Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

Friday, December 30, 2016

A Phone Number, Buzzers, Fly Fishing Regulations And Happy New Year

"Maybe there's a stretch of beaver ponds or a half dozen bend pools across a little meadow or a headwater lake or two. All of that on a little stream that few people fish because it doesn't look all that good from the road and because they probably never heard of it before. Believe it or not, some fishermen only fish streams about which books are written." John Gierach, Fly Fishing Small Streams

So, I got this email from someone who says "I'll wipe the pipe out like I did last year". That's why I've posted the Environmental Police number at the upper right side of this blog. Put it in your phone and drop a line if you see something suspicious. What's suspicious? More than 3 fish in possession on a single day is more than suspicious. It's against the law! Seeing someone walking back to the car with three fish and then returning to catch and keep more is suspicious. Another fish on the stringer and we have an illegal act. Don't confront, just make a call and they do respond.

Buzzers - The English term for gnats and such and they've become part of my arsenal over the last two seasons. Davie MacPhail ties a neat buzzer but I've reduced the fly down to basic elements because I am a minimalist by nature AND I like tying lots of flies FAST.

HOOK - Scud hooks from size 14 through 20

BODY - You can go with stripped peacock (slower to tie and more fragile) or some 140 denier thread in either dark olive, black or brown.

RIB - fine copper wire

WING PAD - Here is the secret sauce for this pattern. I use Orange kevlar which I also use on my Partridge and Orange Soft hackles. It has a nice shiny, waxy look to it and mimics the budding wing pads of many gnat species which seem to have a orange shade to them. Now, McPhail ties orange gills on the underside of the thorax which really isn't necessary IMO. This fly, like all subsurface flies, tumbles in the current and Mr. Trout probably doesn't care if the orange is on the top or the bottom.

Coating - I don't use the UV stuff which I believe catches more fishermen than fish. I will use Sally Hensen's Hard as Nails on the quill bodies if I remember. It doesn't seem to make much of a difference.

Where to fish it - The Swift, of course, from the Bubbler arm (great spot) and below the Pipe. The Pipe flow is loaded with these critters and this fly has worked for me. The Millers is full of this type of insect and there are times when they exhibit something called "behavioral drift" where the entire population will begin to drift downstream just under the surface with trout in pursuit. The smart money says they're rising to buzzers!!

Fly Fishing Only Regulations - The Massachusetts DFW page concerning the Swift River (above RT 9) and a portion of the Nissitissit River defines fly fishing as using a "conventional fly rod and fly line". This is good as it eliminates those who fish with a spinning rod, a bobber and a drifting nymph and still claim to be fly fishing but it also eliminates Tenkara fishing because that rod and line set up are not "conventional" fly fishing equipment in the spirit of the law. Now, what if you have a fly rod, a fly reel, fly line and 40 feet of mono and have no intention of putting that fly line into play? Technically you are legal because you have a "conventional" fly line in possession even if it never gets wet. This style of fishing seems very much like mid west "Noodle Rod" fishing: 12 ft soft rods attached to large capacity fly reels that are loaded with 20lb mono (no fly line) which are then used to toss out strike indicators fished over everything from bait to actual flies. Noodle rod fishing is never confused with fly fishing!!

I would be inclined to issue a pass to Tenkara simply because it's aim is to simplify our sport which has a tendency to become overrun with equipment junkies and method madmen. It's good to take a Tenkara break every now and then and reset yourself. You can also catch a lot of trout this way!!!

A year or so ago I experimented with 30+ foot leaders and thought they were novelty that worked well when conditions were good and didn't work well when conditions sucked. I then realized that my Tenkara rod could do the same thing so I went back to conventional equipment and feel good about it. Now, if I could only attach a fly reel to a Tenkara rod.........




Johnson From Accounting said...

Ken, tenkara is considered fly fishing in most states. NH is a noted exception. Please take a look at the regulations section of the Tenkara USA forums. Here are several threads regarding MA:

Millers River Flyfisher said...


I'm aware of the situation in NH but I was pointing out the wording of the law in Massachusetts.(I believe that NH requires a fly reel also).

Of course Tenkara is legal in Massachusetts and I never said it wasn't. It may not be legal in fly fishing only waters the way that the laws are worded.


Millers River Flyfisher said...


I like it when the environmental police enforce laws and not interrupt them. I once got two different answers from two different officers regarding a duplicate license was actually a license. I think the F&W Board should make a ruling as done elsewhere.


Johnson From Accounting said...

Let me rephrase for the sake of clarity; tenkara is considered fly fishing as it pertains to fly fishing only waters in most states. Answering the question of use in fly fishing only waters is the purpose of the regulations section of the forum I linked above. Currently NH and Washington are the only states where one cannot fish tenkara in fly fishing designated sections, and it appears the regulations are in the process of changing in Washington. This is a non issue.

Hibernation said...

Always good to see your updates. Happy New Year! Buzzers are great. I love Davie McPhail. Many ideas for new patterns (to me) which is just fun to play with... But I'm with you, while his flies work awesome, I think simplifying is not going to challenge the flies function.

That said, Ill go with my UV Resin over sally's, fusion, good old epoxy or other thing. Just so easy to control and fast to cure, never yellows etc. They all work, and certainly the fish wont care... I just find the speed and control it allows me to tie with is so fantastic that it's worth it.

If you have not tried it, another option is to just touch your buzzers "thorax" with hot orange/red/pink or what not nail polish. Sally's has one that dries super fast, and then your buzzer is literally thread, maybe rib, and done. Ill hit em with UV, cure it, tiny drop of colored polish, stick it in a dunk's cup and do another. Once I get 4-6 done, I go back to the first one, add a smidge more UV cure over the colored polish and its basically indestructible.

Just a different strategy than you described - no better or worse, but may be worth considering...

Keep well - hope to meet you on the river this winter!

Millers River Flyfisher said...


It's not a non issue in NH. They, at this time, are clear about it. Washington is clarifying the issue by putting it in legal black and white. Massachusetts should do the same. I agree with you that it should be legal in FLY FISHING ONLY sections but the LAW should state that to avoid confusion. Using words like "conventional" muddies the waters. That's all.


Good to hear from you again.

I agree that "simplifying is not going to change the flies function". That's why I simplify the tying of the fly. I've used UV, some other coatings or none at all and found no increase in my catch rate. I've tried colored "nail polish" but found that it didn't stand up so I use materials that do stand up. McPhail's coated flies look great but do they really make a difference? Most flies that I fish have no coatings and the colors are part of the materials that I use. I catch a lot of fish with these flies.


chris said...

I sometimes fly fish with my 1880's Landman fly rod of snakewood, My 1860's Orvis fly rod of lancewood, or my 1880's Leonard fly rod of Calcutta split cane. I have antique reels and silk lines for each. These are no longer conventional fly rods, but I''ll assume I'll get a "pass". I just found your site and I enjoy it very much. Thanks for sharing. Chris G.

Millers River Flyfisher said...


Those gems were considered fly rods in the 19th century and are considered fly rods now, just with different materials used. You just referred to the Orvis lancewood and the leanard Calcutta as "fly rods".

Really glad that you enjoy the blog.


Camilo Santana said...

Thanks for the great blog and I look forward to
reading and seeing you on the river in 2017!
Happy New Year and continued health and happiness.
- Cam Santana

Parachute Adams said...

Pretty ballsy of some one to email you to say they are going to wipe out a certain stretch of river. I wonder what motivates a person to write such an email, and who needs so much trout in their freezer for that matter? What a jackass.

Good ideas on flies as always, Ken. Been sick with the flu, but will be up to hitting the stream again soon. Have to remember to get a 2017 license online.


Brk Trt said...

Happy New Year Ken.

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Thank you Alan (Brk Trt). Let's hope that 2017 is a bit wetter than 2016