Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

Friday, June 3, 2016

Conventional Wisdom And A Weekend Preview

"Many of the standard flies on the river came from his vise (including some rustled patterns that now bear other peoples names). His flies were always admirably spare and simple, but now his patterns have become totally minimalist. The last batch he showed me consisted of nearly naked hooks with a little thread and a wisp of wing or a half turn of hackle: just the barest suggestion of an insect." John Gierach

One of the books that has reshaped my thinking on fly fishing and our attempts to imitate insect life is the great What Trout Want: the educated trout and other myths by Bob Wyatt. He lays to rest the notion of the SELECTIVE trout, instead throws the blame for fly refusals on poor presentation and/or the habit of trout to key in on the dominant species as the ONLY food source at the moment.

But there is a startling revelation that is in this book that seems to be purposely overlooked and that is the sacred Sparkle Pupa Theory by the late Gary LaFountaine. His theory was that prior to emergence the pharate adult stage of the caddisfly expands it's outer cuticle with gas to help it in it's ascent to the surface and in the splitting of the cuticle. LaFountain believed that the gas would reflect sunlight and give a glowing or sparkling quality to this stage of the insect. That spawned his Sparkle Caddis Pupa flies which are VERY successful in catching fish.

Ok, it catches trout so whats the problem? The problem is that there is not a caddis fly in the world that emits a gas under it's shell to rise to the surface and that is a fact according to Wyatt. So what does this mean? It means that this great attempt to "match the hatch" didn't match anything but created another effective ATTRACTOR Fly.

There are a lot of attractor flies out there which includes ALL beadheads and we will be doing and reporting on an experiment within a week on this.

This weekend should be the prime time for the emergence of the of the damselfly. I've included two photos: one of the nymph snd one of the beautiful adult fly. It's the nymph which is of interest to us because it emerges onto the shore or protruding rocks to hatch. It's a fairly swift swimmer and a small, lightly dress WB in brown will do the trick. I once saw a brown beach itself chasing these nymphs.

The Millers is still fishing well and trout are still being caught. Early morning and evenings are best with the Bridge Street Pool producing well. Also producing is the big pool at the end of the road beyond Pete & Henry's in South Royalston.

The EB is prime right now but people have been asking me about the flow since the gauge went down. I have a formula to predict what the flow is up by the gorge when the gauge reading is not to be believed because of impoundment releases.

1. Go to the EB gauge site and in the upper right hand corner click "United States".
2. Choose Massachusetts from the list of states
3. Go to the map of Massachusetts and click the WB and record the flow rate
4. Go to the MB (right next to the WB) and record that flow rate
5. add the two together and you will have a very good picture of the flow upstream on the EB plus/minus 10%


Charlie Shadan reports that the Squannacook and the Nissitissit rivers are low but very fishable in the early a.m. and in the evenings. (the same as it was 40 years ago!!) Some rain will fix things nicely.

I'll be on the Swift this weekend. I would guess that some trout were thrown in and now the PIPE section will be crowded again. I will miss the solitude!!



lenny tamule said...

Could you get away with using a size 12 wet hook? I'm thinking swinging a soft hackle version of one of these would be deadly.


Anonymous said...

Wow. I never thought LaFountain could be that wrong. I put sparkle on most nymphs for the gas reason and will probably still do.


Anonymous said...

I think LaFountain observed something during his studies of emerging caddis. Thomas Ames Jr also documents the presence of these "gases". At least for the grannom and spotted caddis emergings I encounter, I will always use a LaFountain style pattern.

I found the damsels in good numbers 1 1/2 weeks ago on the Millers in Wendell. Took two bass in the area where I spotted them along the shore grasses with the only nymph pattern I had before losing it on a snag. This past Wednesday morning I did not see nearly as many but I found lots of stoneflies on the shoreline rocks and also those boulders that WERE above the waterline.

Wednesday morning was the 2nd time in the past 3 weeks I was on the Millers during a substantial lowering of the flow which was quickly raised to a much higher rate within a short period of time (May 12 and June 1). Prior nor forecasted rainfall had any bearing and I'm sure no meaningful electricity was generated in Athol. I don't know which dam upstream of Wendell was responsible but my impression is that a volume of water was held back and then released rather quickly for the purpose of flushing something out from somewhere on the river or adjacent to the river. Also saw a temperature rise from 68 degrees to 70 degrees while the flow increased over a 2 hour period. I had hoped to find that the rising water would be washing some of those stoneflies off those rocks and feeding them to some hungry fish but I think the water was warming too quickly for any meaningful surface action to take place.

Hope there's a plentiful cold rain this Sunday.


Millers River Flyfisher said...


You're right about Ames mentioning the gases in print but maybe he was just reiterating LaFountain.

The Millers flow culprit is, most likely, the Hydro facilities in Orange. They have done this before. A look at the graph shows a dip and a spike on June 1. The reasoning is probably a maintenance issue. If it goes into a daily series of spikes, as in the past, then we have problems.


Anonymous said...

Sparkle pupa is one pattern I carry and have gone fish less when using. Wish it were different.

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Note Two All,

A few weeks ago I posted that we had drought conditions and referenced the USGS maps for this State. Lots of "red dots". Those dots disappeared for a week but now are back. Well, that's coming to an end on Sunday (tomorrow) because of a widespread rain event that should dump 2 inches over the area. Hopefully it won't blow out the Millers.


Parachute Adams said...

We need rain, Ken, and I hope we get plenty of it. Only June and small streams around these parts need a recharge of water.