Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB
Fly Fishing The Millers - With over 30 years of fly fishing this river I will claim more knowledge and fish caught than anyone. There are over 40 miles of river and I will take you to the best sections and if you want to sections that never see another angler. Don't be fooled by those who say the Millers is a Spring and Fall river. I'll show you how to have great Summer action. The "EB of the Westfield" - Wild and beautiful is the only way to describe this river. There's a lot of water here but I know where to go to catch trout. After a trip you will too!! Solitude and trout IS the EB. The Swift - 20 trout days are not uncommon on this river if you know what to do and use. I'll show the way and you catch the trout. RATES - Full Day (6 hours) = $150.00 for one, $225 for two (lunch included). Half Day (three hours) $90.00 for one, $155.00 for two. Beginners Class - 3 hours ffor $90.00, all use of rods lines, reels included.

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!!

Ken

16 comments:

Tincup said...

Now with the cooler temps time to leave the salt for a while and do a three river 3 day trip in western mass. This will be during the week so hopefully it will be solitude fishing at its best. I will give it at least a week after the fall stocking (and hopefully we will get some good rain before this trip) my question is a week enough time to disperse the fish and smarten them up on should I concentrate on exploring the swift because they are many places you have written about I have never fish. Always been a above route 9 guy. And I think they skip the swift stocking in the Fall. Thanks again for this blog and my DAILY READ.

Beginner Fly Fisher said...

Hello,

What is your take on dry flies when the swift is not low? I have been trying out many but could never find the one that does really well. I can be out there for hours trying different dry flies and only landing 1-3.

Thanks!

Ontherocks said...

Soft hackles worked well for me on the Swift between the gauge and pump house on Wednesday. No one seems to work that area and, just as you mentioned, when the water goes up the flow is perfect for swinging a soft hackle. I caught a couple of gorgeous brookies in the 5-6" range there yesterday and on Saturday I couldn't keep the brook fry off of your pinhead fly!

-Jaime

lenny tamule said...

Picked up some 24s today. While not intended for soft hackles, is it in the realm of possibility to tie a 24 softy? Or am I going to lose my sanity in the process? Thanks

Lenny

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Tincup,

Good to hear from you buddy!

Some rain on the EB will scatter those stocked fish and the same for the Millers.

Fish the Swift below RT 9. There are plenty to trout down there.

Beginner,
Three fish per outing on dries on the Swift isn't bad. The question is are you matching the SIZE and that's important? What size have you been using?

Jaime,
Glad that you are working that stretch because I've been beating the drum for that area for years. Tuesday evening I hooked 4 big bows on soft hackles right there. Everyone wants to fish the PIPE and the Tree Pool!! Go figure!

Lenny,
The answer is probably not. You have to fine a hackle that is fine enough (less than the diameter of a #24 hook) to make it work and not look silly. I've taken mallard fibers, smashed them up by rolling them between my fingers - they are kind of stiff, tied them down over the hook shank and then bent them slightly back. Worked on a #20 but 24...maybe. I would say size #20 is the smaller limit for SH. If someone has another way just comment.

Ken

Beginner Fly Fisher said...

I have been using #18 dries. Sometimes I go down to #16.
Never had I ever used anything smaller than #18; Royal Wulff, Gnat, Elk Hair Caddis, P. Adams
Do you have any suggestions on patterns and size for dries? I've seen a few rainbow's a couple feet from me jump straight out of the water and boy what a sight!

Love your blog and how you reply to everyone. Nearly a daily read for me as well!

Thanks!

Brendan said...

Found some rising fish in the Y-pool last evening in spite of the high water. I actually like the higher water up there IF the fish are still coming up. The increased current speed makes the drifts a little easier and the fish a little more forgiving. There were some BWOs in the air, but I got my fish on ants (sz 26 brown) and midges (sz 30 cream).

I've tied soft hackles down to a 32, but anything smaller than a 24 or 26 is certainly pushing the bounds of sanity at the vise (the fish will certainly eat them though). Ed Engle's Tying Small Flies is an outstanding book (my Bible at the bench), and my small soft hackle techniques come straight from there. One technique uses the aftershaft portion of a soft hackle (partridge, grouse, starling, etc) feather. They are delicate to work with, but tie well down to 24 and have a marabou-type feel and action. The style other uses a standard soft hackle feather with a 'V' cut from the tip. Position the feather over the eye of the hook with one side of the V on each side of the hook, tips pointing back. A couple loose wraps catch the fibers, which you can then slide to the appropriate length by pulling on the stem of the feather. Trim the fibers from the rest of the feather and then make a couple tight wraps pushing the fibers back against the thorax, causing them to flare soft hackle style and distribute more-or-less evenly around the hook. Engle explains it much better than I do, but this makes a nice, sparse soft hackle. You can tie multiple flies with the same feather, increasing in size as you work down the feather (the 'V' gets wider and the fibers longer).

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Beginner,

For dries I would not hit the Swift without BWOs', sulphurs, ants and winter caddis.
#18 to 24 on the above. Also go back a few posts on this blog until you find the article and photos about midges.

Brendan,

Thanks for the comment.

I've been using the same Ed Engle advice for years and am currently re-reading one of his books. I still end soft hackles at size 20 with starling as the hackle.

Ken

BobT said...

Ed Engle guided me on the S. Platte about 5-6 years ago. What an amazing master of the small fly. Really TALL, charming and gracious guy too. I hired him to see if I could fine tune my small fly game and it was worth every penny-I suspect he'd vacuum trout out of the Swift as he seems to do everywhere else, he is a truly good all around fisherman. His books are money well spent for anyone fishing the Swift or any of our eastern tailwaters-the tailwater game is very much the same here as it is in Colorado. Ken you give lots of awesome little tidbits here too, my guess is there are more when you're guiding. Thank you.

BobT said...

Lenny- I have done soft hackles to 22. I use partridge fibers stripped off of the stem and a distribution wrap. Align the tips and hold the loose bundle on top of the hook so the fibers extend to 3/4 the length of the shaft. take a loose wrap around the bundle and the hook shaft. gradually tighten and use your fingers to distribute the fibers around the shaft. once you get the fibers distributed take two tight wraps and finish. they come out ok...they are are bitch to tie but they work well. tiny starling feathers might do it but even they are too big for a 20-22 in most cases. for every good fly i tie this way there are one or two not so good one's but they all work about the same.

Millers River Flyfisher said...

BobT,

Good comments. Thank you!

Ken

lenny tamule said...

Thanks for the the tips Bob. I'll be sure to try them out.

Lenny

Parachute Adams said...

Has anyone done any good on the Swift with scuds? I tied up a few tiny ones over the last couple of nights in hopes they would be effective. They actually came out pretty good which is surprising for me. Thanks in advance.

Millers River Flyfisher said...

P. Adams,

Scuds are a mainstay on the Swift and seem to produce well in the Fall/Winter.

Good luck with them!

Ken

Parachute Adams said...

Thanks, Ken. I will give them a try then. Regards, Sam

Bob O said...

Sorry to learn of your spill Ken. No fun. Good it wasn't colder weather. I tied some #22 soft hackles on scud hooks per your recipe. Between them and zebra midges I had quite a good time at the Swift this afternoon, especially with the little brookies. They are beginning to color up. A few chunkbows were mixed in. Rain will probably signal lower flows, just in time for the fall recharge. Tightlines.