Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

River Update And A Word On Leaders

It seemed that I spent most of May and a good portion of June plying the Millers and the EB, especially the Millers. But the fishing on the Swift has been sooo good of late that I have neglected the Millers and to some extent the EB. My loss!!! The Millers is in prime flow and evenings should be good in August. We've lost about 45 minutes of sunlight since June 21 and the shadows will appear sooner. Same for the EB. If you believe the conventional wisdom about the EB in Summer just read these posts over the last 7 or so years. If the flows are good the trout will be there. I will be there!

The Swift - I've fished everywhere from the Bubbler Arm to the Jungle and the BIG bows are there and so are the brookies. A few days ago I spent a few hours away from the crowds taking in brookies on ants and beetles. It was a blast! Then I went upstream and had a hundred yards to myself and took big rainbows. Now, I've been saying to the Y Pool crowd for years that they should break the mold and start exploring. Now I say STAY THERE!!!

Leaders - back in early 2012 I gave my method of handling the high, murky flows of early Spring. I short, I said ditch the tapered leader when tossing #8 cone head root beer buggers and go with 3 ft of 3x tied to 2 ft of 4x. Tapered leaders are meant to deliver flies softly and the long lengths don't give us the advantage. My short leaders do. Now I've gone further. When flows are high and dirty and I know that high sticking with a short leader is the best chance of getting deep I now use 5 ft of 3x and that's it. Fly delivery is not a problem with this rig.

A month ago I gave solid reasons for NOT fishing very light tippets with large flies. Water clarity has nothing to do with tippet size and all agreed, many siting their personal experience. Now for another trick.

When I guide a new client one of the first things that I ask is what shape their leader is in. Many times it was a 5x cut back to 3x with a 5x tippet tied on. I change it and show them a trick that will make their leader last all season or longer.

Tie on a 9 ft 5x leader and then cut off about 12 inches (the tippet section of a leader is about 24 inches). Form a SMALL loop at the end of the leader and then take about 18 inches of 5x or 6x and put a loop in that. Then loop the pieces together. Now you have a main leader length that will never get shorter when you have to add tippet after changing/losing flies. All you are changing is the tippet. Lefty Kreh made this popular a few years ago and now he's a big fan of doing the same thing with leader rings which makes much sense to me. BTW, casting is not effected by this innovation. I've done the loops for a number of years and will give the rings a test soon.

The last full month of Summer is almost here. Do as much fishing as you can.



Anonymous said...

I agree Ken, the Swift has been awesome lately. I was fortunate to fish it twice last week and enjoyed double digit days both times. Are you referring to a perfection loop at the end of the leader?


Mugwort Boatwright said...

Dear Ken,

As always I appreciate reading your notes on the local water.

While the next five days of heat do indeed look too warm for fishing the Westfield, I would echo your comment that it's safe to eschew conventional wisdom related to summering trout in and around the gorge and C/R section. I have fished it nearly every morning in the past two weeks and it's been as brilliant as one might hope. I would note that the temps jump up about 4/5 degree between 4:30 and 10am, so early seems best. Yadi yada.

I'm writing with a very minor question that might not merit consideration by your full readership, but I wonder if you might consider yourself as a Westfield regular. About 4 or 5 years ago the Westfield C/R was full of red bands, I think I went a season with nothing but rainbows, in fact. Two years ago it was 90% browns - a mix of german and loc levan, it seemed. Not a surprising increase given that so many of these fish come from a truck. This year it appears to be an even mix of red band and brown. All this is to say, I wonder if you and others have seen a similar pattern? Along these lines, I wonder how DEM decides on stocking proportions for this river - any inside scoop would, of course, be appreciated.

All the best in the months ahead,


Anonymous said...

Attempted to fish the Swift today. My first time there in over 2 years and now I know why! Flows LOW at 47cfs. 7 people (every 6' apart between the hatchery pipe and the tree pool. 3 more down river and another 2 at the bend pool by cady lane. 3 in the duck pond pool, 2 at the rt9 bridge and 5 more up to the Y pool with 4 in the Y pool. I know, I summer and beyond the deerfield or the east branch for an hour before duck the only game in town. Still, 22 people and more coming and going...really?

BobT said...

+1 on the tippet rings, make life on stream pretty simple and save a ton of $ on leaders and tippet

Millers River Flyfisher said...


It's a perfection loop but it doesn't matter what loop you tie.



I've been an EB regular for 15+ yers.

Don't call rainbows around here redbands. The redband is a sub species of rainbow that's endangered out West.

Yes, there were more browns over the past three years but they are not Germans or loc levans. Those strains were washed out decades ago according to the DWF.

I see more brook trout in the EB than ever before. As late as the second week of July I caught brookies. There seems to be few browns this year. Just my observations.



Guided there TODAY at 5pm. Had a 100 yards of river above the PIPE with just one fly fisher who left. Caught and lost big bows. Got to the PIPE at 7 pm and had plenty of room. Many fish this river during bankers hours. Get there a bit earlier or later. On this past Monday I had the lower river to myself from 5 till dark.


Kozman said...

The redband trout is a pretty wild looking fish. I caught one last summer on a streamer while up in the glacier park region of Montana - maybe a foot long. I just thought it was a defective rainbow at first that didn't lose its bars yet. It wasn't till I did some digging online that I realized I had caught a redband.

Brook Trout on the EB this late in the summer?!?! Sounds like an epic year you all have been having so far. Hopefully the conditions will hold out when I'm back in New England for a few days come late Aug. Yes...I know...its hopper season in Montana about that time. Work obligation is pulling me away from experiencing those epic days on the MT streams. Hopefully, I can get my fix on the EB or Swift while I'm local.

Millers River Flyfisher said...


Good to hear from you!!

Throw some hoppers on the Millers when you're here!!!


Anonymous said...

Hi Ken,

I was one of those guys Anonymous mentioned, fishing below route 9 all day. Best day I've had on the Swift, Doug too. Got there early, eeked out a spot, met lots of nice people had a fantastic day with ants and a small (18) blue winged olive along with soft hackles. All in all a great day with cooperative and fat rainbows mixed in with eager brookies. Big river, lots of fish, plenty of room.

Joe C said...

I want to touch on the leader part of your dissertation above, specifically the tippet rings now available. I am predominantly a nymph fisherman, poor eyesight, and have been using the Euro style of nymphing for close to five years. Two things you noted ring true. First I'd say in most styles of nymphing a tapered leader is not necessary. I too use 4X as the butt and then add my tippet, 5X/6X, to that. The second point you made being the addition of a loop at the end of a leader so the only thing you switch out is the tippet section. The tippet ring you mentioned has been part of my terminal tackle for the past five years and they are amazing in their versatility. I normally fish rods from a 00 wt. to a 2 wt. and the ring has no impact on casting or mending a line. Normally I find that my upper section of my 4X tippet/leader will last a season unless I do some type of operator error. All I ever change is the tippet below the ring.

Since my personal choice is barbless hooks, no not mashed down barbs but truly barbless hooks, I do not tie a dropper to the bend of a hook as it will just slide off during casting. The tippet rings allow you to tie your normal 2' of tippet to it but also allows you to tie an 8" piece of tippet to it also. Now you can run two nymphs in a variety of combinations. Use a heavier beadhead at the end (point fly) with a smaller fly as the dropper above. Reverse the two and now you can fish shallow riffles with the small dropper hanging above the heavier fly. Another great combo is a soft hackle at the end and a small 22 to 26 emerger on the short dropper. Based on how often you switch up your flies you can just replace an 8” piece of tippet or when the 2’ section starts getting too short just cut it back to 8” and tie on a new 2’ section. By keeping at least 18” between the flies I have never had a problem of the second fly foul hooking into fish. Just my two cents.

Millers River Flyfisher said...


There's the photo of YOU. Great day on the Millers back in 2008. Good to hear from you and I'm glad that you had a good day on the Swift. Ants, beetles and good people sound good to me!!!!


Millers River Flyfisher said...

Joe C.

We think the same!!

Thank you for your comment! I've had good comments concerning your comments. What you say is so true and your comment about tippet rings ring true.


nhflyfisher said...

Check out this short YouTube video on Tippet Rings by Tim Flagler. Very clever...

Josh said...

Off topic but i've seen others commenting on the EB. The EB has been producing browns and brookies all year long, and continued to produce them this past weekend. I've also caught several what appear to be native rainbows and brookies (around 7" or smaller) always in the backwash at the top of riffles. You need to explore and find the rights spots (this involves walking far past the gate), and get your flies DOWN to where they are feeding or just sitting along the bottom. These fish fight, they are conditioned for this river!

Swift has been packed lately, that's just how it is and always will be especially during mid-summer. Sometimes you can hit it right where you have the place to yourself. I've noticed ALOT of people commute from the Boston area to the swift as it is likely their closest best option. This makes me drive west and fish the EB more and more often and it's been well worth it, other locals take note.

Millers River Flyfisher said...


You are so right. Many give up on this river during mid summer but they are discouraged because it's not like early June. The fish are there.

Had a good Millers evening. Another river that gets overlooked in summer!


nhflyfisher said...

Millers at 100 cfs. Too low?

Millers River Flyfisher said...


Was there last night. Took some but the water was really low. We need rain.