Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Some October Dates And The State Of The Rivers And Updates

I think it's now more a matter of unspoken agreements among friends than pounds of fish, and that's probably why I spend more time hanging out with fishermen, as opposed to whoever all those other people are. Among those others are some well-meaning types who don't enjoy life nearly as much as I do, but who none-the-less believe I should be doing things differently."-John Gierach

First off, here are my open dates for half or full day trips for October: Friday, 10/14, Sunday 10/16, Friday 10/21, Saturday 10/22 and Sunday 10/23. I can squeeze in a 3pm to 6pm trip on the first three Thursdays of the month. First come, first serviced and these dates will go quickly so contact me if you are interested. You choose the river (Swift, EB, Millers, Ware River) and we will see if it works.

The Rivers - As I write the Millers is at 86 cfs and the EB is at 24. That is low BUT it is COOL as rivers in October should be. The question is will the inch or so of rain this weekend bounce the flow up enough for the DFW to stock the rivers? More rain is due early next week so I think that we may see some fish. I don't like to talk about stocking trucks but after this dry summer I'll take anything before the freeze up. The Swift - still flowing nicely and it has plenty of fish that seem to like the small stuff. More on the "small stuff" in an October Post.

Any updates will be posted on this front page and in the comments section.

9/29 - The DFW stocked a number of ponds today. Hopefully the rivers come next.

9/30 - The Deerfield got stocked and the Quinnie is up. Watch for increased flows on the river gauges.  We need it!


Monday, September 26, 2016

Pinheads to the Rescue, A Swift Update And Tippet Size Revisited

"Soon after I embraced the sport of fly fishing I became convinced that I should never be able to enjoy it if I had to rely on the cooperation of the fish"- Sparse Grey Hackle

I think that I may have gotten into a bit of a rut with my soft hackle fishing. My clients were still catching trout on them but this Saturday some obviously feed trout would have nothing to do with them. We even threw the dreaded SJW at them because it had worked so well for Bill. No dice.

That's when I changed directions and pulled out some size 24 pinheads. One client then took 2 trout in 3 casts and the trout couldn't get enough of them. Now, one of my clients had a 5x leader on that was now chopped back to 4x. Time for an experiment: tie the #24 pinhead to the 4x and see what happens. You guessed it - we got trout!! As my July 8, 2015 post on the subject stated, the need for ultra light leaders on subsurface presentation is way over stated and dangerous for the tout with long battles between the angler and the trout. (please read the comments section for this post)

The Gauge Run on the Swift is now loaded with rainbows which seem to be going through a spawning ritual.Female bows are flipping on their side and attempting to make a redd. We've seen this activity over the years but no 3 inch baby bows are being caught. The area around the Pipe is loaded with everything especially browns. I'm being told that these are browns moving upstream to spawn but they are certainly acting like stocked fish. If they are on a spawning run why have they stopped at the Pipe. There's also a uniform size to the group which spells "stocked recently".

We have 3 or 4 days of rainy weather coming up. Let's hope we get enough.


Friday, September 23, 2016

9 Years Running, The Millers And The EB And Lost Glasses

" Fly tackle has improved considerably since 1676, when Charles Cotton advised anglers to "fish fine and far off", but no one has ever improved on that statement" - John Gierach

Well, this month marks the 9th anniversary of my first blog post. At first this blog had a single mission which was to draw attention to the Millers River which was a river that needed some friends. Now we cover on a regular basis the Millers, the EB, the Swift, the Ware and others. In fact, this blog is responsible for the label "EB" when referring to the east branch of the Westfield (I was tired of typing it out so I called it the EB). I've met a lot of good people through this fragile experiment and I still enjoy it. I guess that means I'll keep it going!! As I've said before, the comments section is a valuable resource. Thank You!

As I write the Millers is at 112 cfs and is certainly fishable. Know the question is will you catch any trout. It's worth a try especially in and around the deep pools that you know about.

The EB - I know of fish that were caught in July and August. The August fish was a big brown that took a mouse pattern a day after a thunderstorm brought the river up to 65 cfs. All of the trout were caught in one place and those familiar with the river know where that place is. I didn't fish it or write about it for fear that the spot would get hammered. This river is now low again and needs rain badly.

Thank God for the Swift!!!!!!!!

A friend found a pair of prescription glasses down by the Pipe Parking lot Friday afternoon and placed them on the door by the Gauge structure.


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The RAIN, The Millers, The EB, Some Scuds And September So Far

"There is certainly something in fishing that tends to produce a gentleness of spirit, a pure serenity of mind" -Washington Irvin

It came down in buckets Sunday night and the Millers watershed hit the jackpot. Royalston got drenched with 3.69 inches of rain and Orange got over 2 inches. And the Millers went up and As I write this the Irving gauge is about 300 cfs with S. Royalston flowing at 100. This is more than enough of a flow for the DFW to stock this river in early October. I mention that because one of my commentor s (Tincup) had heard that only the Swift and the Deerfield would get a Fall stocking because of the drought. That was then but this is now. The Millers gives up it's water s-l-o-w-l-y and with low September evaporation and the leafy biomass going dormant the water will stay in the ground and in the river. Trust me, the flow will be fine.

The EB is running great now and if one more rain event hits that watershed it too will be stocked (or should be!!)

Ok, I have scuds on the brain. All Spring and Summer I forget about this pattern because it's always been a Fall and Winter fly for me. Now I've worked up a few dozen for October but I just don't want to tie anything else. Not a bad rut to be in.

I love September as I've mentioned on this blog many times. The water is low (sometimes too low) but cooler, the days are usually in the 70's, the mosquitoes are gone and I don't have to wait around until 9pm to hit the evening rise because it now occurs at 7pm. There are plenty of insects to keep the trout active AND it is the realm of the "fine and far off" school of fly fishing. The coarse methods of the earlier season are left in the truck and replaced with long fine tippets and light, sparsely dressed flies. It's an elegant style of fly fishing that lets you use that high priced rod the way it was meant to be used - CASTING

It's been a good September so far (on the Swift) except for this long drought.

Friday, September 16, 2016

A BIG Trout Tenkara Style And Another Big Dead Trout Found

But spring creeks are famous for snooty trout and still still possible to get into that old routine where the fish are feeding but they won't bite and you're changing from one pattern to another while fighting off a sense of impending doom" -John Gierach Another Lousy Day In Paradise

I get a lot of pleasure when one of my clients gets into a BIG trout especially when it's the first fly caught trout for that person. That happened today using a tenkara setup (a size 14 soft hackle) upstream from the Pipe around the Gauge. There are trout there and you don't have to hike down to the Pipe or the Tree Pool to find them. It was fun trying to land this MONSTER but we did it!!!

It was a GREAT fish that fought hard but was landed and released without harm.

One can feel the change of the season. The days are shorter, the nights are longer and the Swift's bows are beginning to move around. Soon the brookies will be on the spawning gravel....

And that reminds me what commentor "Falsecast" said earlier in the week: "try not to walk on the spawning gravel". This is easy to do below RT 9 by just standing on the weed beds where they don't spawn. Above Rt 9 I'm afraid that there's some needless trampling going on. Actually it's way too many fishermen and too little river!!

NOTE: Found another BIG DEAD RAINBOW in the run below the Tree Pool. That's 3 big trout in a week. We know what's happening- you play it FOREVER on 8X, then take a ton of photos usually with the fish out of water, then you release it thinking you've done the right thing. What you did was play that fish to death. 1. Stop using ultra fine tippets. The bow in the photo above was caught on 5x. 2. How many photos do you need? I can net a fish, take a photo and release the fish in 30 seconds and it never leaves the net. If you can't follow this advice then stop fishing catch and release areas!!!


Monday, September 12, 2016

Racing The Weather Sunday Morning Down At Bondsville

"I would rather cast nightcrawlers from a pier at Lake Michigan then ever, ever cast a wet fly" From Robert Traver on concerning the merits of the sunken fly

On Saturday night the weather guy on NECN said a FRONT would blow through by mid morning on Sunday with rain, high winds and some lightning. What to do on Sunday morning? Answer - beat the front and that's what I did. I was on the river down in Bondsville at 7am and not the first but the first were not in my favorite spot so things were cool!

A dozen casts with my self proclaimed "favorite dry fly for 2016" produced NOTHING and I can't believe it. The water is high and it's not my favorite flow down there but it should of done better. Then I saw it - a telltale flash just below the surface 25 ft away. Off comes the big, bushy terrestrial and on goes a size 16 BWO cdc dun BECAUSE there is something ready to hatch and the reliable BWO will get their interest. No need for a nymph. Then another subsurface flash only 15 feet away. I cast for the closer fish first and got it and then got the the further away fish a cast or three later.

Then the "guide" in me took over from the "flyfisher" in me. The "flyfisher" launched a 40 foot cast to the head of a riffle and lost a perfect rise. The "Guide" in me said "what the hell was that 40 foot cast for? Are you showing off to yourself? With all of that line and with the currents you stood NO chance hooking that fish. Move up and keep your casts 30 feet or shorter". NOTE: I don't say this to clients, only myself.

I never rose that fish again but I did catch others, all beautiful brookies in the 10 to 12 inch range. About 8 in all until I noticed that it was getting dark and the wind was blowing the drought weakened leaves into the river. I made to the vehicle as the skies opened up. I drove up to the PIPE parking lot to see a large branch blocking the road. I moved that and then saw a local guide sitting on the tailgate to wait out the storm. Out on route Rt9 there were two road blockages heading west towards Amherst.

I got home, cleaned up the yard from the blowdowns, threw down some grass seed, grilled up 20 inches of spare ribs and watched the hated Jets eat defeat.

The ribs were great!!


Saturday, September 10, 2016

A September Morning, Lot's of Brookies, Fighting Browns And A Few Dead Trout

"The two best times to fish is when it's raining and when it ain't" Patrick McManus

I love September. The weather is starting to cool down, and dry fly fishing can be spectacular as it was this morning down by the horse farm on the Swift. Some #16 ants and some #20 BWO kept the the trout coming to the surface. Lot's of brookies, a rainbow and a brown came to the net with the rainbow reminding me of the fish landing limitations of a Tenkara rod. Anyway, I got there at 7am and didn't see my first angler until 11 which is exactly the way I like it.

There were some strange sightings yesterday morning. First there were the "fighting browns"! Two browns in the 16 inch range spent a good portion of the morning chasing each other up and down a 100 yard segment of the Swift. They were not spawning or playing but really attacking each other. It would be interesting to see if anyone else has seen this behavior.

Now for the dead trout! A large dead pine fell into the top part of Cady Lane within sight of the Tree Pool last week and suddenly made this section even more interesting than it was. It was just below this log that I saw the 20 inch rainbow lying on the bottom. It had just enough life in it to fin away when I tried to net it. I got a good clear look at this fish and could not see any visible wounds. Then, while fishing above the log, I spied a large dead brookie. This fish was over 12 inches I was able to net and examine it. (See photo) Again, no visible predator wounds, no monofilament hanging from it's throat. Just a dead trout!

What killed these trout? The evidence points to careless prolonged handling of these fish. The evidence is clear. These were TROPHY trout that probably spent the summer in the tree pool, lost a long battle with a fly fisher, had a dozen pictures taken while out of the water (these were BIG trout so pictures were taken) and then were released to become that 6-7% mortality rate that they say we have in C+R waters. I've seen a lot of celebrations that clearly take too long. Net the fish, take a photo of the fish while it's in the net and then release the fish. Try not to grab the trout with your hands. If you have to grab it do it while the trout is in your net and your hands are on the OUTSIDE of the net.

Too bad that brookie will not be spawning this Fall.


Monday, September 5, 2016

Tenkara Update, Olives, And Slow Down

"The Blue-winged Olive is my favorite mayfly if only because I've fished the hatch so often and for so long. I think it was the first mayfly I identified and I know it was the first dry fly pattern I got into after deciding that maybe a guy should have something besides an Adams in five sizes." John Gierach

Ok, this is for all of you that currently have a Tenkara setup or for anyone who is ready to take the plunge: Consider using a very long leader INSTEAD of the accepted Tenkara lines. Those lines are the furled line and the level line. The furled line casts very well but gets heavy quickly making it kind of difficult keeping it off the water plus it's bulk will contribute to drag on long casts which is to be avoided. The level line (straight monofilament) stays off the water and contributes nothing to drag but can cause some accuracy concerns especially with any wind. Well, the topic came up in a conversation with my friend Brad and he mentioned that the is a new TAPERED mono casting line for Tenkara. That statement caused the wheels to spin in my head and out came the question: what about using a LONG leader for a casting line? It just so seems that I had a few 15 ft 1x salmon/steelhead leaders kicking around. So, off came four feet on the tippet end to be replaced with a leader ring and five feet of 5x. Would it work?

The next morning (today) found me at Cady Lane laying out the MAXIMUM distance that I could cast with my new "line"! And when a hatch of Olives began around 11 am I could put that size 18 dry fly exactly where I wanted it. And without the floating fly line I had no drag concerns. I was able to paint the bankside with a fly that landed like a feather on the water. I decided to really test this set up by tying on three feet of 6x. The fly STILL turned over!!! It will be my line of choice for Tenkara fishing going forward.

BTW, I caught fish above and below the surface and had a ball. In fact, dries on a Tenkara rod may be the most efficient method of playing with brookies down in Cady Lane. Contact me if you want to give it a try.

Autumn is coming and so are the Blue Winged Olives. You will find them everywhere including the Swift (a good hatch this weekend), the Millers and the EB. The Swift group is small from #20 through #24 whereas the Millers family comes in from #18 to #20. The EB tribe just seem to be bigger from #16 to #20. A size #20 will get it done anywhere. Look for a cloudy cool day. That's BWO weather!

Today I saw someone doing what a lot of anglers do. This fly fisher walked quickly along the high bank, would stop for 20 seconds, walk another 100 feet, stop and stare for another 20 seconds and then disappeared downstream. In a short while he reappeared and repeated the scenario. He finally left. I don't know what he saw or didn't see BUT the spots where he stopped for a quick look were home to some big trout but big trout that are not in clear view. My advice would be to SLOW DOWN as you walk the bank and really scan the water. TAKE YOUR TIME. The best fly fishermen that I know are very quiet and they all walk slowly as they scan the water. They see more fish and catch more fish. If the guy I saw had actually seen what I saw when I got down to that spot he would of fished it.

Pray for rain!!