Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Lots Of Rain (Finally) And A Hot Old Fly

5:30am and it's pouring. We need this rain and we will get it all at once it seems. The Millers and the EB have started their launch into the stratosphere BUT the Swift should be coming down due to the Connecticut River going up (yeah, it sounds stupid but those are the rules). Keep an eye on the flow sites linked on this blog. The EB begins to drop as soon as it stops raining. I'll update through the comments section. The "Thin Blue Lines" will get shot in the arm as will one salmon trib that I know of!

Big storms can be thrilling and destructive. Here's a photo of River Rd. along the EB after Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. That washout was just past the Bliss Pool parking lot and was 4 feet deep in places. The Chesterfield DPW had it fixed within a week!!

I seem to be getting more and more reports of success using the Hot Spot, a fly I came up with 10 or so years ago for the Swift especially in small sizes (22 and 24). No magic materials just contrasting color. Use what you like when you tie it but remember to keep it SLIM.

Let's see how much rain we get.


Sunday, September 27, 2015

October And An Update

Two things of concern - This lingering drought and the scheduled Fall stocking. The forecasts are all over the map and predictions of rain just seem to evaporate. The rivers are low BUT the water temperatures are fine. Yesterday the Millers was running at 62 degrees at 1pm. Perfect for trout. The rivers are low but the bigger ones like the Millers and the EB have plenty of holding water left. We fished in knee to thigh deep water yesterday to rising trout and had some success. DFW - don't hold off. Stock as planned.

Managed to do something I hadn't done in 8 to 10 years and that is fall in!!! 5 ft. from the edge of the Kempfield and it was a face first swan dive. I just never saw the rock that I tripped over. Actually it probably looked pretty funny!!


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Swift Soft Hackles For This High Water

As many of you already know I love that 47 cfs flow on the Swift. It means surface action and easier wading in the Jungle. 120 cfs is probably favored by most but I have to change tactics and flies to effectively fish my favorite riffles.

When the flow is low I'm fishing size 20 to 26 subsurface offerings with the #20 pheasant tail leading the way. Now the flow is up and I've found that #18 soft hackles just work better.

My bodies are #70 denier brown or olive thread. I then switch to 6/0 to finish the fly. The thorax (all SH should have a thorax) is brown, olive or grey rabbit or Australian Possum. For these little flies I tie in the hackle by the tips to use the smallest fibers. Don't load up on the hackle. Keep it sparse. Try using some scud hooks to change the profile a bit.

\To get the fly down and to keep it in the zone try some micro shot about 30 inches above the fly. The fly will slow down but will not catch weeds as much with that spacing.

We Need Rain!!


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Short Update And Some Fall Advice

Last week I boldly predicted that the Swift would not rise again this Fall because the drought was over. Well, we haven't had any rain since that statement, there is no rain predicted this week and the next chance of rain is over seven days away. The Connecticut flow is dropping and will be worth watching. Check the Swift gauge before you venture out.

Of concern will be the Fall stocking. The DFW states that water temperature is the determining factor in stocking or not stocking. As long as we don't get into the 80's and days are seasonable (70's) and nights are cool (40's) we should be ok.

Remember one thing - These fish are going to be easy to catch for the first week or so. We will all look like experts but the truth is they will whack anything. Last year one guy I know took over 50 in two days on a dreaded WB. When I filmed the CHRONICLE MAGAZINE
segment for the EB two Octobers ago I could not keep the trout from smashing a #14 Partridge & Orange. Then they wise up or we get a high water event and they get spread out. That's when things get fun!!

Conventional wisdom says big fish seek big things to eat especially in the Fall. The truth is they will eat big things at any time but the determining factor in what they eat is the quantity of the prey. The Swift rainbows could be feasting on the brook trout fry (they probably are) but hundreds spend the day sipping off the surface. A trout needs to consume 1% of it's body weight per day just to MAINTAIN it's weight so the quantity of tiny insects in the film/drift must be amazing. They will surface feed and ignore bigger morsels around and below them. We took big fish on surface #28 and #30 flies in between falling leaves this weekend.


Saturday, September 19, 2015

In The Land Of Native Brookies

I had to get away. First choice was the EB but things began to change last night. Morning - a quick trip to Mike's Deerfield fly shop to buy more appropriate space for my flies (boxes). Then an hour relocating flies and then a trip to the lower Swift. Pulled into the PIPE lot around 10ish but had no intention of doing the usual route fishing down to the PIPE and the pool below. Said HI to Bill and WB George but kept walking.

Ran into Joe and his GF by the horse farm but kept walking down to the bend pool. On went a size 20 pheasant tail at the end of a 12 foot leader. The result - 8 or so brookies from 8 to 10 inches and a babe at a foot long. I had a blast!!! I was fishing the BEST BROOK TROUT RIVER in southern/central New England. These are native fish and except for a few kayakers (see note at end) I had the place to myself. Walking back to the shore I saw dozens of brookies about the size of a King Oscar Sardine and that's not counting the very little guys who are everywhere!!

Going upstream I switched to a size 28 CDC emerger and spied a good brown working the surface with some bows. I netted that 16 inch brown.

I had to get away and that was to get away from the crowds. The Swift still gives us that opportunity but you have to peel yourself away from the PIPE to Y POOL and vise virsa treadmill that many find themselves on. There are many very productive stretches that measure only a few yards long but are jammed with trout. I had hundreds of yards to myself and had a great day!

Go find them!!!

Kayak People - We fish the Swift and PAY for that. Our money goes into trout stocking BUT also land purchases and up keep. It also provides PUBLIC ACCESS but these guys pay NOTHING to use the river. Maybe they should. Why should we pay the freight for their usage. A yearly fee for using a kayak and/or paddled/rowed device seems reasonable to me.


Friday, September 18, 2015

Return Of The Salmon And An Update.

I've been getting asked this question over the last few years and that is when the salmon will return to the Swift. The answer is who knows but not this year. Let's back cast to 2011.

As Swift veterans will remember (Newbies take note) tropical storm Irene wailed through the Valley and dumped a foot of rain on the Quabbin watershed in late August. That rain, plus the moisture from the great Halloween Snowstorm (one foot of heavy wet snow that left some towns without power for a week) caused the Quabbin to overflow just when the salmon were out of the depths and looking for spawning areas. They, and some lake trout, followed the flow and went over the spillway and into the Swift. The result - a river full of 18 to 30 inch fish that supplied sport from November through the Spring and the Y Pool was Ground Zero!!!

So, all you need is an overflow condition and you get salmon. Answer = NO. The overflow condition has to be timed with the salmon movements. The Summer of 2009 caused an overflow in July (check my blog post for that) but no salmon. Other overflow events have caused a salmon here and there but nothing like 2011. Read my posts for that 2011-2012 winter season.

The EB and the Millers are in good form and I'll be on the EB tomorrow. Maybe I'll see you there.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Three River Update

First off - The Swift dropped like a rock today to where it should be (apologies to those who like the 120 cfs flow). My prediction is that we will not see this scheduled release to aid the Connecticut River again this Fall. The CT River is flowing strong and with shorter days with less evaporation and Autumn rains there will be no reason for a heavy release. This happens almost every year. Unless we get a tropical storm which causes the Quabbin to overflow the flow will be fine - perfect for "fine and far off" fishing.

Second off - A source says that the Millers will get a Fall stocking on October 2nd. Most likely browns for the most part. Count the EB for that week or the week after. It's been that way for the last two years.

Now, many long time readers will ask while I'm mentioning this because in the Spring I stay away from stocking notices. Reason number 1 - Spring notices are noticed by creel carriers and "Spring only" anglers and adds to the crowd. The rivers mentioned above are CR and are populated by OUR guys and the bait guys are doing something else about now and it's not fishing. The Millers and the EB are BIG rivers with lots of casting room and they are populated with die hard fly fishers who need to spend a few months on a BIG river before the DARK season falls upon us. That's why I'm posting.

Got down to the PIPE last night. Within a half hour the three other anglers left. That's when I noticed that the only trout rising were in and below the PIPE flow. The pool was slow. I saw what looked like a BWO in the air so what the hell - on went a size 18 BWO CDC into the heavy flow. Took four bows and lost as many. Lost the last good fly, they didn't want anything to do with a nymph, so I went home for dinner. The PIPE outflow can really work for close up dry fly fishing!!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The EB - Remember??? Open Guiding Dates And Lost Wading Boots

I needed to back away from the Swift for a while. Lots of fish but lots of fishermen. Sure, I have done well in the less fished sections. Friday morning was like that but then I got down to the PIPE just as the PELLET HATCH was winding down. Long time readers know what I think of this. Just backcast to my 11/9/08 post on the matter. Did I fish a pellet? No. They were back in the vehicle where they've been all season. I did a few casts with a SH and then began thinking of the EB. A big bow took me out of my daydreaming and broke me off. Time to go visit the EB.

Saturday morning was a scheduled "off" day from guiding for me and when I hit the EB at 9am I WAS ALONE. In fact, I saw no fly fishers there in the 5 1/2 hours that I fished and only one hiker too (I said that would happen after Labor Day!) I fished long stretches of water slowly while taking in this beautiful spot. The flow was perfect and although there were no Swift-like pods of fish I still managed to fool some bows and a nice brown. Comparaduns and a partridge and orange did the trick.

The EB is a great place!! Take a break from the "same old", straighten out some 5x and fish this river.

BTW, I have Sunday 9/20, Friday 10/9 and Saturday 10/10 open for full day trips (or half day trips) first come, first served.


Update - Someone lost a pair of wading boots by the PIPE parking area. The contact info is in the comment page.

Friday, September 11, 2015

All Purpose Midge And The Beautiful Rain

What makes a tiny midge pattern work? Use any body material that you have confidence in for starters but the element that makes the surface or near surface imitation click is the wing. Snowshoe and CDC are great materials for wings because of their floating qualities and their visibility but we could do a better job of creating the wing.

Conventional wisdom says lay some CDC along the hook shank, bury the butts in thread or body material and then prop up the the wing.
Burying wing material adds bulk and contributes to absorbency. Instead do this: strip off some cdc and lay it ACROSS the hook up by the thorax. Then "figure 8" it to the hook (just a few turns). Tie off and then pull the cdc fibers UP and then cut off. Your wing will "puff up" if done right and your fly will hang in the film.

The photos are of a size 30 with a short tag of midge flash for a trailing shuck.

As I write this it has been raining for 12 hours and all of the area rivers are now ticking upward which is exactly what we need. This heat wave will leave us with what we expect in September: good flows and cool air and water. Check the flows on this site and then hit a river!!


Monday, September 7, 2015

This Weekend - Cool Mornings, Hot Days And The Brookies Are Getting Ready

It's Autumn early in the morning and Summer by early afternoon. Friday and Saturday found me on the Swift just before 7 am and the 50 degree temperature made me wish I had taken a fleece with me. That is September!!

Friday was a tenkara day as I fished my private stretches (they seem private to me) with the idea that the level tenkara line would cut through the quick flow without drag problems. It worked fine and I caught trout from above the gauge down to the pump house. Size 20 flashback pheasant tails and size 18 soft hackles did the trick. I didn't fish the Pipe or the Tree Pool but was content to see Dan T. working his Simuliid imitations and catching rising trout.

Saturday morning was devoted to conventional tackle with the same good results. Fish were taken from the gauge to the Pipe but this time I decided to work the nymphing trout in the Tree Pool. A #22 pinhead fished just below the surface was the fly of choice for me AND the trout.

It seemed that everyone who was fishing was getting into fish with some getting into the double digit range. It was a good morning all around.

One thing for certain - there are more brook trout in the 8 to 12 inch range down there than a month ago. The color is beginning to change on these guys too. Soon they and even larger fish will begin to move upstream to spawn. I can't wait!


Friday, September 4, 2015

All This Dry Weather - An Update

As you probably know the Swift went UP again on Monday and this time it may stay up for a while. We are in the midst of a drought and this drought has lowered the Connecticut River to where Quabbin has to come to the rescue. That condition will only end with RAIN but the first serious rain is a week away. The see-saw flow has scattered the trout and it takes them a few days to get their act together again.

The EB is at where it was last year but holding it's own and still holding its brookies. It actually got some water last night from a T'storm that passed off just to the west of me. From the Rt 143 bridge the low looks very low but down in the gorge the river is narrower and has plenty of flow. The trick is to get their early (sunup) or fish the evening. This weekend will find the place overrun with swimmers from 10 to 6 pm or so. We will own the place again by Tuesday.

The Millers - It's low and I haven't the heart to fish it until the flow gets up over 100 cfs. This is the lowest it's been since the dry year of 2010. The trout survived then and they will now but I'll wait a week or so.

Have a good Labor Day!!