good level during July and August and when we had only a 1/4 inch of rain in September the weather was cool which kept the water cool and the trout could not be happier. When it rained the river went up but then dropped like a rock, usually just in time. Rainbows and browns provided season long entertainment. Perfect, but good for only second place. No fault of it's own!

1st Place - The Swift: It wasn't like this just a few years ago. You would catch the occasional brookie of hatchery size and at times the little guy who was measured south of five inches. Three years ago I began to catch more around 3 inches in certain areas. They were beautiful! Now those fish are everywhere. They're not escapees from the hatchery because they come in all sizes from 1 1/2 inches to 8-10 inches. Then there are the tape measure fish that are seen but seldom taken.

The Swift has its year long fishery which is a plus AND it's traffic which is less than a plus. The rainbows supply the muscle on this stream but the brook trout supply the beauty and MAYBE the promise of having a self sustaining brook trout fishery. I'm glad to see the brookies thriving!! That's why I rate the Swift number 1 this year!




Ken, thanks for the nice post & photos.
Just an FYI, I watched your segment on the Westfield EB on Chronicle again last evening. They re-aired it.......Phil

Millers River Flyfisher said...


BTW, I'm not responsible for any drop in chronicle's ratings hahaha


Anonymous said...

Great post! I agree with you on the brookies at the Swift. I love seeing so many of them in there!


Falsecast said...

Nice wrap up Ken!

I agree that the Swift was in rare form this season. I loved the Brookies. I may be wrong, but I was under the impression that Brook trout are not stocked at all in the Swift. Is that correct?

Happy "dark season" Ken

Anonymous said...

What can you tell us about the water further down the Swift below Cady Lane? These wild brookies must be coming from somewhere. Is it safe to assume these fish are coming up river each fall is the drive to spawn? I know you have written a bit about the lower Swift in the past and would love to hear more about it. Might be worth exploring next spring.

Hibernation said...

Totally agree on the brookies on the swift. Love seeing those little guys going strong. they are truly amazing native char! It's awesome to see the rising numbers on the swift.

I enjoyed the millers this year. I did not get there much in the summer, but late spring in bears den was really good with some fun dry fly fishing for sure.

Falsecast said...


I am sure Ken knows more than I do, but I know Jabish Brook has a lot of wild brookies in it. You might be right about the spawning, but in past years there haven't been nearly this many or the size ranges.

I have to admit, I like wild fish so much, that I'd probably support holding off on the rainbows for a couple of years just to see what happens?

Millers River Flyfisher said...


Well, I wouldn't go that far! Something is happening with the brook trout even with the rainbows thrown in. Right now it's the best of both worlds.


Anonymous said...

Considering the state has a hatchery right on the river where the brookies are showing, you would think they might be able to provide some information on where these fish are coming from and why. If anyone has any connections with MA F&G, this information would be greatly appreciated.

BTW, I 2nd the comments on the Millers. In years past, I've never been an active participant on this river however this past fall I had some very good days fishing to rising browns taking #20-#24 bwo's and midges. Very selective fish and rewarding experience, especially the one pig I luckily stumbled onto way down river that was porpoising on emergers. you know their big when their backs show out of the water. Fished him for 2 hours and could not trick him, one smart bugger... They are in there!

Eric said...

I agree with Falsecast. I would love to see MA protect wild fish, not stock on top of them and make them compete for holding water and food.

I have been floating the Cady lane to boat ramp strech of the Swift this year, and we have seen some shockingly large brook trout laid up in the log jams! Not very good wading access, but great fishing from a boat (pontoon/kayak/ect)

For me, the Millers was a gem this year! Managed some solid browns through out the season.


Millers River Flyfisher said...

To All Brook Trout Fans:

I, as you, have caught brook trout in the 1.5 inch class through the 10 inch class over the last few years. Enough have been caught in this size range and in the 12 to 18 inch class over the past two years to give us the reason that most of these fish are natural to the stream. Did the Hatchery have an accident which released hundreds of fish like in 2007 or so when hundreds of rainbows in the 8 - 10 inch range were all over the place in December?? I thing not! There are to many size groups to use that as an excuse.Those brookies may be here to stay. Remember, the 'bows don't reproduce in the Swift. The brookies have have expanded their range regardless of the bows.

If the brook trout take over what is their average size range: 4 inches, 8 inches? What can we expect?

All good questions?


Anonymous said...

The brookies have always been in the Swift. Forty years ago I remember seeing schools of dozens if not hundreds of them scrambling for cover if you waded near them. Frank Rizzo

Millers River Flyfisher said...

I know a Swift regular named Bill who's been fishing this river for 40+ years and he says he's never seen so many brookies.


tincup said...

Bill is a great person a pleasure to watch and share stories. the brookies are really great one could close their eyes open them thinking they were in maine. Such a mass gem in the making we all hope. Lets all the bait buckets which attack this river Jan. 1 would leave them alone.

Muggs Boatwright said...

Thank you for a nice season of reports and conversation on the blog. It's nice to have the forum to hear what others are doing/catching/thinking on these waters.
I can see why the brookies would raise the Swift's stock. Wild fish always bring a river up in my book. However, for my money, I'll take the Westfield. I thought this was it's best season in in the years that I've been fishing it. The beautiful setting makes it an absolute joy to fish. There's great river texture throughout, and every technique is available. There are large fish and many fish in the holding waters, the runs are full of mid-sized rainbows, and the place in not fished over or pressured like some local water.
Best of luck to all this fall and winter.
I'll see you in the spring.

Bob O said...

We humans may be the greatest challenge to brookie reproduction. We should take care to recognize redds and not tread on them. Any tips on this Ken?

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Bob O, Muggs and Tincup,

I agree, especially when it comes to watching where you walk. Redds are visible. Tread carefully!