Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

Friday, February 27, 2015

A Short Trip To The Pipe On Friday

No cars at the Y Pool lot but the Pipe access road is plowed. Hint: there are no dirty tire tracks here. Just pure white snow. There are footprints going down to the Pipe. Hint: there is new snow covering the prints. The last real snow was last weekend. There was one set of tracks entering the river by the Tree Pool. Mine were the first entering the river by the Pipe. The flow rose to over a hundred the day before but I don't think that was the excuse for only one 10 inch rainbow in the hour that I was there. Or maybe it was. Maybe the flow will drop by Sunday or the trout will settle down after getting used to higher water. Or maybe it's still too early. We will see.

The wind was cold but the sun was warm and felt good on my face. It's better than January for sure. In a couple of weeks.....


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Late February - Things Are Getting Better (well...) Time to Schedule Trips And Lessons And New Waters

As I write the temperature is 38 degrees, as warm as it has been this month. We are two months past the shortest day of the year. You can feel the sun on your face and you know that even though we are into an arctic blast tomorrow it cannot last too much longer. In the last few years the Swift has offered up surface action in late February and it may still do so during this next week. We just need a few good days. If the snow holds off and we get some NORMAL seasonal temperatures we will be working the Swift and maybe, just maybe, some of the smaller streams in about four weeks.

In the meantime it's tying flies, inventing patterns that look great now but by May will have me thinking "what was I thinking"??

It's a good time to contact me for Spring and Summer trips on my favorite waters. I'm also working on a select group of rivers and streams where next to nobody goes especially other fly fishing guides. They are totally under fished! Once I feel confident about these waters I will offer them up for trips without broadcasting their names and locations. If I guide you once you will have the place forever!

Think Spring!!


P.S. - Decided to throw some Summertime EB photos out there in case you forgot what the place looks like when living is easy!!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Starling Soft Hackles Revisited

I got my first starling feathers a 100 years ago for the expressed reason of tying up some wet flies and and something called a soft hackle fly (S.H. were not too popular back then. The feathers, all loose, got lost or thrown out or turned to dust over the years. Somehow they reentered the picture for me over the last two months. They accomplish two things for me. First,they give me a supply of smaller S.H. feathers which grouse or partridge do not do. Second, they are of a darker color which I really like as opposed to the light gray color that you find on other birds.

No loose feathers this time - they only come in full skins. Now, if you have a BB gun you can harvest one yourself. They are non-native to North America and from the best of my knowledge there is no closed season and with a worldwide population in the hundreds of MILLIONS your one bird will not be missed.

We should be seeing some signs of Spring by now but not this year. Usually someone is bragging about a crocus being spied along some south facing flower bed. It will be a while for that. Instead we will slog on through this weekend storm and then brace ourselves for another storm by mid week.

Think Spring!


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Is The EB Really The "East Branch"??

Start in Westfield along Rt 20 and begin to follow the Westfield River upstream. In Huntington you will see a tributary, the West Branch of the Westfield, come tumbling out of the Berkshire Hills to join the main river. That's what tributaries do.

Soon you will see another stream entering to join the flow. That's the Middle Branch of the Westfield. Now you will keep an eye peeled for the storied "East Branch" but you will never find a tributary or any notice of one after the mouth of the Middle Branch. Why is that? Well, it's because there is NO EAST BRANCH. The EB (East Branch) is really the MAIN RIVER (THE WESTFIELD RIVER).

Why do I say this? First, topo maps and the Army Corps of Engineers call the river above the Middle Branch the "WESTFIELD RIVER", pure and simple. Second, how can the EB be a tributary when it doesn't flow INTO a river and when it's daily flow, measured for close to a 100 years, so more than DOUBLE the flows of the West and Middle Branches combined. It's watershed, above the Middle Branch, is as long or longer than the the Westfield River from the Middle Branch mouth to the Connecticut River!

In short, the EB is really the WESTFIELD RIVER and not a branch at all. Forget what other groups say. Kayak folks call it the North Branch????? It is the Westfield River.

Am I about to change the name to something other than the EB?? No way. Just making a point on a cold Saturday afternoon when I've been tying a zillion flies and waiting to plow more snow tomorrow.

Think Spring!!


Friday, February 6, 2015

Reduced To Writing About Equipment - Goodbye To The Vest

There's too much snow and it's too damn cold to enjoy a fly rod in my hand and I can only tie so many flies. So I'll bring up a topic that is interesting, at least to me.

I started fly fishing when Nixon was in office. Way back then the fly fishing vest was standard equipment and everyone had one. It was part of the accepted uniform along with the baseball cap advertising something to do with trout or fly fishing. Now the vest worked but had a few drawbacks. One, it was just another layer of clothing that you didn't need during warm weather. Two, it didn't fit well over heavier clothing during colder weather. Three, we just had to fill all of those pockets that we really didn't need with fly boxes to the point where we would begin to forget where that box of #16 black ants was hiding.

I got rid of my vest in 1987 and began experimenting with a series of small hiking bags and fanny packs. I got rid of the "one bag for all occasions" and now have a small bag that I bought from Orvis in 2002 for the Swift river (no need to bring boxes of wooley buggers to the Swift) and a larger bag from Fish Pond for the Millers/EB. The Orvis bag is no longer available.

I will be retiring the Fish Pond bag after 8 years because it just doesn't cut it any longer. When I bought this bag I was a bit dismayed over how bulky the bag was. It felt more like a camera bag. So I ripped out the useless tackle "bench" and then cut off the lumbar belt and have used it as a shoulder bag ever since. It's still too bulky and will be replaced by a bag used for rock climbers. It's very light, has plenty of room for three boxes, has compartments for leaders and other junk I can't seem to do without and has a convenient holder for a water bottle. I bought the new bag at EMS. There's a good chance that the old Orvis bag will get replaced by that EMS number too.

Sometimes it pays to source things outside of the fly fishing industry.

Thought I'd throw in a photo of a morning in May on the Swift. One month to Daylight Savings Time!!!