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.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Hendricksons Everyware, AN OPEN DATE, And A River Update

"There is no more anticipated event in all of eastern fly fishing than the Hendrickson hatch" Thomas Ames Jr. Hatch Guide for New England Streams
                                                                           Folks - I just got a cancellation for Friday, May 5th. First one who claims it gets it!!!!!!  Email Me!!!!!

You could see them before you made it to the river. Pulsing clouds of female Hendricksons, eggs sacs attached, all moving upstream and trout beginning to work the surface. This is what we live for unless we can't stop nymphing. It resulted in fish being caught on CDC emerger surface patterns and a brownish soft hackle that has a yellow egg sack on the tail. Expect the egg carrying females in the evening and newly hatched duns by early afternoon. I am confident that you will find this action all over the Ware.
Water levels are slowly dropping.


By now everywhere has been stocked and some streams have been dropping into the fishable zone except the Millers which is still above 700 cfs. There is some light at the end of the tunnel here because the flow in the Bears Den is only half the flow down in Erving. In short, almost every place is fishable!!!


You folks have made me a every busy guide this year = Thank You!! I still have some slots open from now through June so grab them up.

Ken





Monday, April 24, 2017

The Ware - What A difference A Day Makes


In early May, as the trees begin to leaf out, the first hatches of medium sized mayflies float skyward, led by the Quill Gordon and then, a few days later, the Hendricksons. Thomas Ames Jr. in Hatch Guide For New England Streams



Friday - the weather guys (bunnies) said that the temperatures would make it into the 50's. Try 45 for a high. We did well scoring a triple as far as trout species were concerned. Not a bad day but we expected more. No hatches to speak of.

Saturday - left our first location with my waders covered with Quill Gordon nymphs. After going upstream where we missed some hook ups we went back down to our first place (Church Street) where we ran into an epic hatch of Quill Gordans. My guy went back after we left but I don't have a report from him as of yet BUT the water was covered with freshly hatched dun. We did well before the hatch and after.

Now Sunday - Blue Bird clear skies which I HATE because there were flies on the water BUT nothing was rising. The flies on the water were less than the two previous cloudy days and the trout knew it. They rose to nothing. The few fly fishers that we met did nothing. The place is loaded with trout but they would not cooperate.

The BLAME - not technique, my clients was GOOD when it comes to presentation. A CLEAR blue Bird sky turns things off and that is it.



Note - we did find a few early Henderickons on Sunday. Watch the next few weeks!!

The Ware is prime time water for the early mayfly hatches. You have to see this if you have spent your fly fishing nymphing your brains out.  This is a different game that has been played for a hundred years.
Introduce your self to it.

Ken



Friday, April 21, 2017

The Sky Is Falling, Basic Truths And A Millers, Ware And Squannie Report


Some of us have short memories. Some of us always have to feel like we are always short changed. The basic fact is that the stocking this Spring is on an average pace with big rivers like the Millers getting into the game late because of high water. Did some of you FORGET the Spring of 2015 when everything was late? If you want something to worry about then travel back to 1987 when they STOPPED stocking the Millers or back to 2002 when they ceased stocking browns. It was a lot of work to get those decisions reversed.

Don't worry about it. Your favorite river will be stocked. You should go out and fish!!!

Will the Anonymous folks please keep the opinions down especially when it comes to river bashing. You haven't a chance of getting on this blog.

Here are some basic truths that appear to have been lost in the mix:

TRUE - Tenkara style fishing may be the most effective nymphing method ever devised.

TRUE - 5x and even 4x tippet can be used ANYWHERE on the Swift (or any tailwater) and will effectively catch trout with a subsurface fly. 7x or 8x is simply not needed with subsurface presentations.

TRUE - A 4 weight fly rod of 8 to 9 feet and of moderate action may be the perfect dry fly rod. You can cast large flies and the smallest flies without problems. You can beat a stiff wind with it or lay down a delicate cast on a calm glassy pool. Getting deep into the LOW numbers (0, 00, 000) will get you into the land of novelty rods with limited practical use.

True - Flex Seal fixes leaky waders!

Here's what Charlie at Evening Sun Fly Shop has to say:


The Squannacook River is running a bit high with clear fishable water.On 4/14/2017 the river was stocked from top to bottom with 2000 brook trout only, ranging in size from 10-13 inches.The fish are starting to take some bugs on the surface and with some soft hackles swung under the surface with a bit of weight on the leader.Retreiving some streamers is working well also,but with a somewhat slower retreive.By the time the sun gets on the water next week we should see some good hatches of Quill Gordons and the Red Quills won't be far behind.Come get "em before the Blue Herons do!!!!

Comment: Brookies only?????????????????????? Never saw that before!!

Fish the Ware River. We had double digit hookups and saw NO FLYFISHERS. We saw three spin fishers. Two of them caught and released their fish!!! What a place!!!!!

UPDATE - Well, the Millers has been stocked with a CFS of over 800 (Erving) and still rising.  BE VERY CAREFUL! Even placid Orcutt will be dangerous. At least it will move the fish around instead of having them stay put as when stocked in low flow conditions or when float stockers dump the majority in certain pools and then go back and fish for them latter. (that's the rumor that was given to me with a wink/wink, nod/nod.)

Ken






Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter, Tenkara On The MB And River Flows

"There is no more anticipated event in all of eastern fly fishing than the Hendrickson hatch, the first major hatch on many streams" - Thomas Ames Jr. in Hatch Guide For New England Streams



It was only 29 degrees at 6:45 am when I met Brad at the EB parking lot which was we planned to begin our assault on the Middle Branch of the Westfield, also known as the "MB". It may be, mile for mile, the most gorgeous river in Massachusetts that happens to have a paved road near it. It's also the perfect Tenkara river and those rods would be our tool of choice.


I might of just been in a retro mood when I tied on a size 12 Royal Coachman, the product of some daydreaming at the vise, and cast it upstream into a beautiful run. One cast led to another and another and in that first half hour that 40 degree water would give up anything. But then I noticed some insect activity followed by a hard hit. It then took three hits to finally connect, play out a fish and then release it. Brad got into the act with multiple hook ups and fish to his credit.


The bows were BIG, all 15 inches or better and probably too big for a stream like that. Strange, but no brookies were to be found.

We hopscotched up and down the MB for 5 or so hours and then called it a day. I'll be back again soon and will probably, for my own personal fishing, call the MB a "Tenkara Only" river!!

As most of you know our rivers, the Millers being an exception, are right in their historical averages. Some may think that the Farmington is high but this would only be the observation of someone with limited exposure to this river. The decades long averages show that the river flow is close to average BUT there may be a a long term problem on the horizon. The Still Water, a Farmie tributary, is flowing considerably lower than its 65 year median flow. Ditto for the West Branch of the Farmington in Massachusets which feeds the reservoir above our playground. The CFS is only 160 while the 103 YEAR MEDIAN FLOW IS 303!!! The devil is always in the details and the devil says we still have a drought!!  UpCountry says the river is very fishable.

Happy Easter!!!














Friday, April 14, 2017

Time To Fish - Do it!

The Ware River - No other blog can tell you about it!!

Now is the time. Most rivers and streams have been stocked (except for the Millers and and a few others as of 5/13, the Millers being way to high to stock) and the weather is going to be grand over the weekend into next week. The Ware has fish and we had them on but couldn't land them and the major and minor rivers in western Massachusetts got fish this week. The Squannacook and the Quinnie also got theirs. I'll be heading out west of the Connecticut River and fishing Williamsburg's Mill River and then hitting the MB of the Westfield the same day. I can't wait. Try to fish a place that is new to you and you will not regret the experience. For those that enjoy the thin blue line experience Try Willard Brook and Locke Brook in Ashby. I fished the latter 5 decades ago and caught native brookies in a very remote setting.

Try to fish this weekend. I saw hundreds of caddis on the Ware today!!!

Go Fish!!!

Ken




Monday, April 10, 2017

Pellet Fly Redux And A Good Strike Indicator


Don't be technique driven.  Just FISH!! It's more fun!  Me
I really don't like this fly BUT there are times on the Swift where it's the only thing that will work for that short 15 minute window when all hell breaks loose. Three years ago I wrote of another way to put these things together where that big, hard body allows enough hook gap to be effective. Here's a better way.

First - take a sewing needle and jab it into a piece of cork that will make the "pellet" AFTER you run 6 inches of 3x tippet through the eye of the needle.

Second - run the needle through the cork carrying the 3x through the cork. Take both ends of the 3x and tie TWO overhand knots to secure the cork to the 3x. (no glue required!

Third - Take the 3x with the cork fastened to it and tie it to the hook shank on both ends.

Fourth - cut off the loose ends and you are DONE. You have a Swift River God foresaken pellet fly that will have PLENTY of hook gap that many of the traditional flies do not have. Plus you can use this as an indicator below the pellet with small nymphs.

I had one old pellet fly with me Saturday far below the Pipe when the tail end of this "hatch" brought dozens of trout to the surface. I missed 3 that couldn't hook themselves before one broke it off. I needed a better fly!!!!

No real rain in sight for the week and temperatures in the 60's and 70's. Can you spell Quill Gordons and Hendricksons???? IT'S SPRING IN MASSACHUSETTS!!!

P.S. I like using the artificial cork found in many wine bottles. It cuts and shapes easily. Some of the wine isn't bad either!!!

Ken




Friday, April 7, 2017

April Downpours,This Weekend And Evening Trips

"If I only had fish to capture my fishing trips would have ended long ago. - Zane Grey



The Millers at 3510 cfs, the EB at 1220, Quinnie at 684, the Squannacook at 851, the Ware at 1230 AND THE SWIFT AT 54 CFS. Everything is at or near flood stage so where are you going to fish? One could hike down to the Farmie (like everyone else) or ply the ponds and lakes that are stocked and ready to go or hit the Swift. May I suggest that you pry yourself away from the usual haunts like the Pipe and the Y Pool and take a ride to Bondsville. This spot fished very well last year in the early Spring and any reasonable sunken fly will get it done. It's been stocked twice already so if you haven't put a bend in a fly rod this year then I would check out Bondsville.

As I write the Swift flow out of Quabbin is at 54 cfs while the flow coming in on the Swift's East Branch is over 400 cfs. With that and every brook and rill flowing into the "pond" Quabbin got over the 90% capacity level this past week. Good news but no safeguard against a bone crushing drought that could strike again. As I've said before I've seen wet, snowy winters turn into dry, dusty summers and no freestone stream needs that.


One of the most popular guided trips that I provide are my evening three hour trips. Want a good intro to a river that you can build upon? Are you tired of paying Montana/Colorado prices in Massachusetts? If the answer is "YES" then contact me. We have great trout fishing in Western and Central Ma and I guide on five of those river. Want to brush up on technique or are brand new to fly fishing? Just contact me!!

Ken


Monday, April 3, 2017

The Grouse And Flash and a River Update


"Things fishermen know about trout aren't facts but articles of faith" - John Gierach



Nick Yardley invented this fly, Thomas Ames sang its praises and it's been a staple with me for a decade. And like so many effective flies it is just dirt simple to tie. Yardley said that it is a great emerging caddis imitation but it works when caddis are nowhere to be seen.

hook - sizes 12 through 18

body - mylar from the bend wrapped forward to behind the eye

thorax - buggy olive material such as Australian possum

hackle - I use partridge instead of grouse (pretty much the same thing)

This has worked very well in sizes 16 through 18 on the Swift ALL SUMMER LONG!!!

The Rivers - we are going to get hammered with rain by mid week and that will raise the rivers for a few days. The Millers will take it's annual flood hit this weekend with that canoe race scheduled for Saturday April 8th. HINT - they start holding water back at the Birch Hill dam in Royalston by mid week to insure a flood release on Saturday which means that much of the river from Wednesday through Friday may actually be at BELOW NORMAL flow. Keep an eye on the flow gauge found on this site to be sure. It appears that the Winchendon section is the only spot stocked on this river so far and the DFW may wait until the race release is history before the rest of the river gets it's fish. Now it's a good time to check for holdovers.

Ken







Wednesday, March 29, 2017

I Hate March And Passing the Million Mark

March Madness does not apply to college basketball but to being house bound during miserable March weather.  - Ken Elmer


March sucks!! It bombs you with snow, teases you with a nice day or two and then dumps you into the deep freeze. Thats why I've been in Florida since March 1st. 70 and 80 degree days and lots of fishing. Snook, bluefish, Pompano, Spanish Mackerel all fell for the fly and made it to the grill. Lots of good micro breweries to stay hydrated on the warm days. Yes, I did check the weather for central Massachusetts. Not so nice it appears!!!

I will be back within 24 hours with plans to do it again next year!






Google says that this blog is approaching 1 MILLION page views but they made a mistake. They started counting in July of 2010 BUT this blog has been cranking since October 2007. So I did some counting and it appears that this blog passed 1 million in early 2016!!!! This is an achievement because the first two years were slim pickings because I was the only one covering Central/Western Ma. and there was no other blog to help build traffic. The truth is it's you folks who built the numbers and I appreciate it. Thank You!!!!!!

Still booking at a good pace and have a number of evening slots available.

Grab one!!

Ken



Friday, March 24, 2017

The Skinny On Low Water And Fish The Ware

"Quiet stretches of freestone streams and rivers always support at least modest populations of swimmer mayflies.  Swimmer nymphs also live in riffles. But they generally shelter in the spaces between rocks, in fast water, where trout need jackhammers to get at them.  Most species that live in riffles are small and it's rare that trout feed on them selectively in brisk water." - Dave Hughes, Handbook of Hatches





Every Spring we get the predictions on how our rivers will hold up through the summer. The Conventional Wisdom states that a snowy winter will insure good river flows into the summer. Well, it may help but it doesn't insure it. For the Millers I remember the winters of 2001/2002 and 1992/1993. Unbelievable amounts of snow followed by bone crushing drought by late spring that lasted into the Fall. It took the life out of that river. The opposite has happened too as late as 2007/2008 with a mild, dry winter followed by a very wet summer. How do we know what the State Of Our Rivers are right now and what ground(water) has to be made up because of this drought?

The answer is easy. Follow these steps:

1. Go to the USGS stream section of this blog and click on a river.

2. Go to the upper right corner of the page to the "geographic area" window and hit "Massachusetts".

You have just entered the state wide river flow map for this state. You will see many colored dots.
Black means a historically high flow,
Green means an average flow
Orange means a below normal flow
Red means a very low flow.

You can click the colored dots to bring you to the page for that river. Of REAL importance is the MEDIAN FLOW line graph. It's basically a record of the average daily flow measured over decades and in some cases over a hundred years!!! Click around to your favorite rivers and the thing that you will see is that the CURRENT FLOW is lower than the MEDIAN (historical) flow. (tailwaters don't usually fit this model). The short answer is that we need some wet YEARS to make things up and some wet summers to keep the rivers from getting too low and warm.

I check this state wide chart many times during the week because certain weather events can have results that are only local. A thunderstorm may cause your stream to overflow but not effect a river 10 miles away.


Here's a chance to fish a local river that's big enough to spend all day exploring, low enough to wade comfortably, seldom fished as everyone heads to the Swift and it just got stocked. Fish the Ware!!!!!
Here's a hint: Find the Airport!

Ken













Monday, March 20, 2017

Another Overlooked Stream

"Fly fishing isn't really about catching fish.  Fly casting is a great part of it, and in a sense a rod is like a baseball bat. If you hit the ball just right, you really nail it. It feels good.  You've found the sweet spot in the bat. A fly rod should deliver that kind of joy: the joy of casting" - Tom Dorsey, founder of Thomas & Thomas Rod Company

If you are a regular on the EB and head west to get there you have certainly passed that little jewel of a stream along Route 9 in Haydenville and Williamsburg. It's the Mill River and contrary to some sources it HOLDS TROUT through the entire Summer (I had to get that out of the way). Chances are you've only seen that small section along Route 9 just as many have only seen the Millers from a short section of Route 2. There is really so much more.

Let's compare it to a similar river. The Squannacook River, as I write this, is flowing at 87 cfs and has a decades old median flow for this date of 180 cfs. The Mill River is flowing at 63 cfs and it's median rate is 133. They are similar in size but let it be known that the Mill wasn't ravaged by last summers drought like the Squannacook was. It's trout made it through the entire summer.

Where do I fish it?? Get Google Maps and look up River Road in Haydenville/Northampton. That's all you need to know. April and May are perfect throughout the entire river with the slower, deeper pools holding trout through the heat of summer. Most of my trout have been taken with reliable comparaduns and with Tenkara presentations.

So if you still have a few casts left in that arm after a day on the EB stop and try the Mill River or just fish the Mill. You will have it to yourself no doubt!!!

I had to reprint the quote from Tom Dorsey of Thomas & Thomas fame after hearing more about "artificial bait fishing" (nymphing). As I wrote not too long ago if you are fishing with mostly mono beyond the rod tip you are probably not REALLY fly fishing but pulling a page from the stream bait fishers manual. It's the same style I used as a kid until I fell in love with the look and feel of an unfolding fly line. One gets the feeling that Dorsey has in mind those beautiful casting wands that he makes as opposed to butt heavy hinged weight throwers.

Just my opinion!

Ken



Thursday, March 16, 2017

Overlooked Spots - Erving Center On The Millers

"All of the romance of trout fishing exists in the mind of the angler and is in no way shared by the fish" - Harold Blaisdell


Ok, you know who you are. You probably have a copy of the Millers Fly Fishing Guide but you keep going to the same old spots: Rezendes, Orcutt Brook (especially Orcutt!) The Kempfield Section and that pretty much wraps it up. One of the BEST sections gets little or no attention and that is Erving Center which is on Arch Street and marks the end of the lower C&R section on the Millers.

I always make it a point to introduce new people to this section because it is just a great spot that has a few personality quirks of it's own. First, it's one of the narrowest sections on the Millers with a large hill guarding it's southern bank. It funnels the water into a fairly narrow space that makes for dangerous wading when most of the upper river is easily fished. 300 cfs is perfect everywhere else on the Millers but here it is a problem. This section fishes best at 250cfs and below which makes it a perfect early morning or evening location during the heat of Summer. BTW, the hill on the southern bank and a large tree canopy will shade much of this river through the dog days! Secondly, it's the best LATE SEASON spot on this river with catches right into December as long as the water is low enough.

This section has been my Mop Fly proving grounds this past season!!!!!


My best fishing has been from the bridge spanning the river DOWNSTREAM. This whole section can be reached by carefully wading/fishing downstream or just take the dirt road on the south bank down for a half mile or so. For those who need to know: the DFW stocks the entire length of this section.


So when Orcutt gets a bit sun stroked by the end of June head downstream and into the shade of Erving Center. It's a good decision!!

Don't worry about the snow. It will be gone in no time!!


Ken










Saturday, March 11, 2017

Sulphurs And The Swift



"I have fished through fishless days that I remember happily without regret" Roderick Haig-Brown

Photo by Thomas Ames, Jr.

It is the premier MAYFLY found on the Swift River and its June/mid July appearance is anticipated above all other mayflies including the hendricksons and the scattered BWO hatches. It's numbers can be astounding one year and just "GOOD" on another year but it rarely fails us.

Ephemerella Dorothea is the name that Thomas Ames uses and I do too although some may want to split hairs over WHICH sulphur is really hatching. Don't worry about it because the difference in the different species it too small to care about. Sizes 14 through 18 in standard dressings will get the job done.

The nymph of this species loves the riffles found in places like the riffles above the Gauge Run. There have been many June mornings where I've seen bankside spider webs LOADED with sulphur duns and spinners from the Gauge downstream. But the greatest numbers that I've seen are down in Bondsville. On a mid day last June every trout that I took was stuffed to the gills with sulphur nymphs yet they continued to chase my fly. My Fly?? A Partridge and Yellow or Partridge and Olive swung just below the surface was all that was needed.


Why would Bondsville have greater numbers of this insect (in my opinion) than the Route 9 area? The answer is that it has a good riffle environment and it has water that is a bit warmer and more fertile than the waters upstream. It's strange but Bondsville is always overlooked. A big mistake!!!

So they started stocking just in time for a Northeaster!!!!

Ken







Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Thin Blue Lines Vs. The Swift And Spring Time Flies

"All of my fly selections are filtered through my prejudices regarding imitation and fly tying. For example, there are few nymph patterns that incorporate beadheads. There's no denying that they work superbly, but I can never be sure if it isn't the bead rather than the pattern that attracts the fish". Thomas Ames Jr in Hatch Guide for New England Streams Note: the answer to Mr. Ames question can be found on my June 5 2016 post on the subject.


I used to play out this ritual nearly every Spring and that was to visit a favorite unstocked stream or two and fish for the real McCoy: Native Brook Trout. These were certainly natives because there wasn't a road within at least a mile of any one of these brooks for a hatchery truck to use and local "bucket biologists" didn't exist there. And it was always in the Spring because you would always have enough cool water to fish through. These trips were always fun and I always managed to fool a few of those guys using small, gaudy wet flies. This went on for years.


Then came the Swift and my brookie hunting days changed dramatically. This river exploded with brookies starting around 2010 and it hasn't let up. Where my "thin blue lines" might get me into the double digits if conditions were good the Swift can offer up dozens especially in the Cady Lane area AND there is some size to them. A backwoods brook may offer up an eight incher on occasion but that's becoming a daily occurrence on the Swift with fish over 12 inches now the norm!

We are lucky to have the Swift and lucky to know that the brookies are thriving in this MAN MADE environment and that is the key. Without that cold water release it would of never happened. That makes the-out-of-the-way wooded rills and secluded beaver ponds just that much more special. Would I like to catch an eight inch stream born brookie from the Swift or from my very secret spot? The answer is both BUT the secret spot wins first prize.


Spring is the time that we have the great opportunity to fish our wide selection of freestone rivers and when we fish freestones we will be fishing with larger flies. First, the insects in freestones are larger than those found in tailwaters and secondly the bait fish population is more varied giving us more opportunities to land trout.

I gave up carrying traditional streamer flies and went over to very small marabou streamer patterns tied on short shank scud hooks after seeing the schools of emerald shiners on the EB and the unknown small minnows on the Millers. The short shanked hook allows the material to move around and if kept two inches or less in length will not result in short strikes.

Layer your marabou from light (white) on the bottom layer to darker layers as you move up. Throw in a strip of mylar and your done.


Ken




Saturday, March 4, 2017

EB Dreaming, Booking Evenings And Blog Stats



"When caddis are in the air the first step in selecting the right pattern is always to note whether they are newly hatched adults or egg layers. If the winged adults are a uniform size and are dropping heavily to the surface, they are egg laying adult females" Thomas Ames, Hatch Guide For New England Streams


It's been too long!! It felt like I hardly fished the EB last summer because of the drought and this is a shame because I live a mere 15 minutes from the place. It was a remake of the summer of 2010 when the place just shut down by early July. Now, you can fish some holdover holes and some did but there comes a point when you have to give the trout a break. The rain came in October and it was well received but it didn't take the gloom off of the year.


There are great memories about the EB and I'm not talking about the 50 fish days which are common and the courtesy of a very recent stocking. What I'm talking about are June mornings when the air is full of damsel flies and the large yellow stones are beginning to appear and a Millers Bivisible with a Partridge and Olive dropper worked over the riffles will get it done. Or the sublime July and August evenings when I change over from a stimulator to a #16 cahill because that steady drumbeat of rising trout has begun. And the BEST dry fly fishing that I've EVER had was on the EB on a cloudy October day when the air was thick with BWO's. It is a special river and if we get just NORMAL rainfall this Summer it will be back in form again. It always does.

A note about the EB - The moniker "EB" first appeared in print in 2009 on this blog because I got tired of pounding out "East Branch of the Westfield" all of the time. It has spread to other websites and has entered the lexicon for fly fishing in Central New England. I did a presentation in New York this past January and was asked questions about the EB!!! Good news spreads fast!


Evening Trips - My three hour evening trips have become more popular every year. From beginners who need some basic skills to highly skilled fly fishers who are looking for a good introduction to a certain river this three hour session gets it done. I like to start these in April when we have enough light and the winter chill is a memory. The Swift, EB, MB, Millers and the Ware Rivers are all offered. Book me!!!

One of the statistics that this blog generates is something that I am proud of and THANKFUL for and that is the Reader Comments. Blog hosting platforms cannot tell the difference between reader and blog author comments so some blogs will appear to be more popular than they are. You readers carry the weight when it comes to commenting on this site. The 10 previous blog posts generated 121 comments (!!!) of which only 32 were mine (occasionally I'm asked a question and I'll answer it). That means 89 comments (73.5%) were from YOU and that is a VERY high, much higher than most other blogs. This blog has generated double digit comment totals per post for years which indicates a high readership as opposed to flip through visits. And, I might add, the quality of the comments is first rate!!

This blog, which started as a fragile experiment over 10 years ago, will continue to be generous with news, insight and ORIGINAL COPY on the 5 rivers that I cover. Count on it!!!

Ken








Monday, February 27, 2017

Spring Was Here And Then......Spawning Bows

"If I fished only to capture fish, my fishing trips would have ended long ago" Zane Grey


On Saturday morning the temperature crossed 60 degrees for the third day in a row which isn't bad for late February. In fact, it was above 50 degrees since early in the week which brought the hordes out to the Swift throughout the week. " I couldn't find a place to park" was the lament from Bill about conditions at the Pipe on Tuesday and Thursday. That was not the case on
Saturday morning as Bill and Joe were the ONLY ones working that section!!!

Word has it that the hot fly for the week was the Henderickson nymph, a bit early but it worked!!


One thing of interest on that Saturday morning was the spawning behavior of rainbows above and below the Pipe. Nest digging was observed just above the pump house and down below the Pipe. (the accompanying photo is of a 16 inch bow caught in the act).

This is the time of year for wild bows to spawn and that urge is still in play for the hatchery fish but it is a useless exercise because THESE rainbows are (they say) sterile. "Triploid" bows are sterile bows that can be stocked over native bows providing increased numbers WITHOUT deluding the native gene pool. Sounds like a good idea except why is this done on the Swift where there are no stream born rainbows? One would think that it would be great to have reproducing bows to join with the brook trout and browns. Just thinking out loud..


I've made an effort to devote more energy to caddis imitations this year and have become intrigued with using plastic beads (No. 11 seed beads to be exact) to represent the larva stage of this insect. The olive color should work and if need be I'll switch to a bright green color.

It's 24 degrees at 5:00am as I write this. Winter is back!!!

Ken






Thursday, February 23, 2017

Quinapoxet River News, R.I.P. Swift River Plan And Fish This Weekend

"Rivers and the inhabitants of the watery elements are made for wise men to contemplate and for fools to pass by without consideration" Isaac Walton



First, there's no NEW news here but just an attempt to get some up-to-date info on the progress or lack of progress with the Quinapoxet dam removal project. This puddle of molasses has been creeping along with its occasional press coverage for over 10 years. A lot of the coverage that surfaces seems to be a re-fried version of the last news release with a new photo or graph thrown in for good measure. I was told by a reliable source three or so years ago that the project was "funded" and had only to tie up some loose ends. That was then and I've yet to hear even a rumor. If you know something let me know.



This month marks the one year anniversary of the "Let's-Stop-Stocking-Rainbows-Over-The-Poor-Brookies" on the Swift River. The Conventional Wisdom that drove this movement was simple: if you didn't have rainbows crowding out and eating the brookies then you would have a great brookie fishery. But the truth is we ALREADY have a GREAT brookie fishery that seems to be improving EVERY year in spite of the rainbows that are stocked.  Last year saw a great number of brook trout plus many well over a foot long with a few hitting the 20" mark.  Where else can you find that in Central New England?? The predation of brookies by rainbows  may actually be a good thing because it can act as a check on the numbers of brook trout in the Swift. In fact, there appears to be an increase in the LARGE brown trout population down in the Cady Lane section!!! I wonder why!!

Anyone with over 20 years experience on this river knows that the brook trout fishing on this river is MUCH better now than 20 years ago. The brookie population expanded even with the stocking of rainbows. It appears that the few supporters that marched along with this bad idea had very few years on this river and never saw the BIG PICTURE. Thankfully this movement sank without a trace!!

We are going to get a taste of Spring from today (Thursday) through the weekend. Get out there and fish!!! Check out the Swift, the Quinnie and any "thin blue lines" that you've been thinking about. Check out the website "Small Stream Reflections" to see what small streams can produce at this time of year.

Best of Luck!

Ken






Sunday, February 19, 2017

Time Of The Season

"No man ever steps in the same river twice for it's not the same river and he's not the same man" Heraclitus


The first thing that you notice is the increased birdsong in the early morning. And the walk to the Bubbler Arm at 9:00 am was a slog through crusty snow but the walk back was easy through snowball snow. One can actually feel the sun on your face. That's February! We are now two months past the shortest day of the year and although we could get hammered with snowstorms again the worst is OVER.

It was a good few hours working the above mentioned spot. My top fly was a size 18 WD40 with the bottom being either a size 24 or 26 midge larvae. I fished this run s-l-o-w-l-y, blind casting and then casting to visible fish. My 3 rainbows were all over 16 inches and 2 of the 3 took the WD40 while the last bow and the brookies took the tiny midge. BTW, the water temperature was 36 degrees which is about as cold as it gets on this run.

I can also say that I had the place to myself which has been the case for the last two months. The crowd still stops at the Y Pool!!!

Frequent commentator Will (AKA Hibernation), in response to my post on bead chain flies, sent in this photo of a great looking large trout/smallmouth fly called the Ugly Damsel". Backcast to the comments section of the prior post for info on this fly.


We turn the clocks ahead in three weeks!!!

Ken








Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Sinking Lines, Secret Weapons And Book A Trip

"There's no greater fan of fly fishing than the worm" -Patrick F. McManus


Back in the day, back in BG (before graphite) it seemed that nobody with any sense would fish one of our larger rivers during the Spring high water without a sinking line. And I mean a SINKING LINE as in a Cortland Wet Cell 2 as opposed to a sinking tip line by any maker.

Sinking lines get you DOWN so you can short line, tight line and high stick your brains out but still make traditional casts to swing streamers and soft hackles and such. And don't believe the conventional wisdom that these are a bear to cast because they are not. Picking 50 ft of line out of the water may be a task but who does that anyway. Most of our fishing is withing 25 feet.

The key is the length of your leader material (notice that I said "leader material" and not leader) which should be about a 5 foot section of 3x for those high water, heavy fly conditions.

These lines are cheap and you should have one loaded onto a spare reel "just in case". It has saved the day for me on the Squannacook to the EB and especially the Millers over the years.


I love bead chain eyes BECAUSE they actually look like the eyes of a large insect or crayfish plus they add just the right amount of weight to beat heavy flows. I tie them on small buggers meant to imitate dragon fly and damsel fly nymphs and they work. In fact, many years ago when I worked the shores of Wachusett Reservoir for smallmouth it may have been my top fly.

Go to a local hardware store for the beadchain.

Folks, I'm booking up this Spring for the Millers, EB, MB, Ware and the Swift. Just email me and the date is yours without requiring a deposit!!!

Ken







Saturday, February 11, 2017

Remembering Special Trout

"Many go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after" Henry David Thoreau


Frequent commentator Sam (aka Parachute Adams) asked if I could brighten up this dreary winter with any remembrance of a special trout that I had crossed paths with over the years. There are a few. The brown that took up home right NEXT to the top rock at the Millers upper Trestle Pool. That trout took me four months to catch and I got it on my 40th birthday. Not big but very difficult.

But the one that has the deepest memories goes back over 40 years ago to the Squannacook River. I first encountered that brown in early June when a well placed Blue Quill Dry landed a few feet up from an old log that partially spanned half of this modest river. I saw all two feet of him come up, follow the fly for about a foot until drag set in and then disappear back under the log. I was shaken to say the least because I didn't think that river could hold a trout of that size!!

I carefully fished for that brown over the next two months but didn't see it again until late Summer when it rose again to THE VERY SAME FLY. This time I could feel the point of the hook scrape the mouth of this huge brown but that's as close as I got. I never saw the brown again.

I've caught trout close to the same size but there is something special about the ones that get away. Sometimes I think that if I had landed it it would of lost some of its status.
                                                                            Tied by Elsie Darbee

It's been a snowy week with more on the way BUT it's almost 2 months since the shortest day of the year. Spring is not far away.