Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

It's August, It's Raining And Some Some Tiny Drys

"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities but in the expert's mind there are few"John Gierach

It's 4:45 am and it's pouring outside and the weather map shows a large green area in western Massachusetts heading east. Let's hope this is the beginning of the end of this terrible drought. As you all know the lack of rain shut down our rivers but it didn't kill our rivers. Rainbows were spotted in the EB this past weekend. I said "spotted" and not "fished for" which was the right thing to do. The Millers went through a bad drought in 2010 but we were netting browns by late August after the flows came back up. Let's hope it keeps raining!!

The Swift is the lifesaver this year but I will complain about the yo-yo flow regime. As we understand it the flow is increased traditionally from 50 cfs to 120 cfs when the Connecticut River gets into the low 2000 cfs range. That has been an additional 70 cfs of water released that results in a whopping 3 to 4% increase for the Connecticut. The question is do they really need it or does it represent some historical pre-Quabbin contribution to the Connecticut River? Anyway, the up and down flows will effect the trout in all but the deepest spots.

Midges are maligned. We, as fly fishers, like to group all tiny naturals into this huge class of insects be they mayflies or caddis. This may not be a problem unless you believe that midges (Diptera) and mayflies and caddis all act the same. They don't and many times what we consider "midges" are actually tiny mayflies and micro caddis.

Now, I have always tried to create and use flies that are representative of, let's say, a number of mayfly species. That's because 1. I think that exact imitation is a fools game and 2. I don't like changing flies often. So, when I encounter those trout that are rising to NOTHING I will try something that could represent a tiny mayfly or a midge that is stuck in the surface film.

The body is thin and almost worm like and there's a tiny thorax/head built in. The CDC is really there to hang the fly in the film and not so much to represent wings. I've had good luck tying these on small scud hooks from 18 through 24. Scud hooks have a wide gap for better hooking and seem to have a shorter hook shank so I can tie very tiny flies on larger hooks for better hooking.

The Fall is prime tiny fly time. The little olive numbers in the photo got their baptism on the Farmington 10 years ago on a foggy September morning. They must of represented the BWO's that filled the air just a few hours later.

August is a transitional month. By mid month we will notice that the sun sets earlier now than it did a month ago. Nothing stays the same!!



Anonymous said...

Great to see data showing EB to be well north of 100 CFS for the first time in a long while:

Indeed, hope today's rains give a good soaking in MA. To really soak the ground and to raise the stream levels. Will need quite a few more rains like todays to make a long term difference.

Bob O said...

Ken, feel free to post this, or edit this answer to your question: why does the level of the Swift fluctuate?

At the inception of the Quabbin, Massachusetts applied to the Secretary of War (Act March 3, 1899, § 10, 30 Stat. 1151 (33 USCA § 403)) for authority to make the proposed diversions of the Ware and Swift Rivers from the Connecticut River, an intrastate watershed. The diversion was approved with certain flow restrictions.

In 1931, as the reality of constructing the Quabbin approached, a suit to forstall the Quabbin was brought by Connecticut against Massachusetts. Among the arguments against impounding the Swift and diverting portions of the Ware River were riparian water rights, compromises to hydropower, and impacted navigability.

Although the suit was found spurious, the nature of the restrictions imposed by the Secretary of War relative to the diversion of the waters of the Ware and Swift rivers were well restated in the 1931 decision of Connecticut v. Massachusetts, 282 U.S. 660, 665, in these words:

"After hearing both sides and examining the facts, the Secretary permitted diversion of the flood waters of the Ware in excess of 85 million gallons per day between October 15 and June 15 and prohibited the taking of any water except during that period. He permitted diversion of all waters of the Swift except enough to maintain a flow therein of 20 million gallons per day; but he required that, during the period from June 1 to November 30 there shall be released from the impounding dam 110 cubic feet per second (71 million gallons per day) whenever the flow of the Connecticut at Sunderland, Massachusetts (a town 20 miles north of the confluence of the Chicopee and Connecticut) is 4650 cubic feet per second or less, and 70 cubic feet per second (45 million gallons per day) when the flow is more than 4650 and less than 4900 cubic feet per second. The Secretary found that the discharge at Sunderland of 4650 cubic feet per second corresponds to an average gauge height at Hartford of two feet and that a discharge of 4900 cubic feet per second corresponds to 2.1 gauge height at Hartford."

20 million gallons a day equals about 31 cfs.
45 million gallons a day equals about 70 cfs.
71 million gallons a day equals about 110 cfs.

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Bob O,

Your comment settles it!! I think I might really understand it. Thank you for the research!!


The flow is UP but are the trout still there? My sources saw trout. This week will tell!


Anonymous said...

great research, Bob O. I had heard that it was the gage at Montague that determined the flow requirements, even though the Swift's flow does not effect it. Now we know.


Anonymous said...


I like the CDC wing/post on your flies. Any tricks on how to make them?


Anonymous said...


Hello. Sounds like you have had a good summer from what I read on the blog. The rain these past few days sure has been a welcome event.

I can’t believe I am typing this, but I am getting a little bored with fishing the Swift – good success has been had with beetle and moth patterns. I purchased a Connecticut fishing license early this spring with intentions of fishing the Farmington (would be my first time there). I was wondering if you have any recommendation of where to start (name of a run, pool, etc.). I have a reasonably good map of the river with names for pools etc. (check out attached pdf from I plan to get there early Friday morning and fish until noon.

Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated.


Chico (Francesco Pellizzari)

Millers River Flyfisher said...

That map will work and the fishing guide to the Farmington, sold at Upcountry will work even better.

Start at Whittemore, fish the top of the campground pool (from the other side), church pool, drive-in pool, greenwoods, spare tire (just below greenwoods) and ovation for starters. It's a lot of water. You can spend all day on only two spots!!

I like to NAME the pools/runs that I like to fish just like Upcountry and Charlie at Evening Sun. No need to be secretive or greedy when dealing with the fly fishing community!!!


Good luck

Anonymous said...

I love the Swift love this blog (thanks Ken) and read it often. I also am an avid Farmington river fly fisherman, I spend over 100 days a year there. I want to give anyone who is planning on fishing the Farmy in the coming days a heads up.... THERE IS LITERALLY NO WATER BEING RELEASED! The release currently is 50cfs which is a trickle. The water temp is in the 68-70 range downstream from the Campground pool and higher temps lower river. So if you want your trout you catch and release to live, please do so as close to the dam as possible. Just a heads up. If you don't believe me check the usgs gauge for the dam release. No water coming in from the Still. Thanks for your time and I love this blog Ken please keep it up! Tight lines~

BobT said...

This time of year and given this year I would fish above Riverton bridge to the dam. Tons of fish lots of shade and generally a little less pressure.

J Kon said...

Hi Ken,

Just curious...Where is that dam you are fishing in the video Millers Fly?



Millers River Flyfisher said...


Thank you for the info on the Farmington. I saw the gauge but didn't know it's impact.

Let's see how the survivor trout do. This may be a test. EVERYONE - keep an eye on the gauge.


The Video was shot in Bondsville on the Swift below the second dam and just below the bridge.

Bob T.

Thank you for the tip. Got a feeling that it may get pretty crowded there.

EVERYONE - this is a good example of the first hand knowledge on our rivers that you find on this blog. Real Fly fishers and a real community. You will find it nowhere else!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


lenny tamule said...

What a shame! Its hard to believe the soaking the farmy got last weekend did almost nothing for it. That rain was legit. Driving home was something else too. I'm sure the the Browns in the Millers can make it those survivor strains shouldn't have much of a problem if left alone. Was hoping to go back but now I'm certain I'll be able to find myself alone on Saturday, and that's exciting.