Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

Monday, December 21, 2015

Almost Winter, Bamboo And Soft Hackle Flies

Perhaps fishing is, for me, only an excuse to be near rivers. If so, I'm glad I thought of it Roderick Haig-Brown A River Never Sleeps (1946)

Saturday was the first cold day of a balmy December and I believe that it may have caught the legends of Swift regulars off guard. I heard that Friday (a warm day) was packed and so was Saturday but when I drove past the Y Pool lot at 7am there was one car and nobody at the PIPE lot. I guess that after Saturdays tough conditions the idea of an early Sunday start wasn't too appealing. As it turned out I was the ONLY one fishing from the PIPE to the Tree Pool and back for the first two hours!!

Sunday was a bit of a mission. First it was to test out my 7 1/2 ft 4wt bamboo rod from the cane craftsman Rick Taupier of the Swift River Rod Company. I paired it with a 3wt DT to explore the range of this rod. It can throw the "undersized" line well over 30 feet which is the limit for this section of river. That's what bamboo does!! The second was to test out some new(er) flies after I threw on a size 16 partidge & orange to put some "bends" in this rod. Trout love that fly!! They also loved, but not as much, a mylar midge larva and a hot red sparkle midge that took trout but to a lesser degree. The real surprise was when I tied on a "veiled" soft hackle (midge flash tied in on top of the thorax and before the hackle) because the trout began to ignore that pellet hatch and keyed on that fly.

The fishing was good because I had a popular spot to myself and the rainbows were eager. I went into the double digits in the first hour and and took somewhere around two dozen when I left just short of four hours. Our friends the brookies are now pretty much done with this two month party that they have had. I caught none, just 'bows.

BTW, conditions were not that bad. The wind is the key. A windy 40 degree day is worse than a calm 30 degree day. Sunday morning wasn't anywhere near Saturday's conditions.



Bill/Tully said...

Glad to hear using your "new" rod was a pleasure! Perhaps the "latest" material isn't always the most pleasing.

Anonymous said...


Sorry to see the brook trout end their spawning. I got some good underwater photos the past month. Might try to tie some "flash" into some SH's.


Anonymous said...

Hey Ken,

Hope you are doing well. Thanks for the great blog posts. Thanks to your entries, I feel confident going into the winter season.

I was hoping you could give me a little insight. I want to start fishing the lower swift more. I have heard that from the depot st bridge in bondsville up to the dam is a good stretch. Is this the case? If so, how the heck do you fish it!? I walked the path the other day and it looked to me that there were very few places to get down to the river and if you did, the banks were very steep and the river looked close to impossible to wade. Are there any other stretches in the lower river that you would recommend as well?

Thanks, Ken, and I hope you have a great holiday.


Millers River Flyfisher said...


I've walked downstream from the bridge below the dam on the RIGHT side and fished. I usually drive down to the Industrial Park (first entrance) and park at the end of the cul de sac. I will walk downstream a bit and then cross over and fish from the other side.

You will have this place to yourself on most days. The wading is easier from the cul de sac downstream. There are native brookies there. This place can freeze over in winter but still holds 60-62 degree temperature in the summer.


John Z said...

Need a picture of that wonderful bamboo rod...your outings are always an enjoyable read.

Bob O said...

Ken, Wishing you and yours the very best of holidays. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
As always, I find your blog entertaining, informative, and challenging. I appreciate your persistence in posting, and the (generally) cogent comments your blog elicits. Keep up the good work. See you on the water - perhaps before 2016. Blessings,
Bob O

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Bob O,

Thank you for the good comments. Your opinions are always note worthy and appreciated.
The best to you and your nearest ones on this Christmas Season. I will see you in 2016 for sure!


Millers River Flyfisher said...

John Z,
I'll post a photo of that wonderful rod soon enough. I thought, on the down side, that it may be a a workman like rod. Not saying that there is something wrong with that (and there isn't) but this rod is grades above that. Perfect in the hand and perfect as the leader folds out. Perfect for unweighted fly fishing!!


The Eye on Harvard said...

I can't believe the October weather we are having in December. I fished the Swift twice this week, Monday and Wednesday and found the rainbow pretty spread out (except at the Y pool and the Pipe). I was swinging the partridge and orange and picked up a brookie both days, but no bows. I also tried out a creative interpretation of a baby brookie streamer that brought out a lot of looks and bumps but no takes. A dry october caddis got knocked around and was a favorite of the palm sized brookies. Any suggestions about how to encourage those comfortable bows off the bottom? They seemed to only hit the "pellet" flies being offered at the pipe and not even giving a look to midges and soft hackles. There were a half dozen lurkers along the bubbler arm but not sure what would get them excited. Never having fished into december is it time to go to sunken nymphs or do I need to change up my soft hackle drift?

Hope you have a great holiday season and a wonderful new year.

Tim C

Millers River Flyfisher said...

I interrupted the pellet hatch with a soft hackle (last post). I did great Sunday over the same fish. "do I need to change up my soft hackle drift" you ask. It is a drift without the pull of the current. My hits with soft hackles occur while the fly is ABOVE me or half way through the drift and not being dragged by the fly line. They hardly occur below me at this time of year. Drift the fly like it's not attached to anything!!


Bill/Tully said...

"Drift the fly like it's not attached to anything!" That's going to have me chuckling until I close my eyes tonight! If only I could do that. Maybe that will be my New Year's resolution.

Falsecast said...

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you Ken and all others on this blog! I hope you and your families have a happy and healthy 2016! might as well end with a quote as that seems to be Ken's thing...

"Then in the Arctic half-light of the canyon, all existence fades to a being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a four-count rhythm and the hope that a fish will rise."