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, May 25, 2016

Big Fish Eating Little Fish And A Weekend Preview

" A trout is a moment of beauty known only to those who seek it" - Arnold Gingrich


I got an email this week that asked the question how big does a trout have to be to start eating other fish? I thought it was a trick question so I gave a trick answer: Any size! A 2 inch trout will gulp down a 1/4 inch fry of any species if it can catch and so will a 1 inch trout.

What I really think the writer meant to ask is when do trout begin to capture most of their calories by eating other fish? Now we have a good question. We will exclude lakes (a totally different environment) and focus on rivers. For the VAST majority of river environments and for the vast majority of trout that live in them the answer is NEVER. It is safe to say that roughly 80% of a trout's diet, regardless of it's size, is made up of insects!!


.The Millers is an insect factory and is also a bait fish factory. Simply put, there's a lot of food in that river. The largest trout that I have caught over the years there have been brown trout in the 20-21 inch range. At around 3 lbs they would represent the top 1% of the trout in size for that river. All of these trout were caught on SURFACE FLIES IN THE SIZE 16 TO 20 RANGE. In most cases I spied these fish feeding and took my damn time getting to them. One of them rose continually for an hour before I caught him. Did I think of throwing streamers at them? No! They were content to feed on aquatic insects. Trout will go after the most plentiful and easiest prey and that will be aquatic insects and terrestrial insects that fall into the water. A 6lb brown may gulp down a shiner but will never pass up a stonefly or a hellgrammite.


When should one fish streamers? The answer is anytime you want but statistically your best chance of success will be with insect imitations. And don't buy into that nonsense that the Fall is the time for streamers because trout are "putting on the feed bag" to prep for Winter. According to Tom Rosenbauer trout consume the most calories in the Spring than in the Fall. (see my post on this from 11/15/15)

THIS WEEKEND - This is the time when we begin to transition into the Summer mode. It's also the time when we usually have the time to hit the rivers.

The Millers has been HOT and evenings will be prime. Ask me for my MILLERS GUIDE if you want to know more about this river. Don't forget the Bridge Street Pool!!

The EB turned into a dry fly paradise Sunday afternoon after we played with picky fish for most of the day. The water temperature hasn't hit 60 yet and the flow is perfect.

The Ware is loaded with trout. The worst time to fish it will be at mid day under bright sun. Fish it in the mornings and in the evenings going forward.

Lenny and I will be working the MB this weekend. More on that later.

The Swift - Still fishing the ghost town known as the Pipe and still catching trout!!!

Have a Safe Holiday Weekend!

Ken





17 comments:

John Robinson said...

Thanks for another awesome update. A quick report and a tip: Based on your recent recos and updates on the Millers, I took a "newbie" to the Kempfield pool on Friday. Lots of big March Browns coming off the water with a few takers here and there. More looks that were devastating as you saw the browns turn at the last second (only saw browns). Tied on a green soft hackle per one of your recent recommendations and my buddy hooked his first trout on the fly -- a healthy 14" brown. Grabbed one more myself before coming to an unfortunate realization: don't go out in the sun if you are on antibiotics. Figured I'd share so others don't make the same mistake. I always cover up in the sun but left my hands exposed. Was taking antibiotics for an infection. After just 90 mins in the sun I had an bad reaction based on the antibiotics and the sun on the backs of my hands. Took 3 days to recover from the burns. Cut what was supposed to be a day on the river into barely a half-day. Read the precautions on the label when I got home and sure enough -- "Avoid any sun exposure." The more you know.....

Hope to save someone from the same agony.

The Eye on Harvard said...

Nice to see you Ken at Bondsville today. You were the only fisherman I spied until I departed around 2 where I saw two more taking advantage of the shade on this hot day. Emergers (caddis and rosenbauer rabbit foot style) were the word today for me as they out caught the olive soft hackle 2:1 with mostly brookies being taken. I did spend an hour going after a hefty brown and connected with a size 18 caddis emerger (in olive) hanging off a haystack in the big long pool near the parking circle. Other than the enormous sucker fish lazing in the sun and few good sized brookies I spied a 16"+ tiger trout cruising around (that would be fun on my 2wt). Up below the dam you must have tuckered out those fish, the olive soft hackle had lost its appeal until a little chartreuse/white spider dropped on my shoulder. The brookies were launching themselves straight out of the water like little ballistic missiles trying to get to them, so I tied on chartreuse soft hackle and voila - brookie slam. Thanks for broadening my view of the Swift River.

Millers River Flyfisher said...

John,

One guy almost sinks in quick sand and now this. Maybe everyone should have guides! I hope many read this to avoid what happened to you.

Eye,

Good to see you again. Bondsville is the hottest spot on the Swift!!

Ken

BobT said...

I've experienced excellent streamer fishing for larger fish over the last 20-30 years. While I do think in most cases larger fish will consume insects for the most part, they will not pass up an easy meal at certain times either. Per Gary LaFontaine's advice a long time ago at one of his show appearances, he was an advocate of fishing streamers at daybreak for larger fish upstream dead drift style btw. I've employed that strategy on the Miller's, Housy, Madison and the Colorado-it really gives you a better chance at a fish north of 16" I do go for rivers where there are an abundance of bait fish. It works but requires a very early morning-it does not seem to be as effective during the evening and even less so during daylight hours. Obvious to many there has been a strong resurgence of streamer fishing starting several years ago with Kelly Galloup's book and patterns, newer books by Jason Randall, George Daniel and Matt Supinski support in part some of the general theory that larger fish like big gobs of protein. Now it could be a fad but I will say it is a hell of a lot of fun to see a big trout move for a streamer. Its not as effective all of the time but I do find if I put in the work and get my butt out of bed-I have a better chance at moving something big. I may re-test these theories this weekend. I will be visiting my sister in Shelburne Falls and hope to hit the Millers and Westfield and maybe another. Does anyone here fish the Green up around Greenfield north..such a pretty river..I've tried it a couple times, once 30 years ago and last fall...skunked.

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Bot T,

Good points on the early morning streamer strategy.
Swinging streamers for landlocks is fun because you are imitating smelt which salmon feed on in a lake environment. It was either Darbee or Dette who fished a Light Edson Tiger, a bucktail streamer, as a nymph to represent a large stonefly nymph and not a baitfish. Streamer fishing kind of bores me except a technique that I learned on the Moose River in Maine years ago and that is to cast upstream in fast water and then strip it in quickly. It looks like a baitfish trying to escape. That would probably work with the bows and the tiny brookies on the Swift.

Never fished Greenfield's Green.

Ken

BobT said...

Another very good time to employ a streamer is in high water-fish move to the banks and I've found fishing tight, really tight to the bank in high water can be an effective strategy-I have been very lucky on the Millers with this method. I'll check out the Green and other spots this weekend.

Anonymous said...

Hoping to get a hall pass for one day this weekend for my first trip out to the EB with my boy. I'll have all day but with the forecast sun and heat figure the Gorge area won't be productive until evening. So I was thinking about "adventure fishing" for tiny native brookies way up in some headwaters brooks (Savoy Mtn St Forest area?) before heading down to fish the Gorge area in the evening. I know folks are wary of pressure on these little natives so not asking for spots, just whether that use of my time makes any sense. Thanks for any feedback.

Ken - love the blog. Have been working my way through all of the archives and taking notes!

Christian

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Christian,

I don't know the headwaters of the Swift that well but I would fish the Swift River in Cummington a few miles above the Gorge off RT 9. A beautiful stream with natives and some stockers. Very easy to find with Google.

Ken

Anonymous said...

Hello every one, Interesting post and comments. In my own experiance trout fishing I have found my largest fish (brown out of kempfield and a rainbow in lincoln NH both fish pushing the 20" notch on my rod)on streamers but interestingly enough one fish was mid day july and the other dusk in may. However, these fish were caught on smaller wooly buggers on the dead drift. I love fishing streamers this way and have always found it more effective. One more thing to say in regards to Kens comment on the moose river, this technique is deadly in the NH white mountains on brook trout and also another strange technique I learned that works for white mt brookies with traditional wet flies is to hang them in the current let it pull your line taught and move it back and forth causing the fly to move up and down stream. This has proved deadly in front of log jams and any thick cover. Strange but it works !

Paul Fay

Anonymous said...

Hi Ken,

First, I'd like to say, I love your blog on the Millers, EB and Swift. I'm an out-of-towner coming from Michigan and now living in Boston and your blog has given me a huge advantage when it comes to rivers around here and what to use. The reason for me contacting you is I was reading your most recent post and it said something about contacting you for the Millers river guide? As I am coming from the east, I don't particularly get to fish the Millers often and don't have any knowledge of even where to start. I was hoping you may give me some advice at least on where to park and walk to? I can get most everything else from you blog (once again, really great resource). Just want to put myself in the best position possible to catch some trout and maybe even some smallies at this time of year!

Started fishing the Swift earlier this spring and thanks to your updates was able to land two large bows - one about 21" and another around 18" as well as countless Brookies on two separate occasions. Great experience and I will definitely be fishing it again soon!

Thank you for your time.

Respectfully,


Tyler

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Paul,

I only fish very small buggers and also fish them in the drift like a big nymph.

Ken

Anonymous said...

Hey Ken,I was fishing the area around the rr bridge between Wendell and Erving .A few rises and I broke off a fish on a soft hackle.Was tying on a 4x tippet when 2 beavers a appeared and practically chased me out of the water!! Ever hear of beavers attacking fisherpersons?Seriously, they were upset. Freelon

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Freelon,

Yes. Up by the Upper Trestle Pool 20 years ago. You must of been need a den that they were protecting.

Ken

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Freelon,

Yes. Up by the Upper Trestle Pool 20 years ago. You must of been need a den that they were protecting.

Ken

Andrew said...

Speaking of critters in the water, I encountered a 3.5'-4' northern water snake on the Ware this morning, just upstream of the Covered Bridge. I was walking downstream, wading in the shallows near the shore. The snake dropped off a rock circled me several times, keeping its distance. But then followed me 30' or so as I walked downstream. Unusual surprise.

Sparkle Green Pupae did the trick with bows, browns, and one brookie there and in another Ware location. Caught lots of chub there this morning. And one small SMB.

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Andrew,

We saw one below the Church St. bridge.

Ken

Chris from Warwick said...

True story. I was fishing Priest Brook and decided to take a break. I went and sat on the bank
of this large pool and broke out a snack.

I felt something brush up against my back and when I turned around, a kit (baby beaver) was sitting right behind me as if begging for my snack.

Since my legs were dangling over the bank and into the water, I stood up, turned slowly, tossed the trail mix (snack) as close as I dare so as not to spook it and went out to deeper water and then downstream. It did go for my snack and I carry extra all the time.

I have since started carrying a camera whenever I go outdoors. It's times like that we remember and I now share with others.

One other time I was on the Nissitissit with my son in law and a blue heron landed on a stout branch about 2 feet above my head. My s-i-l got a cell phone shot but it wasn't very good as he was a distance away. The birdi stayed there even after I moved on.

As for water snakes, run into them all the time.