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.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

What Is An Attractor Fly And December Fishing

"Trout are quite unaware of their exalted status" Harold Blaisdell, The Philosophical Fisherman (1969)


The "Attractor Fly" has been with us for decades and is not the invention of the early 1980's as I once saw proclaimed online. The Mickey Finn, shown above, was created by John Alden Knight in the 1930's and Mary Orvis Marbury invented the Royal Coachman in the late 1800's. Both flies are called attractors because they stand out in the water due to their color combinations. All aquatic life forms exhibit some form of camouflage to survive but not these critters. They are not meant to represent any life form because no life form could survive being eaten by being dressed out in gaudy colors!

Why do trout attack attractors? Aggression and the chance to eat something may be the simple answer. Lets say that Mr. Rainbow is holding next to a rock. Henderickson nymphs are becoming active on the bottom with emergence a day or so away and Mr. Rainbow picks them off as they move by. He's quite familiar with these nymphs and all others in this stream so when a size 12 Royal Coachman wet fly (any gaudy fly will do) with it's snow white wings and orange barred tail comes drifting by he sees it. He's probably never seen anything like this before. What will he do? First off, he's not threatened by the size of the fly. Second, it's now in "his" space so he will attack this strange thing and swallow it if he can. He responds to this fly differently than he would respond to a drifting nymph.


Now comes the battle as to what flies are attractor flies and which are not. I have a simple definition: if your fly has an important element of its construction that makes it truly stand out in the aquatic world then you are fishing an attractor fly. It is a fly that doesn't represent any species because NO SPECIES could live and survive without blending in. An example of a fly that blends in would be the traditional soft hackle fly and an example of a fly that doesn't blend in would be any bead head. Yes, a bead head is an attractor by my definition. If a species of nymph lived in the Swift that had a bright,shiny, gold or silver bulb on the top of it's head it would be on the road to extinction.

What about dry flies? It's funny how many writers call the stimulator an attractor fly when it does so well in June during stonefly time and in Summer during hopper time. It's a good match for those insects.

The rest of the dry fly theory I will leave for another time.

It's time to wring out the last few hours of your 2015 fishing licence. All the rivers are flowing at a perfect level and there are fish to be caught. I still have some openings.....

Ken

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Interesting thoughts on this. Beads also impart movement which may be kind of unnatural too
Phil

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Phil,

Beads catch a lot of trout but probably show the non selective side of trout. The question is just how selective are trout? Do they, the finicky trout, shy away because the fly doesn't LOOK natural OR because it's not presented correctly?

Ken

Anonymous said...

Ken,
Love reading you blog. Thanks for the great info.
Once again, my question is about the Millers. The section of river between Farley bridge and Millers Falls, is it any good? I have only fished about 1/4 mile downstream from the bridge and have caught fish, but what are your thoughts on this section of river? It looks like access is tough other than hiking it down the railroad tracks. This section can't see as much pressure as Wendell, or can it? I am curious if you have any intel. I know TONS of fish get stocked into this river, so one would only think it holds fish that drop down stream. Just curious if you have fished this section and what you think about it. Any info at all is appreciated.
I did fish the Millers this past weekend and strangely had no luck. Temp was about 40-42 degrees, maybe that was a big factor. I fished streamers and stonefly nymphs. Anyways, I love fishing this river, so I am trying to explore new terrain.
Thanks again,

Dennis

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Dennis,

I fished this part of the river decades ago when I first moved to the area. It's readily visible so it gets on the list but there are so many better (my opinion) places to fish that don't have RT 2 at your back. The Bridge Street Pool below Farley Flats (where you are talking about) is a much better place to fish.

10,000 trout are stocked in the Millers every year. They are everywhere. They are below the Bridge Street Pool also.

The water is getting colder and the trout metabolism will slow down. Less food is required.

Ken

BobT said...

As a side note: For a long time the Stimulator has been one of my top 3 dry flies. Then I moved to Colorado for awhile and it became #1. It is a 3 season fly out there. It can be a caddis, a hopper and a stone and lets face it they pass for mayflies too particularly in small sizes. The float great and are easy to see and that is an important attribute in many places. My first really good experience with a Stimmie was on the EB in the dead of summer about 15 years ago. I used it mostly as a prospecting fly back then...but it worked. It was summer and #12 Stimmie seemed like a good bet in case there were hoppers around. I had a fantastic day raising about a dozen fish, some good sized on that yellow Stimmie. I was in the sections at the lower gate and it tends to be very "meadowy" there...tall grass meadows=hoppers=stimmies.

Anonymous said...

Who cares what the definition of an attractor fly is? Just use a fly that works, or am I missing something?

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Anonymous,
Everyone cares especially when things are not working.

Ken

Mike C said...

Ken,
I hear you on getting the last minutes out of my fishing license. I am also getting to the last remaining hours of vacation time. So I need to get out a bit more. I am looking to hit the Swift since I haven't been there all year. Maybe I will try the jungle I have been on that stretch yet.

Mike

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Mike C.

The jungle was great until mid September when the bigger brook trout went upstream. Try from the gauge down to the pump house. Lots of fish there and even though I've been beating the drum for this section most fly fishers head to the PIPE as expected.

Try the top of the jungle (near the horse farm) for some skinny water dry fly fishing.

Ken

Parachute Adams said...

This weekend is supposed to be nice, so I will head out at some point after my final installment of leaf raking and hauling. Ken, are the the small emergers still a good play, or are wet flies and streamers a better choice do you think? Regards, Sam

Mike C said...

Thanks Ken...I just need to find the day. Work seems to be ramping up but I will try those sections.

Mike

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Sam,

I will assume that you are going to the Swift.

I'm going to the Swift this morning and here is what I would do: My spot will be downstream from Rt 9 and my fly selection would be a 16 soft hackle (partridge/orange, grouse/flash, greenwells glory) with a #20-24 larvae pattern as the trailer. If I run into rainbows hanging behind brookie nests I might change to a size 18-20 micro egg and if there's not a crowd below the Pipe and the trout are working the surface I'll switch to Simuliidae or Chironomidea flies in the film.

I suppose you can fish tiny streamers that look like brook trout because the bows have been feasting on them all year but that's not my game if I can help it.

I hope you do well!

Ken

Bill/Tully said...

Ken, I just wanted to say thank you for the manner in which you run your blog. As a novice fly fisherman with mediocre skill and very limited river/fly knowledge, reading a post, like above, gives me something I can work with to become a better and happier fisherman. You help me begin to build a base of knowledge/information that will keep me in the water for years to come!

Parachute Adams said...

Thanks a lot, Ken. I appreciate the advice, and hope you do well also.

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Bill,

You sell yourself short. You have the skill and know the way. I'm glad that you read the blog!!

It's a never ending learning experience for you and Me!!

Ken