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, August 31, 2016

September Dry Fly Fishing, The Comparadun Revisited And An Update

"Do you need a 50-fish day dredging the depths with three jig-head nymphs drifting under an indicator? Or will half a dozen trout rising to dry flies prove equally fulfilling? - John Shewey, Editor In Chief of Fly Fishing Magazine, September/October 2016 edition

It seems that there is some "conventional wisdom" being cast upon the waters that dry fly fishing, outside of #28,#30 and #32 midge fishing, is at some kind of low spot during September here in New England. This is a half baked idea that doesn't stand up to even casual scrutiny. For starters let's look at what UPCOUNTRY FLY SHOP, (Farmington experts) suggest for a late summer, early fall dry fly selection:Tan Caddis 16-18, Light Cahills 12-14, White Flies (good on the Housy too) - 12-14, Ants #20 and Blue Wing Olives 20-24.

These are not midges. These are the flies that hatch throughout New England (fewer white flies, very many BWO's) and give September the reputation of being, next to June, as the BEST dry fly month of the year. And let's not forget the terrestrials because September is the best month for them. Grasshoppers, crickets and ants rule the month. Take a walk up the railroad tracks to the Upper Trestle Pool any day during September. You will see hundreds of grasshoppers in that short walk fleeing your approach. In June you could sit on your back deck in the evening and the landscape would be fairly quiet. Now it's September and you will hear a million crickets. I've had my best ant action in September when ant colonies split up, sproat wings and end up landing in trout streams.Terrestrials mean surface action!! It happens in September!!

The Blue Wing Olive is the MAJOR hatch of the Autumn and the Millers is a great place to see wonderful surface action to these insects. My best dry fly day was in early October on the EB and it was to the BWO. The Millers still has Cahills in September and that is a size 14 fly. The Pumpkin Caddis drifts in WAVES over the Millers in late September and it is best represented by a size 12 or 14 imitation. I still see Cream Cahills on the Swift in September. Never a populated hatch it continues from late May into September and the trout like them. I remember casting size 14-16 Light Cahills on warm September days years ago on the Squannacook when it seemed that every trout in the river was rising to SOME fly that my limited entomology failed to recognize. The Cahill matched what the trout wanted. They were not after midges.

In short, carry midges because you may need them but don't start dredging the depths because you think that dry flies with "meat on them" are through for the year.

COMPARADUNS - It's my favorite dry fly pattern and I have now tied most of my standard dries(including BWO's) this way for 30 years while giving up on the standard hackle patterns. Why's that? It's because it puts the body (the most important part) down in the film while hackle patterns really do not. And most rising trout are going after the insect caught in the surface film and not the dainty little sailboat floating downstream. Look at the comparadun photo above and you will see a small ball of dubbing in front of the deer hair. It's used to anchor that hair in place. I'm still surprised how many of these flies don't incorporate it. What about the Parachute?? I love to tie them because they look so nice and the body is in the film BUT caparaduns are easier to tie and are more durable. Dubbing and deer hair and that's it. What about the small sizes? Ultra fine deer hair works to about #18 then go to poly yarn or even better CDC. Kill the tail, use a curved light wire scud hook and you REALLY have a great emerger pattern.

Another BWO pattern that I like in #18 and #20 is nothing more the a wispy tail, olive dubbing and two turns of green dyed grizzly hackle (shown above). The green dye comes out a nice shade of dark olive on a grizzly hackle and it's mottled too. It's a dun or a spinner. I have to do something with all those hackle capes!!!

The Swift - up and down goes the flow. We need a stable flow for successful spawning of brookies and by stable I mean 50 cfs. That's perfect. To get that we need RAIN to jump the Connecticut River to lower the Swift. In the meantime keep fishing this river!



Parachute Adams said...

Ken, I feel the same about having the dry fly floating in the film. That is why I like parachute type flies so much, but will tie some comparaduns as well after reading your latest entry. I'm not sure I will spend any more time tying Catskill style dry flies. I have noticed they do get hits, but in my experience mostly after they have had a few casts and are starting to get a little water logged.


Hibernation said...

Have to agree - this time of year fishing terrestrials is so much fun. Likewise, I'm more and more a compradun style dry guy. Either that or some derivative of an elk hair caddis or stimulator - which to me feel like the same "family" of flies.

Durability and function are great on all of those flies.

That said, for most dry's now, I tie em up, and then dip them in this XXX floatant stuff that smells like lighter fluid and is sort of a cloudy liquid. The fly dry's for a bit (overnight is best - though some tell me they use on stream) and then is practically unsinkable. It's amazing. The only thing is that it will cause some flies to change color slightly towards slightly darker shades. Overall, it's amazing how well flies float after being treated with this stuff - even after they get chewed on quite a bit.


Brk Trt said...

Good words of advice Ken.
I generally tie size 14 dry flies and fish them most, if not every time on the stream year round. Cricket, and ant and beetle patterns can can be easily tied with black thread and black hackle.

Millers River Flyfisher said...


Tie some comparaduns!!! They are great for anything #20 and under.


You get it!!! My floatant is the powder form and tht works for me.

Brk Trt,

You fish intimate, tiny waters for the real thing with flies that may seem like oversized creatures to some but you really get it done. Always enjoy your comments and your blog!


Anonymous said...

I've only fly fished a few times and haven't had much luck, but I'll be going to the Miller's very soon so I bought a size 16 foam ant, size 16 light cahill and a size 20 Blue Wing Olive (the trays were all picked over so I couldn't get all the sizes recommended here). Even with the correct flies, for some reason I don't expect to catch anything, as that's how it usually goes. Any tips or tricks I should keep in mind?

Millers River Flyfisher said...


Wait until there's more water in the Millers for starters.

Watch a Joan Wulff fly casting video and then find a slow spot on a river and duplicate what she did.

Watch and ask others who seem to be catching fish how they are doing it.

Done give up! Your always one cast away from your first trout!


Anonymous said...

Also don't forget about Isonychia imitations at this time of year!

Parachute Adams said...


As Ken said, don't give up. You will catch trout if you go to the Swift, in my case I frequent Bondsville, and here is what has been working for me.

Most of my dry fly action has come when floating a deer hair caddis, parachute adams with a white wing post, or a traditional dry fly with white wings. I like the white being it helps me follow the float of the fly in poor light. I have been targeting slow but somewhat deep runs along side the bank, logs or brush piles. I lose flies, but that's part of the game.

If I get a decent drift at least for a short distance before drag sets in, I get my share of hits. Some hits may be from fallfish, but some may be from trout too, I never know. If I'm lucky I'll see a trout rising and I target that fish which is always fun, especially if I connect with it.

Lastly, if you are short on flies let me know how to send you some and I will. I like tying almost as much as fishing and have more than I know what to do with and will gladly send you some good ones, at least ones that work for me.

Regards, Sam

Millers River Flyfisher said...


Isonychia - A strange Mayfly. It hatches by climbing onto rocks like a stonefly and the trout only see the adult during the spinner stage BUT trout will rise to a Isonychia dun style when it's time for them to hatch. You're right, I forgot about them!!!!

Sam - Very generous of you!!!


Joe C said...


Nobody has said it but I will. Shorten your learning curve to nothing by booking a half or full day with Ken. My guess is you will land trout and have a much better understanding of how to fly fish, plus it will be fun.

Remember even golf pros will take "lessons" when they want to improve.

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Joe C.

Thank you for the nice words. Much appreciated!!


Parachute Adams said...

Great advice, Joe C. That would definitely shorten the learning curve.

Alan said...

Thanks for all the help and advice, my trip to the Millers was yesterday on the 3rd and I fished the area that connect's with the Connecticut river. I remembered reading to hike down a trail and fish the opposite side of the river in the area tucked against the bank. I didn't pull anything in, but when I turned away for a second after I casted, I got a huge tug on my line and pole but the fish let go a second later. I guess I learned never to take my eyes off a dry fly.

Anonymous said...

Tip for the novice looking for their first trout on a fly. My early days were often saved by a hopper. Hopper under a steep bank and you don't have to be delicate - a splash is quite natural. This time of year it is fun and relatively easy fishing. But as Ken said, unless you are after smallmouths downstream, I would leave them alone until they have some nice cool rain water to revive them.


Alan said...

Thanks, I'll get some hoppers and try again after some rainfall.