There doesn't have to be a thousand fish in a river. let me locate a good one and I'll get a thousand dreams out of him before I catch him and if I catch him I'll turn him loose. Jim Deren, Proprietor of the legendary Angler's Roost.
Weather Underground said that the temperature would hit 60 on Sunday which meant that there would be a jump of 38 degrees from 7:30 to mid day. "Good Luck" I thought to myself as I rubbed the seasons first ice from the guides. The lower Swift River (below RT 9) is a shaded river, a joy to fish during the heat of Summer, unlike the beach conditions found above RT 9, but a chilly place during the dark months. The reverse is true during the Winter where a 35 degree day is pleasant as you cast for trout chasing winter caddis at the Y Pool.
The short trip today was to work out a 6 foot bamboo rod with a 2 wt line and catch some trout in the 1.5 hours that I had. I did both as the little rod laid out short casts, long casts and everything in between. Again it was the #16 partridge and orange that did the trick and those rainbows could not subdue that cane rod. Will I start using this rod more than I have? Yes, but it's short length will make it a Swift River rod and only when the river is flowing low. It will not see the Millers or the EB but it will see the Middle Branch next Spring.
Now for the myth killing segment of this blog. Conventional Wisdom, almost always wrong, states that you fly fishers better get to the PIPE before New Years Day (the regulation change) because the bait boys will clean the place out in no time. This nugget has survived from year to year despite little or no evidence. If you would like EVIDENCE that this is garbage then take a stroll through the past years that have been carefully recorded on this blog. You will see that fish were caught throughout the Winter in this section. Here's what happens below RT 9 in the Winter:
1.The bait guys clobber the trout in the SPRING and not in January. The Spring trout are freshly stocked and DUMB. The January trout have been in the river since they were stocked either in October or July. They have wised up as witness to the equation that 10% of the fly fishermen catch 90% of the trout right up to New Years Eve. And now we are expected to believe that worms and powerbait suddenly become more successful? Hardly! It's true that bait fishermen who stand by the PIPE will catch fish just like fly fishermen do because that's the EASIEST spot on the whole river. Not a lot of skill required.
2. I've gone down to that section in early January and have seen NOBODY fishing and only a few tracks along the shore but I could see trout! I've never seen the "blood stained snow" that is always mentioned.
3. Last year was the first year that I remember the parking area being plowed. I will not tempt fate by trying to go in there if the snow is deep. I'll drive around to the other side and walk across the field if the flow allows me to cross over. That said it's easy to park in the Y Pool lot and go upstream.
4. 250 CFS is very fishable above RT 9 but a torrent down by the Gauge and the Pipe. We have had a few winter torrents in the past 10 years. Best to go upstream.
Last winter sucked above and below RT 9. Maybe the same thing will happen this year or maybe the lower section will be good as in some seasons past. One thing is for sure: the same old story will be circulated again next year.