There will be days when the fishing is better than one's most optimistic forecast and others when it is far worse. Either is a gain over just staying home. - Roderick Haig-Brown
Nothing gets my juices flowing like the thought of big stonefly nymphs becoming active in late May on the Millers and the EB. Both rivers are First Class 'stone rivers with their miles riffles and pocket water. Riffles and pockets, with their high oxygen levels, are the home of the stones. One thing for certain - if you have stoneflies you have a healthy river.
My nymphs are in the 8 to 12 size range with either olive/brown or yellow/brown making up the body color. The tails are made from two wisps of ostrich herl and the same material is wrapped around (palmered) the body to represent gills which all of the stoneflies that are important to us have. The hackle is cheap Indian cape hackle usually in brown with a wing case of black duck quill. It may be wise to lay a strip of super glue on the back of the body before you wind that fragile herl.
Stones hatch like the previously mentioned damsel flies. They crawl out of the water onto a rock or such, split their nymph case open and then fly away. Unlike the damsels, this hatch can last for weeks and unlike the damsels (again) the winged adult is of real importance!!!!! Stimulators come into play especially in the late afternoon and evening. You will not see concentrations of these flies but you will see the occasional "helicoptor" fly bye. Drop the fly at the tail of a riffle and hold on. Even after the hatch is history the trout still rise to the stimulator. This may be because they think its a hopper (or maybe not).
The Swift - another non-scientific solution has been launched to "improve" the fishery on the Swift and that is to eliminate the stocking of rainbows in this river. The same idea sprang up last year and it quickly sank without a trace (thank God)! The weak rational is that if you stopped stocking rainbows the brookies would return to the river in droves, multiply like crazy, leaving us with a first class brook trout fishery. Now they have a petition.
First - the author(s) of this idea has about 3 years experience on this river,if that, and not the 20, 30, 40, and 50 plus years of the fly fishers who disagree with him.
Second - if the author(s) had more experience they would know that the Swift has had a native brook trout fishery for at least 30 years. That's when I took a trout hatchery manager from Pennsylvania to fish it. He was amazed at the brook trout population covering many age classes.
Third (Most important) - the brook trout population has continued to grow year after year after year IN SPITE OF THE FACT THAT WE ARE STILL STOCKING RAINBOWS!!!!!!! This fact disarms their weak argument that the rainbows are hindering the brookies. The Swift HAS BECOME A FIRST CLASS BROOK TROUT FISHERY without changes to our stocking policy.
Fourth - This is Conventional Wisdom without a shred of scientific data. How much available brookie spawning habitat is there on the Swift? What is the survival rate of each year class? What is the REAL impact of rainbow predation on Swift brookies, if any? Come to the table with some data, not your common sense opinion.
Do you want to end rainbow stocking? If you do then get set for another Spring of 2015 when the fishing was HORRIBLE (no rainbows). Except the condition will last through the Summer until the brookies group up again in the Fall.
One more thing - The Swift is not a natural trout stream. IT'S A TAILWATER. Before Quabbin the stream had brookies but nothing like today. Today it's a stable, cool environment. 80 years ago the little brook trout of this river had to deal with floods, droughts and warm summer flows AND HATCHERY TROUT. If you want undisturbed native brookies go above Quabbin on the West Branch. If you want quality fishing year round in a man made environment then fish the Swift below Quabbin.
It's 70 degrees outside. I'm in Florida. Time to hit that beach side bar.