Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Low Water Conditions And The Swift

"The best fishermen I know try not to make the same mistakes over and over again; instead they strive to make new and interesting mistakes and to remember what they learned from them" - John Gierach

Ok, we are in the jaws of a drought and one just has to look at the USGA map of Massachusetts to understand why. Virtually all of the river gauges are marked in red which signifies a low water condition. Now, does that mean that freestone fishing is over? No is the answer. Over the decades I've had great summer fishing on the Millers and the EB when flows were low but fishable. Early morning and dusk are the best times for this kind of trout hunting. Remember, fly fishing for trout is a self regulating activity. Trout feed the most heavily when the water temperatures are between 55 and 65 degrees. Above 65 they begin to slow down with less need for food. Also remember that browns seem to tolerate warmer water better than their cousins.

One thing you should avoid is fishing around tributaries!!! When main stems get really boney trout will seek out the tribs and stack themselves up below them. They are sitting ducks for blue herons (seen it), otters (that too), snaggers (ditto) and harassment from fly fishers. During real bad conditions, such as now, these may be the last resort for survival in some streams. That's why Connecticut and Massachusetts BAN all fishing within 100 or so feet of certain tributaries on the Housatonic from mid June to September, a very good idea that should be enforced on all our major trout rivers.

The Swift has been great!!!! Now, I haven't been north of Rt 9 since March and have no intention of doing so in the near future. The lower river has kept me occupied. There are some trout at the Pipe, good fishing at Cady Lane and Bondsville is wonderful. Fishing pressure has been very light but that may change on Friday, 7/1, when the regulations change from Rt 9 through Cady Lane. That is a traditional stocking date. We will see.

There's a chance of thunderstorms from Tuesday through Thursday which is usually a hit or miss situation. We need a REAL storm with 2 inches of rain to recharge things.



Bob O said...

Ken, do you have any opinion on the new turbine/pipeline now being constructed to feed the McLaughlin Hatchery from the Quabbin? Just saw MassLive's article on the groundbreaking. I'm hoping there's no impact on the growing brookie population.

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Bob O,

As the article said and as my discussion with a DFW manager backed up this will result in an increased flow from the pipe downstream. My question is what will it do to the flow at the base of the dam?. For example: if the dam releases 50 cfs (as usual) and the new feed pipe brings in another 10 cfs (just an example) you will have 60 cfs below the Pipe instead of the usual 50 cfs. What's to stop them from reducing the the dam outflow by 10 cfs to have the traditional 50 cfs flow? That would mean less water above Rt 9.


lenny tamule said...

Stopped at bridge st to look at how low the millers was on my way home from the Deerfield and its a rock garden. I even saw some guy fishing the flats with a spin rod making a fool of himself in no more than ankle high water at this point. Brough a beautiful wild brown to the net and even some wild rainbows! Ants and the grouse and flash were the top choice on the menu


Gary Cranson said...

Fished the EB this morning and the flow was pitiful,so I fished every spring fed pool I could find. Caught the first rainbow on a SH and then switch to top water flies because fish were coming up. In fact the most hits came using foam hoppers, instant summer fishing in June. I left when the sun was high and they were still rising, go figure!

Millers River Flyfisher said...


I take it that you caught the brown and the bows in the Derfield. Right?


T- storms Tuesday evening should help. You did well and thanks for the report!!


lenny tamule said...


Anonymous said...

Just found your blog a few months ago and it is great! Years of info and a really good comment section. Don't stop.


tincup said...

mass fish game is already reporting that the swift will be stocked on 7/1 on the web page. hopefully the amount of fish they put in does not screw up the brookie population down on lower swift (cady lane and below) Or maybe the pressure will be on the newly stocked. Do they do the entire river at this time or only above rt. 9 Fished the brackish section of the parker river in Rowely. Trout unlimited stocked over 3000 brookies and browns for a 3 year period trying to bring back the salters. Some fish were against the dams but very hard too reach and spooked very easy. Feeding on mummycods too much natural food to be fooled by muddlers or anything I tried.

joe smith said...

Fished the Swift just below Rt 9 at the weekend. 3 Browns and a Rainbow came by way of a Grouse and Orange fished below a Wooly Bugger. Also lost a bigger Brown that I thought was coming to net, but bolted downstream and couldn't hold him (fly broke off). My first good day on the Swift in 6 times or so I've been there. Hopefully starting to figure this river out, but probably just got lucky :)

Bob O said...

Had a great time in the Swift's 'jungle' yesterday. EHC ruled, whether drifted dry above, or retrieved wet below. All brookies, except a single rainbow parr, and a very healthy brown taken from under a cut bank. Huge fun under overcast skies. Tricky wading in the increased flow. Didn't see another soul.

DS said...

I fished the Miller's River a few weeks ago in Athol by the dam and had a blast. I had whitewater kayaked the river but never fished there. I caught a good size rainbow and a good size brookie. The biggest fish I've ever caught on a fly! It was high 50s and overcast, about 6 in the evening, so my timing was good. This is a great blog, keep it up. Thanks.

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Joe Smith,
You're not lucky. You're just GOOD!

Bob O.

I caught a rainbow par and a client of mine did the same thing. Escapees or .....?

Me and my clients have done well with nobody in the ballpark. Refreshing to be alone in the "jungle"!


I take it you may have been above the old UTD (above the factories) dam. That is great dry fly water. Glad you did well!!


Anonymous said...

Hello everyone, just wanted to add that i too have caught par in the bubbler run of the swift but they were most certainly browns.

Paul Fay