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.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

2016 - Rating The Rivers And Happy Thanksgiving!

"Bass fishermen watch Monday night football, drink beer, drive pickup trucks and prefer noisy women with big breasts. Trout fishermen watch MacNeil-Lehrer, drink white wine, drive foreign cars with passenger-side air bags and hardly think about women at all. This last characteristic may have something to do with the fact that trout fishermen spend most of their time immersed up to their thighs in ice cold water." - Author Unknown


It's time to rate the rivers for 2016. Some may say that all of the freestones should get a pass because of the drought but there were still two good months of fishing before the tap was turned off. We will include a fourth river in the mix this year and that is the Ware. With all things considered here we go:

4th Place - The EB of the Westfield. From first in 2015 to worst in 2016. Now, May and early June wasn't a bust but it was not up to what this river produced over the years. Things just seemed "off". Even the insects seemed in short supply. One could say that the EB was like a 300 hitter who then has a a 270 season. An ok season but not up to standard.

Things will change and most likely for the better in 2017.



3rd Place - The Ware River. Another drought victim but what a ride while it lasted!!! I had some good oldfashioned henderickson flyfishing in May and some good times swinging soft hackles in large runs all over the river. In fact, when I guide on the Ware we stop at various spots along the river and I can say that we were never skunked at any spot. Another plus is that I saw very few anglers on this river. I can hardly wait for 2017 especially the Summer on this river. Let's hope the river stays up.


2nd Place - The Millers River. This river may of had the best May and June that I've ever seen on this river and that includes over 30 years of fly fishing on it's waters. The drought killed it but the flow rebounded in October and the fishing has been GREAT! If we had a normal summer the Millers would of made a real run for 1st place. Maybe next year.


1st Place - The Swift River. "Not fair" some may say but in 2015 this river came in third due to the horrible high water that lasted into May. It's not always in first place but this year it was. Even if we only counted May and June to level the playing field this river made the grade. It is now recognized that this river fishes the best in the Fall for those wonderful brook trout. We are lucky to have a tailwater in our backyard!!

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!!

Ken








25 comments:

Bill/Tully said...

Two years ago, you were the one who eased me into the pleasures of fly fishing. Before that day on the Swift, I could not understand why anyone would fish at all. Later, I knew something had clicked when I would willingly spend 5-6 hours standing in the Swift and smiling. And maybe catching a fish. Beautiful. Your blog and the information it provides have helped me scratch the surface of fishing. I see the W Mass. area with a new light now. Thanks for planting the seed.

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Bill,

Thank You!!!

Ken

Anonymous said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you and family Ken. Appreciate all the thankless work you do on this Blog and freely given advice. It's helped my fly fishing style go from "ham & egger" to at least "steak and egger" -- with much more to enthusiastically learn...

Jim

Anonymous said...

Ken,

I fished the Swift on Sat both below & above Rte 9. As you said in your blog the fish were everywhere. Small SH's brought several brookies from 4" to 15" to net. Lost a big 'bow beneath the fallen trees at the bench above Rte 9. Capped the day with a 20"+ brown in the long run well below the horse farm. Big, thick fish that barely fit in the net. Between catching that brown and exiting the river I somehow lost my phone. Usually keep it inside my waders but in a hurry just put it in my shirt pocket and paid the price with lost pics of the day's fish.
Ran into a young man from Indiana doing his PhD in wildlife management at UMASS. He had never fished the Swift before but also had a nice day catching a large bow & several brookies. Nice time chatting with him.
Saw one spin caster below Rte 9. Really need to make the entire Swift FF only. Happy Thanksgiving.

Gary Kolanda

lenny tamule said...

Gary,

You ran into Joe Drake. I brought him out to the swift one day. He had Fly fished before but never in rivers. Within 30 minutes he was bringing in bows and brookies without an indicator. He's a natural and fun to fish with.

Lenny

Robert Bolivar said...

Ken,

Thank you for the Blog and the conversations along the riverside. I can honestly say that because of the knowledge that you and your readers share, I'm a better fisherman, fly tyer and conservationist.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Falsecast said...

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone on this blog!

Ken- I guess the real 2016 loser was the Squannakook that you were thinking of adding to your blog this year. It had a very short spring and then went to a trickle...still is.
-Andrew

Bob O said...

Thanks Ken for such good reading and tips throughout the years. Happy Thanksgiving.

Parachute Adams said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you, Ken, and all the fellow posters as well. I appreciate all the knowledge and insights shared on this blog site.

Regards, Sam

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Andrew (Falsecast),

I wanted to cover the Squannie but but it was just the wrong year. It never even got a Fall stocking!! This drought has been going on for over a year and we will need a snowy Winter and a wet Summer to recover.

Ken

Millers River Flyfisher said...

To All,

Have a very happy and wonderful Thanksgiving! I appreciate all of the great comments that you post and appreciate the tens of thousands of page views that this site gets on a monthly basis.

Keep it coming because it adds to the community that IS Massachusetts Fly Fishing.

No secrets here, just where to go, what to expect on our favorite rivers and what to use.

My Best,

Ken

JohnC said...

Hi, Ken - I don't have a handle, but wanted to take the time to thank you for your work. I read your blog religiously, and always before I head out. The last two Falls on the Swift have been nothing short of spectacular. If the number and size of the brook trout continue, it seems to me that it may become one of the great trout stories in Northeast. Additionally, I have seen some huge trout in the Swift this year... from the two foot brown that sits down in Katy lane, to a 20" brown I saw taken this fall way up above the pipe, to the numerous, thick 14-16 inch rainbows.
Many thanks ... and Happy Thanksgiving - John C.

Anonymous said...

Ken

Always good talking to you on the river. FWIW, we fished the squanni last weekend for only about an hour. It was warm saturday afternoon and I didn't feel like the 1 1/2hr drive out to the millers, so I took a friend to show him the squanni. Didn't expect any fish after the summer we had. I took the pool upstream and gave the good pool and some wb's to my friend. It was his first time there, so I was hoping we'd find something after the river had been low all summer. My hunch was right that the fish might hold over in the deep pools, as my friend got a nice bow on my black bead head wb. Bad news was shortly after he got the bow he stepped in a hole that was well over his head. Called it a day to get him warmed up but he had a smile on his face that helped.

have a good thanksgiving, maybe i'll see you down on the millers before it gets too cold (for me)
best
Joe

BobT said...

I was fortunate to have a chance to fish the Swift on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving 9-2pm. Most every fly fisherman in the area had the same idea I think. I haven't seen it this packed in awhile below rte 9. Great day a little chilly but the fish didn't mind. I got several including a nice brown on a wet fly(a bland grey one with blue dun hackle and tail or a partridge and orange) or a tiny marabou muddler. The small brookies broke up what could have been several good presentations to better fish by intercepting my fly before it reached the target but I'm ok with that; Casting is always tricky down here but a relatively good presentation in front of a trout ended up in a strike more often than not. Glad I got a few hours in, its been a month hope you all have a great Thanksgiving and a lot more strikes before next year. FYI I was using 3x all day...more as an experiment to see if there was any issues but I honestly dont think it made one bit of difference. I had a 2-3ft tippet at the end of a 1x leader. It worked fine.

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Bob T,

Way to go with the 3X!!!!!

Ken

Parachute Adams said...

Ken,

I started going through your archives of early posts on this blog and they are great. I have some good winter reading ahead of me that is for sure. I saw one fly that you wrote about, Kim's Special, that I have to tie up a few of.

I fished the Bondsville section today, but had little action. Saw one other fella briefly, but he was in a hurry and didn't want to talk about how he was doing.

Sam

BobT said...

Hi Ken- I thought I'd chime in yet again while the subject of leader size- the right combinations sometimes are the opposite of what a lot of guys might think-bigger tippet for surface/emerger/wet flies and smaller tippet for nymphs...I fished Thanksgiving morning on the Deerfield near my sister's place. I was tight line/Czech nymphing from 8-12 Noon using small nymphs, a #18 hare and copper(with a tungsten bead) was the anchor, and a #22-24 zebra or rs2 were dropped up the leader about 20". I haven't had a whole lot of time to practice this style of fishing this season but the flows and section of the river lent itself to it nicely so I abandoned wets for the day. I run a level leader for this type of fishing about 7-8 ft. I started with 5X nylon, I fooled a couple but was fishing water that should have put up more strikes and I was sure I wasn't always getting my bugs down so I cut off the 5X and ran about 8ft of 7x. This was hugely effective as I felt the tick of the bottom almost immediately and the strike count went up significantly. So there is an important and valid case to be made for 6x and 7x because flies sink a whole lot better with 20-30% less diameter in the leader/tippet. If I was running larger or heavier flies the 5x would have been fine. Another trick I put into practice after seeing someone on a You Tube mention it was to lift the rig and drift it with the current so there was zero tension and zero slack if that makes any sense...the idea is that if you pitch an un-tethered fly into the water it sinks like a rock no matter what the size or additional weight. In this technique you lift everything up so there is nothing impeding the flies descent. Anyhow I fooled around with it and I think I was getting the flies down a touch faster when I achieved this which gave me a slightly longer effective drift. Way too technical I know but if you aren't running lead weights on your nymph rigs and they aren't getting down...drop the tippet/leader diameter...it works.

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Sam,

That's an old Millers fly that does well on any fast water.

Bob T.

One could use micro shot without using finer tippet material. That would get your rig down.

Ken

Bob O said...

I've just finished a book called "Active Nymphing" by Rich Osthoff. He advocates overweighting (with splitshot) the tippet to drop immediately into fast pocket water and down over the steep the lip at the head of a pool. With weight, tippet size becomes moot. He's into the "run and gun" style, covering as much water as possible, and appears to be quite successful. Lots of other good tips as well - many are applicable to Eurostyle. I recommend it.

The Eye on Harvard said...

Thank you Ken (and all those who comment) for supporting us newcomers in discovering how to be successful in fly-fishing Massachusetts rivers. I've only been on the fly for 5 years now and I would easily say my success in connecting with fish on a range of rivers can be attributed to this blog. The archives alone are a treasure trove of information about how, where and when to fish such a long river like the Millers. Same goes for the Swift and how to be successful with the change of seasons. I'll second Joe's comment that it was a tough year for the Squannacook, but I'd have to say the river to watch is the Quinnapoxet, with its native brookies and the prospects of an impending dam removal where it empties into the Wachusett Reservoir. Word is that the feasibility study is in its final review before the NWRA will seek grants and other funding for its removal. Once that dam goes its going to be an incredible river again.

Paul Narreau said...

Never see the Deerfield mentioned? It has some great fishing and ( big) beautiful fish.

BobT said...

Very true Ken. I have no problem with that-I've been in experimental mode lately I guess and I wanted to have as little between the rod and bite-the mild dead spot a shot or two creates probably lessens the strike detection rate. The new mono is pretty darn strong, I'm using the SciAngler-Orvis mono and it is holding up great- I'm not afraid of losing fish at this point in my life so I don't mess around playing them. I've lost more fish this season on a bad batch of Daiichi hooks that have been opening up on me...I had it happen at the Swift on Wednesday on a nice fish. I've been playing around with Mustads again after a long hiatus and liking them. They don't have as many varieties as either Tiemco or Daiichi but they seem to be of excellent quality

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Bob O,
I'll check out the Osthoff book but I don't know about the "run and gun" style. I cover a stretch of water like I'm a member of a forensic crime team. REAL SLOW!

Bob T,

Keep experimenting!!! There's nothing worse than dogma and truisms. Hooks - Mustad or Mustad style hooks have been my standard meat and potatoes hook for decades. Below size 20 I go in a different direction. When I say "Mustad style" I mean the Saber hooks from Fly Shack. At 7.00 p/hundred I first thought they would be junk but they get the job done. Their barbless hooks are perfect with a dark finish and the same price as the barbed hooks. I like mono too but will admit that fluoro rolls out on the cast better but there's no disadvantage to using mono other than that.

Eye,

I heard a year ago that the $$ for the dam removal was secured but some environmental hoops still had to be jumped through. It may make a fine salmon river!

Paul,

I don't cover the Deerfield.

Ken

BobT said...

I plan on it. I hope to discover the "secret" some day! I've read both books by Osthoff and I enjoyed them greatly and they have quite a bit of valuable information. I will check out the Saber hooks. I'm a tad leery of "house"branded hooks as I've had some troubles with a few batches. The Mustads are super cheap compared to TMC or Daiichi and if you are looking for "standard" dry, wet, nymph and streamer hooks they are great so far. I'll stay with TMC on the sum #18 flies going forward. I have never had a bad hook from them. I stopped fishing flouro a couple years ago when I found out it takes like 15,000 years to degrade vs 1500 years for mono...it probably matters very little in the scheme of the topic of being an environmentalist but I guess I have to draw the line somewhere. FYI I used to use the Pline Halo flouro in the big spool. It was about $10 for 300 yds in 6lb or 4lb test which was about3x or 4x. It was very consistent and strong. I think they also have a lighter test but never saw the need. I have not looked around much for bulk mono spools as the cost is negligible. Keep up the great work Ken!

lenny tamule said...

I can advocate for the saber hooks Ken mentioned. They're all I use and haven't had a problem bending. They held strong against steelhead this weekend.

Lenny