Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Baby Bows, Baby Browns, Big Browns And Changes On The Swift

"I think this thing we have for bamboo fly rods has something to do with it too. It seems a shame to use a fine, handmade casting tool to lob a weighted, short-line nymph rig 10 feet when you could do the same thing just as well with a broomstick." - John Gierach in Even Brook Trout Get The Blues

Reader Doug sent me this photo of a 6 inch rainbow caught down in Cady Lane. Add this to the few that my clients and I have caught this Spring (some 3 to 4 inches) and the question will be asked: where did they come from? Escapees from the hatchery or maybe something else. Here's the evidence as of late: 1. the little guys are in good shape. Pectorals are intact and of equal length and the tails are not frayed. 2. Every one of them has been caught from the Pipe downstream. I tend to feel that "number 2" carries the most weight and that it suggests escapees or accidental stocking because most hatchery fish move downstream after stocking. I caught a baby rainbow in the Swift two years ago, none last year and now I know of 6 to 8 of them being caught this Spring/Summer. That suggests an "event" such as an accidental stocking.

What is of REAL concern is what my client Joe caught at the Gauge Run yesterday. The 14 inch brown was cool but the 3 INCH BROWN was a show stopper!! A Native Brown?? Most likely!!

It seems that I and my clients have been sight fishing browns that are measured in pounds and not inches on the Swift. And we're not talking about the way we sight fish clonebows as they sit there fining away in open sight. You have to LOOK for these browns next to undercut banks, sunken logs or under rafts of debris. Sometimes you don't see the whole fish but just a part which is all you need. Welcome to Trout Hunting!!!

The Pipe and the Tree Pool have always been a destination for Swift River anglers. The problem has been that the area was the sole destination for years for many flyfishers which could put a dozen waders into the water from the Pipe to the end of the pool. I've tried for years to suggest that other possibilities existed with limited success. Cady Lane has changed all of that. Yesterday there were about a dozen cars in the Pipe lot at 2pm but only 3 people fishing the Pipe/Tree Pool. We spent the last two hours down in Cady Lane and saw only three other anglers and never felt crowded out. It seems that people just disappear down there! Basically the angling has spread out by a factor of at least three and that is a very good thing!!

The EB is almost "there". We have a forecast that calls for three days of rain next weekend.



Ryan Crow said...

I've caught multiple rainbows in the 3-6 inch range this year right at the confluence of the ware and quaboag rivers where they become the chicopee. I've only found them in one small area under a bridge where its shallow and fast moving with a few pools, none upstream or downstream from that spot. I'll get pictures next time I'd like to know if they are somehow reproducing.

Jim M said...

Hey Ken,

I was the guy who said hello to you yesterday from the banks of the tree pool, and mentioned I ran into two of your Sunday guide trip young men. They were extremely excited about going out with you Sunday, and seemed to have a passion for learning all about fly fishing the Swift. To see a couple early 20-something year olds with all that enthusiasm to learn is very cool. They had a ton of questions about what to use, how to fish that area, etc..... told them don't ask a ham & egger like me - ask Ken.

What you mentioned in this article about the small Bows in Cady Lane..... I got 2 of them yesterday (4-5" ish...) in between a ton of little Brookies in the early stretch of Cady Lane...was very surprised! Their coloration was moderate to light, and thinking they are hatchery escapees rather than native? They were QUITE fat for that size of fish too. Was very nice to see.

Wateris flowing high (thinking at least 100cfs...maybe a little higher?). Very busy place. No place to park at Cady Lane, so parked upstream and hoofed it down to Cady. Tons of Brookies again, and two Bows about 5", and very fat. Wondering if they were released from the hatchery recently. All on ants and a home tied nymph that looks a little like a Prince nymph but with white (deer hair) tail. Brookies were going crazy over it..... sort of like fishing for pumpkinseed at times. But a blast on a 3 wt. Stopped by the tree pool on the way home, for an hour to watch all the big Bows cruising around, fussy as all hell - did get one about 15".

Kayakers were there, but very respectful of fishermen. But one "dude" ran right up the river with hi aluminum boat at 25 HP motor cranking. Then he drifts back down like the water is all
......lots of fallen trees, several due to the work of beavers based on chew marks on the stumps. Either he launched at Cold Spring, or maybe lives on the banks of Cady Lane somewhere....I see a few pontoon boats docked there as well. This guy was just motoring through the junk on his way upriver. Probably tilted his outboard motor up a bit to avoid river junk.

All that brush and fallen trees have created some VERY nice hiding places for trout.

That stretch of lower Cady Lane, and below, are kind of a surreal world with some of the cottages there. One house even "planted" a pink flamingo on a hump in the middle of the river. Another has a tall red fire hydrant sticking out of the water about 5 feet from shore - wondering if it's an old relic from pre-Quabbin days....The cottage owners always say hello and seem very nice folks...


Millers River Flyfisher said...

Jim M.

Nice to me you yesterday! I also had a great time guiding those young guys and feeding off their enthusiasm.

The water level is at 120 cfs but will go down if we get some heavy rain.

I'm thinking that the baby bows are hatchery fish that got in there somehow.

So now we know why the pipe area is deserted most of the time. It's Cady Lane and that's a good thing.


Another rainbow mystery!!!


Anonymous said...

A 3 inch brown! If there are more it could mean a river with stream born brook trout and brown trout. Who in New England can say that?


Anonymous said...

I made the right decision by going down to the Bondsville area, right after I as you and your clients. Got some nice brookies and a lot of bows. Was peaceful down there, saw one guy by the first dam and had the whole industrial park area to myself!!!! I was one of the three guys at the tree pool when you were leaving, I just couldn't resist the temptation and had to go back and fish it. Managed to get a brown and called it a day.

Millers River Flyfisher said...


You made a good decision!


Let's hope so!


Unknown said...

I caught a 5inch rainbow out of the y-pool a month or so back! Was surprised when it was not a brookie, had to take a second glance.

Anonymous said...

I also caught a few of the five inch rainbows with parr marks up around the y pool early last month. Haven't seen any in the last few weeks.

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Anonymous and Unknown,

More 5 inch bows at the Y Pool! What does that mean? Did 5 inch bows get mixed into the stocking of bigger bows or are they wild? Every one that is caught is around the same size (suggests accidental stocking) not like the brookies which come to the fly at 3 inches. No real reports of tiny bows last year.

A photo of a 3 inch bow would be great!!