Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Seldom Fished Places On The Millers And the "Meatball" Proves It's Worth

"The best time to go fishing is when you can get away" - Robert Traver

10/20 update - the annual lake Tully drawdown has started and is adding another 20 cfs to the flow of the lower Millers. Coupled with more flows coming out of Winchendon we can expect decent flow conditions on the Millers this weekend.

When I take clients to any river, especially the Millers, I make a point to show them many stretches that are not frequented by the hordes but are out of the way where one can fish alone or with a friend without feeling "a little crowded out" which seems to be a condition that my clients want to avoid. Some anglers like the crowd atmosphere where the talk is non-stop while others want to avoid it. One VERY GOOD fly fisher and fly tier said he avoids crowded areas because people can't SHUT UP!!

There is one spot on the Millers that my clients will recognize. At 250 cfs, when the rest of the Millers is peaceful and easily waded, this place is a raging torrent that cannot be fished without a wading staff. At below 200 cfs it comes into it's own as a sunken or dry fly stretch and both methods work very well. Late Tuesday afternoon I knew the flow would be PERFECT and it was time to work out a fly I wanted to introduce to the Millers - The Meatball!

My post on July 11, 2016 spoke of this fly and how it just seemed to take brookies and browns on the Swift down around Cady Lane. At the time I said that I wanted to get this fly on the Millers as soon as this river had water. It took three months but better late than never.

The Meatball is a fluffy, full fly when dry but slim when wet. Its marabou pulsates in the current as does the veil of partridge over the thorax. Very fishy!!!

The results - the test lasted 1.5 hours and 10 big bows took this fly fished DEEP with a micro shot placed 20 inches above the fly. I also lost a few but the trout liked it. What does it imitate? A big stonefly nymph, a damselfly nymph, maybe a leech (don't forget about leeches). Maybe it just looks good to eat!!

The air temperature was 76 at the start and the water temperature was 60. It is October.


tincup said...

ken as always a great pattern I think you introduce this years before because I read and tied many of your flies years ago during my hip recovery. I tie it from size 10 up to 8 on both nymphs and streamer hooks. What I do is use the grey rabbit on the hook shank with longer rabbit or light deer cheek hair. I wrap a thin gold or silver tinsel on the grey rabbit. Before I top dress the fly zonnker style. I think the big plus is the green peacock head. As always thanks for sharing. Bowhunting has started hopefully will see you on the rivers before u head south but if not we will fish again next year in the salt. A 18lb on the fly best for the yr an 38lb on an eel was best for salt. Sad day boat winterized. SO GLAD THEY stocked the millers for u guys to take the pressure off the swift brookies.

Anonymous said...

Ken, im glad you re posted some info on the meatball because it reminded me that I wanted to tie a the last few years my brother Brian has become very successful with a marabou leech pattern he ties wich can be fished on a dead drift, swung or stripped. I think the meatball looks like it could fall into this versatile category as well. Ive been slowly evolving into a wet fly fisherman over the past two seasons, im terrible at nymphing and because of that I would fish almost exclusively dries...this works on the swift but the millers and rivers of the like taught me how effective swinging flies can be, it is gracefully methodic like dry flys and 10x more fish cant beat that!

Paul Fay

Millers River Flyfisher said...


Marabou = leech in my book. Don't knock yourself about nymphing because it's easier than you think. In fact it's so easy it's boring. I swing flies but will nymph a stretch that is up close to me. Fishing the Millers it's 80% drift/swing and 20% nymphing.

Tincup (Bob),

You should come out here to the Millers!!


Anonymous said...


It would be really great if we could get another two months on the Millers especially after the drought this summer.


Nathan Drawbridge said...

Almost looks like gartside soft hackle streamer

Millers River Flyfisher said...


I think I was channeling Gartside. Very close to his Sparrow

Len said...

This message is for Bruce, who I met in the parking lot. I fished from 10:30 to 3:30 and ended up with w browns and 1 rainbow. There wasn't much in the way of rises or bugs, so I fished a beadhead woolybugger in likely spots. Also got 4 or 5 fallfish. Around 330 some rises started near the bridge, but by then my fishing day was over. Nice chatting with you. Len

Brk Trt said...

Ken, kudos on your last two posts.
The flies you featured are fish takers.

Although I have no experience with the Meatball that will soon change.

Bruce said...


I landed a couple of beautiful rainbows in the spot I talked about after leaving your spot. I lost several more while admiring the beauty of the Millers! I was swinging some tan soft hackles with a shot to get the flies down. There were a few bugs on the water but not much. I saw a few rises. Memorize Ken's advice about flies and techniques for that stretch of the river. He knows his stuff!
Ken, thank you for a great talk at Charlie's place last winter. I sat next to you and learned a lot. Thank you for a great blog! I love the Millers.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the reports on the Millers, and the descriptions of flies too. This winter may be time for me to get more serious about tying my own arsenal - appreciated.

Thought I would also offer an update on the state stocking of the Westfield River recently:

Made an exploratory and annual Fall trip to the Westfield River behind Tekoa CC this past week. Every year in the Fall they have stocked some very, very nice Bows there in a particular stretch behind the golf course. Of course I hit that site hard this past week, and nothing! No trout, no smallies, no dace, not even any stray golf balls there (OK I keep the Titleist Pro V1's and toss the others back near the course, I believe in partial C&R for golf balls....).

I was very surprised, and figured the state didn't stock that stretch since it was low (usually wadable to mid-thigh depth, this year much less but could have held trout). So I headed back to the car. On the way saw a nice run right near the bank, probably all of 15 yards in length and width of 5 yards or so, with the rest of the river either dry or low-ankle deep. Heard a couple of plops, which in the past few weeks usually came from acorns dropping into the water. But it seemed different so I went to the river to see.... and saw dozens upon dozens of Bows cruising the pool, chasing each other, and surfacing to eat anything resembling food (I think). Mother Lode!

Waded across river and had a blast in this stretch. As we all know recent Stockbows (as we lovingly sometimes call them...) will hit anything, and they did. Not even worth describing techniques or flies, as it was all too easy, yet fun and all were released except the annual one-time Fall harvest of 3 for the grill. Fish ranged from 12" to a few better than 16"...

The sad part - there's NO place these fish could have moved out of this pool, and a small pool it is. Dry rocks and less than ankle deep trickles. So I haven't posted about this until today - as the rain we have now and are getting into tomorrow will indeed raise this river enough to let the Bows move around and spread out finally. And they will I believe. There is a long stretch of very nice water there, once the river is back to a decent level (which doesn't take long with heavy rains).

It was like fishing in your own backyard pool for many dozens of trout, but that should change after today, thankfully.