Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

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.



fischmeister57 said...

It happens. But that's not saying that fish mortality, as you pointed out, couldn't be greatly reduced by careful release practices. As for pictures, I've nothing against them when the shot is taken quickly and the fish is handled as little as possible (best kept in the net, as you said) and quickly returned to the water. But I've pretty much given up on the practice. I'm too clumsy to take pictures of my own fish and to have a buddy take a picture often takes too long. Not saying I'll never again have a photo taken of myself with a nice fish, but I've got plenty of pics already, what the wife of fishing buddy once called, a tad bored, "Oh, another man-in-water-with-fish-picture." ;-)


BobT said...

I've witnessed numerous anglers going back 30 years on the Swift playing trout way too long...don't get me started on some of the Y pool crowd. Most fish can be taken on 5x or stronger on the Swift once in blue moon you might have to drop down to 6x on a #22 or 24 fly but good limp 5x often is all that is needed. You can play fish on the 5x in half the time and even if you lose him so what (I didn't get the memo on mandatory selfies). If I am in a situation with any trout at any time and im not within a minute of landing the fish after 3-4 minutes I go hard and start horsing the fish in-I know at that point I'll probably break it off but I'd rather do that than needlessly kill a fish. If you have the fish on for a minute or two you have "caught him" its ok to break him off at that point. Other than playing a fish quickly I try to not handle fish anymore. I fish 90% barbless or pinched hooks if I get a fish in I reach for the fly with either my fingers, forceps or one of those ketchum release tools which actually work pretty good; if its in his jaw its an easy twist and its out. If the fly has gone deep I do handle the fish long enough to extract the hook but no more(the ketchum tool works pretty good for this situation). If you want a pick keep the fish in the makes a huge difference.

Bob_B said...

Dead 12 inch Brookie in the weeds just upstream of the Cady sign yesterday as well. I also noticed quite a few "new" folks fishing the Pipe area on Friday, which in itself is not a bad thing, but they may be unaware of how heavily it's fished.

Millers River Flyfisher said...


Well said!


You are totally right on tippet size. 5X will get it done without tiring the fish out.


Hopefully your dead brookie was the one that I found yesterday morning about 150 yards above the Cady Lane sign.


Anonymous said...

I have seen the battling brown behavior a number of in the fall times on the Farmington. I always assumed it was related to spawning.

Michael from Winchester

Parachute Adams said...

A shame about the dead trout, Ken. I leave them in the net and many times the barbless hook falls out on its own, if not it's easy to get out most times with forceps. At that time if I want to take a pick I will, but don't touch the trout, opting to leave it in the net for the quick release.


Hibernation said...

Interesting on the tippet comments above. years ago I never went below 6x. Then I started listening to people and would fish 7-8X becuase "you have to to reduce micro drag or the fish seeing the tippet". The last couple years I've been 5-6x on everything from midges to hoppers. I can really lay into fish, and land them fairly fast - WAY faster than 7-8x. I dont know if it's due to the leader being fluro or just better quality today than in the past... but 5-6x work just as well on the swift for me as smaller, and fish landing is SO much easier.

Dave said...

Be mindful. Be present when the fish is caught. Make a mental image. Leave the camera at home. The Facebook post you plan to make or the bragging to your buddies isnt more important than the health of a beautiful fish landed. Just my two cents. Leave them in water. Release them quickly with the net between the fish and your hand as you suggested ken.


Millers River Flyfisher said...


I agree! Go back to my July 8, 2015 post on this subject of tippet size. There were fly fishers who mentioned that they use 5x on sizes 28 flies tied on large eye hooks and catch trout. It was funny but some folks got upset that we exposed "conventional wisdom" (tiny tippets) as unnecessary. 5 and 6x work for me 95% of the time on the Swift.


I've seen people take selfies of themselves and the fish!!!


Thank you!


Francesco Pellizzari said...

Got rained out at the Swift. Awesome.....the dishes need the water......more than I need to fish.

Millers River Flyfisher said...


I was at Bonesville at 7am and did well with dries until it got dark. Made it out in time and saw two trees down on Rt. 9 blocking traffic. Went home and cleaned up all of the branches that hit the yard and then seeded and fertilized the lawn (good time to do it with the rain). Now I'm cooking ribs and watching the NFL! Fall is here!!!


P.S. All were brookies in early spawning colors!!!

Francesco Pellizzari said...

Fishes not dishes....

Bill/Tully said...

Twice stepped on/broken/repaired tenkara rod brought a nice brookie, brown and rainbow to net this afternoon on a quiet Swift. Best day for me yet on the Swift. Face was sore from smiling all the way up Rte. 202 home.

Parachute Adams said...

Anytime one is cooking ribs and watching football is a good day. Sox had a good road trip too going 6-3 and are two games up in first place. This stands to be a mighty fine autumn. Regards, Sam

Millers River Flyfisher said...


I hate my spell checker too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Not your rod I hope. I've repaired two tenkara rods with no decline in performance.


Ribs were great, the Sox are great and let's see what the Patriots give us tonight. I didn't buy a Jeep PATRIOT for nothing!!!!!!!