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.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The New Orange, The Millers Flow, The Swift And Heavier Tippet

"People who claim to own fishing dogs are all blinded by love. There's no such thing as a good fishing dog. Most are retrievers who think they can do to a trout what they've been trained to do to ducks. It may sound cute, but it's not. Stay away from people who take dogs fishing." - John Gierach

The Partridge and Orange is a Fall staple especially on the Swift. I will tie hundreds of these for my clients, myself and for a customer or three. Imagine my surprise when I realized that the two inches of thread (kevlar0 left on the spool was all that I had, the spare spool was a figment of my imagination! Now, I had some hot orange but it created a day glow creature that was light years away from this great English pattern. (I do have standards!!)

Then I found a forgotten spool of 3/0 monocord that had a odd shade of orange. It was on the "light" side of orange and still produced that waxy finish that I like for SH bodies. So I tied up a dozen and every trout in the river wanted them!!! Normally I don't put a lot of emphasis on shades of color but this was different. Maybe they hadn't seen it before and didn't associated it with being caught. No, they were not curious as someone on the web tried to claim. Trout are not curious!!!

BTW, I received nothing from Danville for this product plug!!

The Millers - Last week I wrote that the flows on the Millers were going crazy with 200 cfs changes twice a day. As soon as I published the blog post THE FLOWS SETTLED DOWN!!! It's basically stayed within the 200-300 range with just little "bumps" during the day. Coincidence?? Maybe or maybe not. In any event I would fish this river while the flows are good. Very early morning starts are not necessary. Prime time will be after 10 am till sundown which should be the warmest times of the day for the air and the water.

The Swift - It's amazing to look at 40 to 60 brook trout working the spawning beds and then trying to entice the bows into striking. It's amazing to see people walk through spawning gravel too. Stay in the weeds guys.

As far as the Swift goes look for ANY set of riffles and you will find trout, period. Now's a good time to do some exploring instead of hitting the same old spots.

15 months ago I wrote about the value of 5X on the Swift river and how it allowed for a shorter battle with fewer exhausted trout and no evidence of leader spooked fish on sunken flies. Readers talked about 5X used with size 28-30 flies and having good catches.

A few of us have pushed the envelope a bit and have gone down to 4x. I've used this size with flies down to size 18 and have caught many fish. You should try it!!



Anonymous said...

Is the partridge and orange an attractor pattern or does it imitate a insect? Asking cause I have never seen any orange colored nymphs. Suppose it really doesn't matter as long as it works!

Millers River Flyfisher said...


Most nymphs are dark colored on the top and light on the bottom. That light bottom can be yellowish, beige, olive, etc. I've seen what appeared to be yellow bottoms that had a hint of pink or pale orange to them (sulphur nymphs on the Swift). In any event the Partridge and Orange works!


Ross said...

This is my first comment on here after reading this blog for awhile, and let me start with saying Thank you Ken for all of the information you share with your readers. As a new fly fisherman I've learned quite a bit and have to credit some of the success I've had on the Swift from reading your blog, as well as some other fisherman I've come across while exploring. There are some great people out here!

I wanted to comment, specifically on the heavier tippet thought. Yesterday late morning in the Pipe area (above and just below) I had 3 of my 5x tippets break off due to some monster 'bows putting up a fight that I just couldn't handle. I'm sure part of it was due to my inexperience of landing a big, fighting fish. But after 3 break offs, I switched to a 4x and then none seemed to want anything to do with my flys (was using a Hornberg sz10).

lenny tamule said...

You don't need to wade to swing :)


BobT said...

One key about fishing heavier tippet which I do almost all the time.3X.4X or 5X is that as you go heavier you might have to go a little longer...the reason being is the heavier the tippet the stiffer it is for an equal length. To get the natural drift you may be trying to achieve may require lengthening the tippet 25%-50% or more each change in size. If you are swinging flies on a tight line its almost never a problem but dry fly and some nymph fishing presentations are susceptible to drag-so you have to adapt. I was fishing in MT early October and and was using 4X & 5x exclusively for a wicked BWO hatch (#22-#24) that was happening my whole week there. On the Madison it was 4x and to get a decent drift we were doubling the tippet length from 5X. The big ones rising were always close to an escape route to fast water and once that happened if you weren't on 4X your landing percentage probably went down 75%. The smaller fish taken on the Firehole were easily handled with 5x as the river is much slower flowing and the fish are smaller overall. We could have used 4X if need be but the new 5X (I've been using the Sci-Angler/Orvis this season) is very strong. The Madison is a different beast altogether and there was a possibility of landing BIG fish every day were were there.

BobT said...

..landing big fish isn't always hard(sometimes it truly is) if you follow a couple ideas...when you hook one get below it ASAP...if a big fish runs more than 35-40 feet from you in all but slow water your chances decrease immensely. Get the fish on the reel matters with big ones more than a 15" incher..your fingers cant do a smooth a job as a good click reel can do on the start of a run. if you know you are fishing to big fish plan for whats around(fallen trees, rocks, rapids, etc) and get an idea of what you can do to cut him off, get below and get close. Soft or moderate flex rods are better fish fighters and tippet protectors but I have used some very stiff rods and landed good sized fish. Above all else keep the fish out of fast water if possible. Alternating side pressure can get a fish ready to land rather quickly.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ken,
I am wondering about trout and curiosity. I am not trying to be a wise ass, but how do you know trout aren't curious? I would think most animals need a certain amount of curiosity to find different food sources and by this I mean some trial and error as they sample different things in the drift to determine whether or not these things are food.

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Bob T.

Very good advice. Thank you!


The 4x should not have made a difference especially with a #10 hornberg. Read Bob T's comments about 4x in this comments section.


Thank you for commenting. Trout do not have the mental horsepower to be "curious". That's for animals of a higher order. Moving 2 feet to the left to eat a nymph is not curiosity but just an elemental eating reaction. Everything is "food" if it can be swallowed and doesn't have a bad taste/smell. Trout don't make decisions although it appears that they "learn" through experience.

It's funny that they haven't figured out the hook on a fly yet.


Ross said...

Thanks Bob & Ken! I appreciate the info. I did have one that took off like a rocket downstream and gave me no chance to get below it. That's been a goal of mine once I set the hook, get below and let them come to me to take the stress off the line and the fish.

Hoping for better luck tomorrow!

Anonymous said...

This is a fly fishing psychology prof speaking. Curiosity and decision making are human terms, so hard to apply to trout. However, lower organisms will make rudimentary choices that we can call decision making - but obviously no costs and benefits analysis. Likewise a fishes tendency to look up to the surface for anything vaguely food like can be termed curiosity, I have pretty much the same curiosity myself at the food store. Fish may exhibit other exploratory behavior too. Quite a lot of what humans do is what lower organisms do, but we can make it so very complicated. Exploratory behavior is a very common animal characteristic so it is not such a stretch to attribute it to fish.

Millers River Flyfisher said...


Not quite. "Curiosity and decision making are human terms" as you say and really only apply to humans. Trout apply their "wits" to eating, spawning and the avoidance to being eaten. Their movement to an object has only one objective, can I eat it. That's not curiosity but something very elemental and base. Humans are the sole owners of curiosity. That's why high primates like apes haven't figured out simple math yet.


Parachute Adams said...

Fly fishing for trout is more than the fishing. To my mind it is the thinking of how I will tie that next fly that will get the job done, learning how to present the fly and thinking how you'll do better next time.

As an aging 60+ fly fisherman, the sport fills my head as I can't wait for the next time I get out to try the flies I tie. Getting skunked is humbling, like what happened to me last evening, but I blame that on the leaves and sticks in the river. It is all worthwhile when I connect.

Just something about it that I love to no end.

Bob O said...

To Ross - about breakoffs and hornbergs...

I regularly land Swift chunkbows at/near the Pipe on 6x and 5x fluoro (5x is well over 4# test). I have on occasion foul hooked large fish. They typically react as you described, and eventually have broken me off as each bolted insistently up, down or across stream. Because of hook placement, they can have develop leverage advantage allowing them to overcome the tippet breaking point. You should have little trouble landing a fairly hooked fish on 4x.

Another factor that can contribute to break off is the terminal knot. Certain knot types greatly compromise tippets by lowering the breaking strength. I use a Davy knot. It a simple tie with good strength. It's always good to add a bit of spit to lubricate while tightening.

Finally, I often experience taking fish for a number of drifts, only to have the fly draw no further interest. My remedy is to change the offering. After fishing over the same fish/area for some time to no avail, a change of flies will often draw immediate results. Don't be afraid to go on to #2 when #1 stops working. Especially if you know your water holds fish. The fact the fish shut off with your tippet change could simply have been they were bored with the same old hornberg.


Anonymous said...


Was down at the millers in wendell yesterday, fishing to the west of the trestles. Was nice, met Vinnie and a friend of his. None of us did anything. Think we were too early, as I had to leave by noonish, so I don't think the sun had warmed the water up enough. Water looked good, just no joy. Stopped to look at Orcutt, was empty. But water looked real good compared to a couple of weeks ago. Season seems to be winding down. I'm not ready to put the rods up yet, how much longer is the miller fishable?


Millers River Flyfisher said...

Bob O and Bob T,

Both Bob O and Bob T nailed it when it came to the best advice dealing with tippets, knots and the occasional foul hooked fish. I could not of said it better. THANK YOU!

Sam, You and I think alike. You GET the essence of what it's all about and someday we will meet!


Millers River Flyfisher said...


A warm day will make the Millers sing as long as the flow is below 300cfs. Friday was cold and windy and we had a lot of short hits and didn't catch trout until we put on a mop fly. The flow is still jumping 50 cfs every three hours ( not like last week when it would jump 200 cfs twice a day) and that effects trout feeding. The trout are there but it will be difficult.


Parachute Adams said...

I look forward to meeting up with you, Ken. I like fishing the unpopular spots and will always be that way. Next spring you will be hearing from me for your guide service relative to the area below Cady Lane. Meant to do it this season, but ran out of time with work and such. Thanks for the knowledge you share on this blog site and the fly tying ideas.

Regards, Sam Williams

Unknown said...

As a relatively new fly fisherman, I have a question that this audience may be able to answer. I spent Sat morning on the East Branch hoping to explore this river and find a trout or two in the process. Water levels were low and that made the pools I fished clearer than ever. I could not spot any sign of fish, nor did my indicator, so my question is: under these river conditions, where do the trouts go? Are they all seeking shelter in really deep pools such as the one at the Inner Gourge? Do they stay put until night? Do they die or are they all captured by their predators? Maybe the easiest answer is that I need to work on my skills (and I will be looking for your services Ken next season); nonetheless I wonder what else may be going on under these circumnstances...
Thanks in advance for any reply on this question!


Millers River Flyfisher said...


A month ago the trout that were stocked (most of the spring trout may not have survived this brutal Summer) were found near stocking points but within a week they spread out to places where trout like to be: riffles, pools, runs, etc. Their numbers were small compared to Spring so they were harder to find. They encounter all of the obstacles that you mention but a number will survive to face Winter which is the greatest killer of trout in a freestone environment.

The EB has been great all Summer long for most of the last 10 years with 2010 and 2016 being the exceptions.