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.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

An Autumn Afternoon On The Millers

"It seems a shame to use a fine, handmade casting tools to lob a weighted, short-line nymph rig 10 feet when you could do the same thing just as well with a broomstick. - John Gierach



How can anyone say that they would prefer to catch trout via nymphing instead of on a dry fly? I don't know but they are out there, a generation of fish counters who like the lofty numbers that a stocking truck can create. I've heard that the Millers has been not like it was last year when buckets of bows were tossed in and everyone was an expert. Now the story has changed. It's slim pickings with the browns they say. Granted, it takes time and patience to catch that fish and a little skill that goes beyond "nymphing". A little timing and knowing the pattern of trout and insect behavior helps too.


I rigged up my 3wt at 1:45pm and fastened on a slightly weighted possum nymph and began to work it as I've always done over the decades - quartering upstream and letting it sink as it as it approached me which is the same way Theodore Gordon fished a wet fly in those Catskill waters over a 100 years ago. There were no indicators or sighters of any kind. Just a look for any hesitation in the drift of the line. I also kept an eye out for any surface activity which was sure to start.


I picked up 6 browns before the surface activity became too real to ignore. A hatch of Olives started (as expected) so on went a snowshoe BWO emerger in a #20 and then the fun really started. After the second brown a blue heron got into the act and twice tried to grab my brown as I was netting it!!! Then I watched him as he watched me. If I cast upstream he looked upstream and if the cast was quartering downstream he followed that too! He watched me cast upstream which resulted in a hookup which he then went after.

They are smarter than we think!!

I ended up with 8 browns taken on the surface and 6 below in two hours of fishing. THE MILLERS IS ALIVE WITH TROUT!!

BTW, A surface hooked trout fights harder than a bottom hooked trout. The nymph caught browns fought ok but nowhere near the the intensity of a trout near the surface who feels the hook. Just an observation.

Going forward this season I would suggest a perfect Millers trip to be from 1pm to 4pm. We will catch the evening rise!!!

Ken







Monday, October 16, 2017

Ware Update, Millers Update And The October Caddis

"Fishing for landlocked salmon is like scale-model Atlantic salmon fishing: all the frustration for a fraction of the price"- John Gierach


They were all over me. October Caddis that is! This is a true event on autumn trout streams especially on the fertile freestones that we like to fish like the Millers. This orange/brownish caddis can fill the air but it can also disappoint if you don't know it's life cycle. This insect is not going to rise through the water column followed by slashing trout most of the time. It prefers to hatch on the shore and then fly away. Maybe that's why the Partridge and Orange is so good around now.

Are there dry fly opportunities with this insect? Yes, but it will come with the end of the mating swarm near evening when most fly guys decide to pack it up. The above fly works because it looks like a spent insect and incorporates the materials to achieve that look.

Hook - size 14 standard dry

Body - orange/brown rabbit dubbing

Wing - clump of orange/brown hen hackle fibers (an underwing of CDC will work to float the fly longer

Hackle - brown grizzly size 14-16

Head - brown rabbit dubbing

One can fish this fly dry and then wet. It works both ways.


Speaking of the Millers - It seems that some are a bit disappointed in the Fall fishing on this river and that is because this river got an adequate stocking of browns (and some bows) this October and not the avalanche of big bows that it got last October. Stocking the river 3 TIMES IN ONE WEEK last October sets expectations high with 30 fish days being expected. The reality now is that you have to work for your fish instead of just chucking a nymph into a school of stocked bows. The browns are different and they got a dose of rain that put another 100 cfs into the mix right after they were stocked. They are not waiting for you. You have to find them. Go get them and bring your soft hackles with you.


And The Ware - This river, so totally overlooked by the fly fishing community, has been hot as of late. It got some bows in early October but we've been taking browns in the mix which means this river has holdover fish!! One thinks that the Ware is a warm water stream but it's been cooler than the Millers and the EB over that last month with water temperatures in the low to mid 60's. Find an undercut bank, slowly drift a SH or a generic nymph through the deepest parts and you may be rewarded. We were yesterday!!!

Ken










Thursday, October 12, 2017

A Reprieve From The Drought But The Swift Is Still High

"I might be wrong, but I doubt it" Charles Barkley
                                                                          NOTE: (5:30 am, 10/13) The Swift is at 50 CFS
                                                                          Note:( 7:00 pm, 10/13) It's at 130 again!!!!

The map says it all. RED is very dry, GREEN is normal, ORANGE is low normal and BLUE is high water. Last week this map was mostly RED except for the Swift which had the color blue but the weekend rain took care of that except the Swift is still chugging along at 130 cfs because the Connecticut River is still below normal. Get it?? I hope so! Also hope for some more rain. Not a lot but just enough.

The Millers and the Ware have been fishing very well, especially the Ware. The report says that the Ware got bows this month but we've been taking some good looking browns in the mix which must be spring fish that made it through the summer.

Look for October Caddis (or Pumpkin Caddis) on the Millers and the Ware. I must of have close to a dozen on my waders a few days ago while working the Millers. I've never had much success with any dry version of this fly but the reliable Partridge and Orange SH does the trick.


What's up with the EB?
The flow looks good, it's cool enough but it hasn't received any fish this October. This all may be a moot by today but we will just have to wait and see. BTW, the gauge reading on the EB stopped working on October 9th. It's frozen at 75 cfs and is probably flowing around 55cfs as I write. The Bears Den gauge on the Millers is busted too as is the one on the Middle Branch. I blame Trump!!!!

Thank you for the BIG outflow of comments!! Much appreciated.

Ken









Sunday, October 8, 2017

Autumn On Our Rivers And Book Me


"Some people who fish here will do just that with a brace of nymphs dangled under a strike indicator, letting natural drift provide all the movement that's necessary. I've tried that, and it works - especially on slow days when nothing much seems to be going on - but I can't stay with it for long.  It's possible that I'd had enough of staring at bobbers by the time I was twelve" - John Gierach

It's the best time of the year to be in New England especially central and western Massachusetts. Imagine hitting the Ware, the Swift and the Millers all in the same day and landing fish. Imagine not having to pile up windshield time to go to a crowded destination. It's all here from the Ware to the east and the Millers to the west. What about the EB? It needs rain before it's stocked. Hopefully the forecast this time is right and we get a good, rainy day and the DFW extends that Columbus Day deadline for stocking. I believe they did last year.


The Color Brown

Hats off to the DFW for raising the largest number of beautiful brown trout that I've ever seen. The color of these fish is amazing. As I said in an earlier post these trout have the color of butter that has been left in the sautee pan too long. These fish are almost iridescent and appear to almost glow in the net. I've seen some photos of stocked browns from other states and they pale by comparison.



Millers Update And A Question

We caught fish everywhere from Orcutt to Erving and to the Kempfield Section BUT we got blanked at the Bridge Street Pool. Now, there are new (this Summer) restrictions to entering Bridge Street from Route 2 - YOU CAN'T DO IT- and they have the signage to prove it!! That means that you have to bushwack through the back roads of Wendell to legally get there. (I say "legally" because some people are ignoring the signs and turning off Route 2 anyway). Here's my question. Did the DFW stock these section or did the signs/restrictions and the six mile detour scare them off?? I know someone was there because of the wet footprints in the sand. Any info??

BTW, Soft hackles (of course), possum nymphs and my mini buggers all took fish. Translation - use anything as long as it's small.


I still have some openings in October but they are going quickly. Grab one and it's yours. A good idea would be to book a morning (3 hour) trip and then spend a few hours going solo revisiting the spots I introduced you to!

Ken






























Thursday, October 5, 2017

Weekend Update, The Rivers, The Weather And What Flies



"The great charm of fly fishing is that we are always learning" - Theodore Gordon



Ok, here we are a few days before Columbus Day Weekend and this is what we have:

The Millers at 60 cfs and scheduled to be stocked tomorrow the 6th in the usual places. Last year the flow was at 90 cfs which was low. Water temperature on Wednesday the 4th was 60 degrees at 8am and 65 degrees at 1pm. These are good temperatures.

The Ware - 22 cfs and received it's second stocking. You may thing the flow is too low but the temperature is the key and the temperature as I write is 58 degrees AND it's been below 60 since September 30. This is a "must fish" river for October.

The EB - At 43 cfs this river is a boneyard as is its sister branches. It needs rain and I would be totally surprised if it's stocked at this low flow.

The Swift - Humming along at 135 but not producing much in the usual areas. The brookies are on the march but not bedding down yet because of this flow. THEY CLAIM IT WAS STOCKED this week. We saw 4 trout caught all day Tuesday. Also, the temperature is still in the mid 60's due to lake turnover which may also effect the bite.


Low Water Tactics - Ditch the weight, period!!! High Stick your pheasant tails and soft hackles (especially soft hackles) and then lengthen your casts to swing your fly down and across the current. Your weighted offerings which worked well during higher flows will leave you picking weeds and slim off your fly most of time. This is the tactic we've used on the freshly stocked Ware and the not-stocked-since-May-Millers. It is working!! Always be on the lookout for surface action with the standard offerings of BWO, October caddis, ants and such.

So there you go, the update on the six trout rivers that I cover. I keep it at six because just adding rivers to my masthead but never mentioning them in a post is misleading to my readers. And notice that I said "trout rivers". If you want bluegills and pickerel (my first fly caught fish was a pickerel at 15 years old) then surf the net. Nothing wrong with those fish but you will not find them here! Also, read the comment section of each post for knowledge and insight from the readers. These are my "contributors"!

Go Fish

Ken








Monday, October 2, 2017

Those Gorgeous Millers Browns And Booking A Trip


"Game fish are too valuable to be caught only once" - Lee Wulff

Note: The Swift and the Nissitissit were stocked 10/2/17
Note: The Squannacook was stocked 10/3/17

I'll come right out and say it. The most beautiful browns in Massachusetts reside in the Millers. These trout, either stocked last May or of holdover status, have taken on the most beautiful dark, glowing color that you could imagine. I could best describe it as butter that's been left in a saute pan too long. And the neat thing is that these fish sailed right through the Summer and this September drought with flying colors and are there to be caught. BTW, This weekend the high water temperature on the Millers hit only 62 degrees. We fished some deep runs with good holding water and took fish swinging soft hackles.


Now, if everything goes to plan, the Millers will be stocked Friday October 6. The usual popular spots will get crowded but I know this river well (30+ years of fishing it) and will get you away from the crowds and into fish. Play some hooky during the week and we will have the place to ourselves. Book ME!!

We are seeing the start of the brookie run on the Swift as they are staging into some traditional spawning areas. Hopefully we will get some rain soon to lower that Quabbin release.

Stay tuned!!

Ken






Saturday, September 30, 2017

A Short Update - Brookies And Browns

" A friend told me there's life outside of the Internet and that I should check it out. I asked him to send me a link" - TheFunnyPlace.net


I hit the Swift Thursday morning around 11:00 am to toss some micro streamers (10 and 12), or some micro Bitch Creek streamers to be exact, to see if I could entice some bows to chase them. No bows but some good sized brookies came to play. They were all between 10-12 inches and there were 7 of them and they were found in or near the traditional spawning beds of the lower Swift. I think the run has started and my records state that by mid October we will be in full swing. They are already stacking up below the Rt 9 bridge.

Friday was a good day with my client Matt as we were the first (probably) to fish the Ware this Fall. The 38 degree air made the fleece necessary at 8:30 as we began to swing the reliable partridge and orange. We had four solid hits and landed two, a rainbow and a beautiful brown. The water level is low but cool enough to keep the trout active.  We were also greeted with a decent Trico hatch which the newly planted fish totally ignored.

Then we went to the Swift, walked right past the Pipe, and went down deep into Cady Lane to catch brookies on dries. It seemed that the brook trout population down there has thinned out(as one of our commentors pointed out) as the "herd" moves upstream to spawn. That has to mean that the monster browns will begin to move with them.

Back upstream for a few obligatory casts at the Tree Pool, then lunch, then a session at the crib dam before the day was over.


As I write it is raining. It will not be enough and we will need more!

Ken












Thursday, September 28, 2017

State Of The Rivers And Another Soft Hackle

"I think I fish, in part, because it's an anti-social, bohemian business that, when gone about properly, puts you forever outside the mainstream culture without actually landing you in an institution" - John Gierach

NOTE: THE WARE RIVER WAS STOCKED 9/28


It is September 28 and The Millers is running at 77 cfs (below normal), the EB is at 32 cfs (far below normal) the Swift is at 133 cfs (above a normal flow of 88 cfs) and the Ware is at 29 cfs which is normal.
What does this mean? It means that we are exactly where we were last year at this time. The Millers was stocked last year on 10/7 with a flow of 90 cfs. We are close enough!! The Swift was stocked on 10/3 (it should be stocked NOW!!!) and the Ware got its fish on 10/11 and the flow then is what it is now. The EB got stocked in mid October last year when it finally got some water.

If you're interested the DFW stocked the usual Cape ponds for the catch & freezer burn crowd but the Swift has to wait. Go figure!!!

All we need is a day of rain and it will fix everything. My usual group of "spies" will be texting updates on stocking AS THEY OCCUR and you will know about it ASAP. You'll also get the rundown on fishing location by location, a service that is always lacking on the net. If you like crowds or solitude just stay tuned!

BTW, read the comments over the last two posts about the BIG browns in the Swift. The DFW surveyed the river this past Summer and they used the word "enormous" when describing them. Also realize that this is not a "program" that produces big browns like in Connecticut. This is just HAPPENING on it's own just like the brook trout explosion of the past decade. Do we have something special here?? I think so!


The soft hackle fly pictured above is the Grouse and Flash. (I tie it with partridge which may be considered a grouse in some quarters. It makes no difference). Nick Yardley, the inventor, claimed that it is a good caddis emerger imitation. Actually it imitates any aquatic insect that is getting ready to hatch.

Hook - wet or dry in sizes 12 through 16

Thread - olive 6/0

Body - thin mylar strip wrapped around the hook

Thorax - optional (use something buggy if you tie in a thorax)

Hackle - partridge or starling

Wrap the olive thread around the hook shank and then the mylar. The olive color will show through.



Playing with my new smoker. Smoked chops, zucchini and potatoes. Almost as much fun as fly fishing!!
Ken
















Sunday, September 24, 2017

Essential Flies For The Fall, A Big Brown And Some News



"In every species of fish I've angled for, it is the ones that have got away that thrill me the most, the ones that keep fresh in my memory. So I say it is good to lose fish. If we didn't, much of the thrill of angling would be gone."
-Ray Bergman




As many already know I am a true believer in the soft hackle fly and have been a convert since reading Sylvester Nemes book The Soft Hackle Fly over 40 years ago. I love the tradition of these centuries old patterns and the simplicity of their construction. I've tied them as large as size 8 and as small as 18 and they always work. I've tied them with a thorax and without and have used partridge, starling and hen hackle and no doubt other soft feathers to build these flies.


My top Fall producer is the Partridge and Orange. Egg robbing rainbows can't resist this fly as it's rolled along the bottom. It's also a good imitation of the October or Pumpkin Caddis that is starting to make its appearance. Right behind the P/O is the Partridge and Olive which totally represents EVERYTHING but nothing in particular. Make sure you have some Partridge and Olives in sizes 16 and 18 when that other Olive starts hatching on those cloudy October and November days.

I saw a brown trout, well over 24 inches and well over 5lbs, grab a fly and then run into the backing while going airborne twice before breaking off. This event occurred on the Swift.

The Fall stocking starts next week, the last week of September, and will be completed by Columbus Day. You don't have to wait until then. The Swift has been rather empty of anglers which is a shame because there are fish there. The Millers has been producing too.

The rumor mill states that the Millers will get fish by the end of the first week of October.

We need RAIN

Ken












Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Millers And It's Browns,The Swift And New Stuff




"There's a story that the cylindrical deer-hair Bomber fly was invented on the Miramichi River in New Brunswick when a wealthy sport tossed a cigar butt into the river and a salmon ate it.  You assume it was an imported La Gloria Cubana instead of a rum-spaked crook bought at a gas station" - John Gierach


The Millers is loaded with browns. The comment section mentions it and my last two solo trips took these fish. There are no drag burners here, just a good head of 10 to 14 inch fish that hit on the surface and down deep. A recent stocking?? No way. These guys made it through the Summer and are found at Orcutt, the Upper Trestle, Kempfield and in Erving Center and some have caught them in between. My fish were taken at mid day which was cool but not unexpected because the air temperatures have been in the low 70's, it was cloudy and the sun is at the same strength as it is in late March. Comparaduns in tan around size 16 and any soft hackle will do.

Don't wait until the stocking stocks to arrive and then crowd into the usual places. Fish now especially on a cloudy day.

The Swift flow went hog wild on Monday and the expected rain didn't arrive. If you like high water this will be your place for a week or more!!

New Stuff - 8 years ago I was selling my flies on this site and got totally buried in business.  My full time, 50+ hour job took all the time so I had to let it go.  I'm going to be back with this (flies you can't find anywhere else) and some new, unique products.  More to come!!!!!

Ken









Tuesday, September 19, 2017

10 Years After, Your Comments, The Rivers, The Farmington

Ken,
Thank you once again for continuing to educate everyone who enjoys reading all the information you have provided over the years from your Millers River guide to your routine blog updates. I find myself frequently going back to both as I did earlier this week prior to getting ready to hit the upper trestle pool. I hadn't fished it in over a year and couldn't remember exactly how to access the middle without taking a swim in the process. I managed to find that special perch, mid pool and had a blast watching 4 browns annihilate a Chernobyl ant - so fun! Also had lots of success swinging soft hackles in sections downstream from there, but the main point is that you are THE MAN! Keep on writing and teaching us because you can't imagine how many secret admirers you have! ......and now that you're free mid week, I am hoping to find a day to play hooky with you on the EB before it gets too late.

Thank you,
Paul

Wow, I can't believe it but this blog is 10 YEARS OLD this month.  What started as a fragile experiment is now THE trusted source of fly fishing information for Central New England. Many people have been introduced to this sport through this blog.  Thousands have gotten to know the Millers River, Swift River, Ware and the EB through this blog and through the Millers River Guide. Tens of thousands have gotten exposure to this blog from Boston area TV and through national flyfishing publications.  In short, This blog is known for it's original reports and observations  (no mail-it-in videos here) and for a comment section that is beyond reproach!!!!!



When I started this blog in 2006 the blogosphere (and the internet) was a different place. Besides a few "forums" and message boards nobody covered central New England flyfishing. You couldn't "hitch a ride" on another popular website - THERE WERE NONE!!! Facebook and YouTube were barely two years old and Instagram wasn't even embryonic. You had no help so you had to do it yourself. No links to "awesome videos". You needed REAL original content. In short, you had to FLYFISH the rivers you highlighted and then write about your experiences. And the purpose had one goal - to promote central Massachusetts flyfishing on a select group of rivers.

Many support my reporting on certain sections of rivers but there are those that don't. I've always felt that reporting on a good day on a stream and not mentioning that I was at the Upper Trestle, Cady Lane or the Bliss pool was like writing a restaurant review about a great dinner but not naming the restaurant. Are you afraid that if you do you won't get a table the next time around?? By naming the spots where I fish I PROMOTE THE RIVER and not just myself so someone else can share the same great experience. As I've said for years - I've fished and written about a spot all season long but I'm still alone when I fish it.  But you're a guide giving away spots on a river!!  Correction, I'm a busy guide who gives away spots on a river.

I don't use this blog to promote big-box-internet flyfishing entities and I don't accept discounts from them. I promote owner run, stand alone, fly shops, bamboo rod makers, inventors and environmentalists!!!  Someday I'll write about about the fly fishing industry and the marketing slight of hand that's used.

Blogs come and go. Guides come and go. Another 10 years??? Why not!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Your Comments - You readers are burying  this blog in comments and that's a good thing. No other blog that I know of has as high a percentage of READER comments as this blog. As I've said before your comments make this a blog within a blog.  Good work!


The Rivers -

You knew it was going to happen. The rivers kept getting lower during this "dry spell" (I don't want to use the word "drought") which means that the Quabbin faucet would be turned on and the Swift would go UP. And it did and I got to witness this 80 cfs increase first hand. The Swift is now holding at 129 cfs which some anglers like. Me? Not so much. I get a bit worried at this time of year because the brookies need shallower conditions for spawning. Last year we had high water almost into October and no fish were on the traditional spawning sites until the flow was reduced. This may all end on a good note if we get rain as forecast this week. Let's hope so and maybe the drought release from Quabbin should be readdressed given the spawning brook trout!

The Millers - They are playing with the flow at the dam in Orange Center. As I write the flow is an ok 155 cfs but it has been as low as 60. Even with this condition I've gotten good reports on the Millers especially the Upper Trestle Pool which has skunked me this year. The river has a lot of browns in the 10 to 12 inch range and they are working the surfacr.


The EB - A week and a half ago this river was at +200 cfs. It fished great at 80 cfs but the trout got spooky at 58 cfs. As I write it's at 45 and under 24 hour watch!!!! After last week I've got the EB on the brain because the fishing was so good.

The Farmington - Very possibly New Englands' best river but many people haven't fished it because they don't know where to start. If that's the case then backcast to my December 10 2016 post " The Farmington - How to get started". You will be pointed in the right direction!!

Pray For Rain!

Ken














Friday, September 15, 2017

Big Bugs Of Autumn And This Weekend



"The last thing you change is your fly" The great Lee Wulff



One cannot go to a river like the EB or the Millers during late August to early October and not see them. Large, long, dark forms clinging to stream side stones will greet the angler during his early morning fishing. This is the exoskeleton of the of the Isonychia nymph, one of the largest mayflies around and an insect that emergers all Summer long but especially in the late Summer and Fall.

This mayfly takes it's cue from the stonefly when it comes to hatching and that is the habit of crawling or swimming to shore and then climbing a rock to hatch leaving the shell behind. This act is usually done under the cover of darkness (they would be easy pickings for shore birds if they hatched during bankers hours) although I've seen them at dusk on cloudy days. Needless to say, the nymph is what's important to us instead of the dun.


These are the fastest swimmers in the mayfly family and seem to like to dart around especially at hatch time. Thomas Ames, Jr., in his book Hatch Guide for New England has a number of nymph presentations but I have found that a possum nymph colored black with a sharpie captures form and color. All you have to do is present it correctly. This swimmer doesn't get lost in the drift but swims and darts around. Make it dart around! This nymph is bigger than the Hendrickson. This bug is also a good indicator or clean, well-oxygenated water. Keep a supply ready this Fall.

This weekend - Let's hope for a little rain to freshen up our freestones. The EB has been great this week and I've heard good reports about the Millers and not from the usual places like Orcutt. Seems like the "regulars" are spreading out and that's a very good thing!!

Ken









Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Play Hookey With Me And Fish The EB


What's the next step?  Instead of shelling out big bucks for a "high end fly rod", which will not improve your casting, you should take a casting lesson with a casting instructor. Notice that I said casting instructor and not a fly fishing lesson. One on One time to review your technique and to "retool" you will serve you very well in the future and keep you from being a "one trick pony" on a trout stream.  - Me on the importance of casting.




What a morning!!! Nothing on the possum nymphs because the flow, which was low, wouldn't support the drift. I spied the occasional surface rise and switched over to a size 16 partridge and orange and landed 8, all bows. More trout began to hit the surface so off came the SH and on went a tan size 16 parachute. End result - over 20 rose and 15 ended up in the net.

Make note of this: I'm not on the Swift or on the Farmington BUT ON THE EB fishing for god only knows how many trout in a river that hasn't been stocked since MAY.

Lots of fish and switching techniques to catch them is what's it's all about.

Do you want some of this??? Book a full or half day with me ANY day of the week. I saw only one other fly fisher in the 4 hours I was there = weekdays are great!!!!!

Book Me!!

Ken












Saturday, September 9, 2017

Two Mornings, Two Rivers And Off The Beaten Path

The greatest enemy of "good" is "better" - Voltaire



Thursday morning found me hopscotching around the Millers and checking out some of my old haunts. I was also checking out how the trout weathered through the Summer and that answer is FINE!!

First stop was the Bridge Street Pool which looked enticing as usual but my hour there produced nice scenery and that was it. Next was the Erving Center Run that produced the star of the trip - a 6 inch brown with fins and a tail that showed no signs of hatchery markings. The pectoral fins really stand out on a fish like this. They are long and wide and look like a set of oars. A rainbow around 14 inches made its appearance before I moved upstream. Both fish fell for my possum nymph. The Center is a great place and is totally overlooked by fly fishers, fly fishing groups and the fly fishing media. It does have its "regulars" and I've been one for over 30 years. Orcutt will always draw the crowds which will keep the numbers down at the Center.


The last stop was to say hi to the Kempfield and that decision worked out fine as there were two browns working the surface and I got them both. They weren't bruisers but required careful casting under conditions that got windy.

The EB - I had to somehow make up for that T'Storm shortened trip of earlier in the week by putting in a good four hours working this river. The storms changed everything by bringing the water up considerably, knocking down the "rise" but not turning off the trout. The possum nymph, which actually looks like an insect instead of a day glow extraterrestrial ruled the day with 7 hits, 6 hooked and 5 landed.


The browns didn't make an appearance as the stage was occupied by rainbows and one gorgeous male brook trout, in full autumn colors, of about 13 inches long. It was a beautiful trout!!

Now some notes - This post and the previous post dealt with three trips totaling about 8 hours where 15 trout were landed. "What's so big about that?" you may ask. But wait a minute!! This is mid September and I was fishing over trout that were stocked over 4 months ago. And these trips were on the backwaters of freestones like the Millers and the EB and not on the popular tailwaters of our area. In short, why wait for the stocking trucks to roll in late September or roll the dice on some future date that could be rained out anyway. FISH NOW if you possibly can. YOU DON'T HAVE TO WAIT FOR THE EVENING to fish. We are in EARLY FALL (sun angle in the sky is the same as late March/early April) and the temperatures reflect that. The freestone trout did very well this Summer and they are active.

Check out my COMMENTS section for the last few posts. Some readers are gracious enough to tell you where they have done well and that is a very good thing!!!!!

My possum nymph was a size 12, tied on a wet fly hook, and it fooled those holdover trainees!

Ken




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Thursday, September 7, 2017

A Storm Shortened EB Trip And This Weekend

"Controlling micro drag is far more important than reducing the diameter of your tippet, which can never be completely invisible. Fine as they are (tippet), their presence is magnified by surface tension in the same manner that the feet of insects create tiny lenses. Wetting agents, including saliva, make short work of this problem, but keep the last few inches of tippet dry, lest they counteract the buoyancy of your fly" Thomas Ames, Jr. - Hatch Guide For New England Streams



"Damn the forecast, I'll just chance it!" That was the start of my 1 hour trip to the EB. The weather wizards said a "good chance of thunderstorms for western Massachusetts" which I like to think of as a good chance of "nothing" happening. So the trip was on.

I was looking for ants because the weather was perfect for them: warm, humid and early September. I saw only one of those winged critters all day so it certainly wasn't what was driving the trout to the surface! Trout were at the head of the pools slashing away at something on the surface. From where they held in the stream I figured some sort of mayfly which certainly hadn't gone beyond the emerging insect stage. Time to experiment!


First, I used a partridge and orange SH thinking that it would be perfect during this early stage of the hatch. Nothing doing!! I then tied on a BWO parachute emerger and struck a good brown on the second or third cast and then took a bow right after that. It began to look like an epic session until I heard that distant drum roll of a turbulent atmosphere. I kept casting and catching trout while hoping that the storm would disappear. No such luck. I retreated to the safety of the car. In all, I fished from 3pm to 4pm and took 2 browns and 4 bows.

The Swift dropped like a rock yesterday and is now back to a civilized 50 cfs. It will be interesting to see if the high water of the past week moved any of the fish around like the last high water event.

The Millers and the EB - keep an eye on the flows! The EB is in the 300's and the Millers is in the 200's. These are good conditions but the forecasted T'Storms can blow them out quickly especially the EB. BTW, the Millers is fishing well.

My guiding calendar is starting to fill up. Don't get left out!!!!

Ken




Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Myths Of Autumn And Streamer Tips




We caught trout on stoneflies in fits and starts all morning, periodically switching out one fly pattern for another as the ones we'd been using went cold. Nobody knows why that happens. - John Gierach on Fall like conditions




In my not-so-humble-opinion the BEST fly fishing of the season is starting right now and will continue until we are tired of eating turkey and then with some weather luck, it will continue a bit further. Autumn fishing is great but some people get frustrated because of the lower (usually) flow conditions, fish that have wised up and the stubborn adherence to some disproven theories which will kill your success.

1. It's Autumn and trout will put on the feed bag because Winter is coming

Trout don't read calendars and don't anticipate ANYTHING! Their feeding is dictated by water temperature which controls their metabolism, period. Tom Rosenbaurer, from Orvis, once wrote that trout consume more calories in May and June then they do at any other time of the year. Sure, there's a lot of food available but water temperatures in the mid 50's will get them eating more than temperatures in the mid 40's or the mid 60's. Remember, water temperatures at mid day in mid September may be a bit high, mid day in mid October is usually perfect and mid day in mid November the temperatures are on the downturn. It's still fishable but things are slowing down.

2. All of the natural foods are smaller in the Fall

Not true!!! If your life revolves around mayflies then you will not have the bigger flies of Spring to deal with but you will have isonychia (size 14), Stoneflies (up to 3 year nymph life which means big nymphs in the Fall), Hellgramites (big nymphs that live in that stage for up to 5 years), October Caddis (a BIG October fly), ants, beetles, hoppers, crayfish (the EB is full of them) and young of the year fry that in some streams make up the largest protein source. Also remember that many rivers will get another dose of hatchery rookies that will take any day glow offering that you have.

Actually, I like casting a size 24 BWO on a cloudy October day as much as I like working over Hendricksons!!
                                                                            Isonychia Nymph

Yes, I do fish streamers but not often. But when I do it's been with the Thunder Creek series/style which works fine for me. In fact, my biggest trout this year was taken on the Ware with a Thunder Creek Marabou streamer on a rising river during a driving rain.

I also tie this style on short shank scud hooks and fish it quartering upstream like a nymph. When it gets below me I'm mending like I'm fishing a soft hackle. Fish it slowly like it's a wounded bait fish.

I don't add beads or barbell weights to this fly for fresh water use and you don't have to either or you may make the same mistake as one on-line fly tier did. He tied a small bait fish streamer with a light underbelly, a darker mid section and a dark back just as you should. Then he lashed in a barbell weight, AKA Clouser style, on the TOP of the Fly which means that when the fly hits water the barbell will sink first which means the poor fly will ride belly up (upside down) in the current.

Live and learn!

This weeks showers are only going to help our rivers. Backcast to my previous post and read the comment about the EB and the MB by Gary.

Ken












Friday, September 1, 2017

It's September And Fishing This Weekend


"It's hard to resist tying new flies for a trip. Day-to day life, with its death spiral of chores and errands, can make even a big fishing trip seem unreal right up to the moment you toss your duffel and rod case into the pickup and drive to the airport. But tying flies before a trip clears your mind and gives you something to do besides pacing, fretting and packing more gear than you'll ever use." - John Gierach




It's time to go fly fishing because it's September 1 and we will have all of this month and October AND November to do what we like best. The rivers are in good shape, the weather is cooling and the trout are becoming more active. We also don't have to wait our freestones out until evening because in a few weeks we will be catching trout at mid day under wonderful conditions. You also now have a guide who is now available ALL OF THE TIME. Book me up!!!!!

As you probably know the Swift went from 50 cfs to 128 this week and that's not a bad thing although I prefer the lower water and the tiny flies that I like. Bigger offerings will still work with terrestrials leading the way on rivers like the Swift and October Caddis and Isonychia making their presence seen on our freestones like the Millers and the EB.


The Swift - Thursday morning found me down by the Pipe adjusting to the heavier flow. I started off working pinheads and chironomid patterns with very limited success so I put on an old faithful - a size 16 partridge and orange with a light orange body. I picked up 2 bows and 2 brookies and then moved down to Caddy Lane. This place fishes well with the higher flows, allowing trout to get up next to the banks which were almost high and dry just a few days before. I got some brookies, missed a bow and then took a foot long brookie who was right up against the bank. It couldn't be better!!!


Time to fish!!






Tuesday, August 29, 2017

An EB Morning And The Seasons Change



"Tailwaters are what Thomas McGuane called "the great theme parks of American fly fishing," with their more or less stable water temperatures and artificially inflated populations of insects and fish. They are irresistible for all kinds of reasons, but all of those trout breed the peculiarly postmodern sense that anything short of a 20 fish day is a bust, so when things are slow there's the temptation to lie about numbers or to vaguely allow that you are "getting your share" - John Gierach



The car thermometer read 46 degrees when I pulled off to park just before the BIG gate at the Bend Run on the EB. Then came the 15 minute walk down to Les's Pool and then a morning of hopscotching upstream ending at the Bliss Pool. The EB has been a question mark this year. With the exception of 2016 (drought) this may be the slowest season I've experienced on this river in 20 years. There are fish there but not in the insane numbers that we have gotten accustomed to which is a good thing if you like to have a mile or so of river to yourself. I think it's a good thing!

My hope was to find some rising fish at Les's, 2 Mile Run and the Bend during the morning. Actually I haven't fished the EB in the morning since June which is a safe bet during the Summer but with the air temperatures of late it was time to change tactics.


There were rising trout but they were cruising around which makes targeting them difficult and others were simply beyond casting range. So I threw on a size 14 possum nymph with a weighted body (no bead) and began to slowly dredge the deepest parts of the pool. There is a quiet anticipation involved here as you wait for the "tap". The tap came and with a quick raising of the rod the fish was on!

Now, this is a DEEP pool with depths, I believe, that are in the 10 foot range and this bow headed to the bottom. My goal was not to let him run at will so he could wrap himself around a snag but to keep the rod high and force him up where he doesn't want to be and make him thrash and tire himself out on the surface which he doesn't want to do!! I won that battle but not after two reel screaming runs. It wasn't a giant trout but a bow of 14 inches who tried to use the depth to its advantage.

So did the next one!!


I then began to move upstream, landing one at 2 Mile on a large hairwing Adams and then getting one at Slant Rock (finally!! This pool has stumped me this year) All bows. I wanted to end this short adventure at the Bliss Pool but the sun was getting high so I decided to call it a morning

A few hours latter I got an email from friend and EB, MB and WB expert Gary who said he fished the EB over rising fish all morning and never saw a soul. I told him I was up by the Gorge and he said he was far below Indian Hollow. All I saw was a lone jogger which was perfect!



September 1 is almost here. We have lost a lot of daylight over the last month and the sun has the same strength and angle in the sky as it did in Mid April. The Summer doldrums are pretty much over and we are gearing up for the "Second Season" which is Fall. Book a trip now for the Swift, Millers, EB or the Ware. You will not regret it.

Ken







Saturday, August 26, 2017

Y Pool Revisited, The Dorotheas And Changing Brookies

"All I can do is keep reminding myself that Lee Wulff once said, " The last thing you should change is your fly", which is good advice that's easier to follow when you don't have five hundred flies to choose from".  John Gierach



First, let's talk about the brook trout. Our Swift River brookies are beginning to color up and it's only late August. They don't appear to be moving upstream yet but that will happen in about a month and that's when you will see a show that's unequaled in New England. Our wild brook trout population in the Swift is almost an embarrassment of riches and even though it's not a hidden mountain rill known to only a few it still has its own charm and magic. The magic being that 15 years ago the brook trout population was nowhere like it is today. We are fortunate!!

I finally made it to the Y Pool for the purpose of fishing it and I believe that it's the first time since February. I've brought some newcomers to the place over the Spring and Summer to show them what it's all about but now I have some more time to hit the place during "off" hours and days. One thing is You will never be alone at the Y!!


My Y Pool strategy is simple: fish it if there's plenty of room (usually there isn't) or head to the Bubbler Arm where there's always room no matter how many times I write about it. And there are trout. Not the pods of trout clearly visible in the Y but trout that appear out of nowhere if you are patient enough. Yesterday I met a guy up on the Arm who said that he hadn't even seen a trout. As he spoke I could see one bow just 10 feet behind him. I saw more after he left and took one plus a brookie of about 10 inches. The photo shows my favorite pattern for the Bubbler and it's a zebra midge knock-off from size 20 to 24. (notice I said knock-off instead of that hideous, overused term "variant". Changing a component of a fly, say color or one of the materials doesn't change the fly. It's still the same fly but just tweaked! If you don't think so just google "golden ribbed hare's ear" and see how many styles and colors pop up.It's still a GRHE!!)


After working the Arm I found plenty of room at the Y so I stepped in and joined the list of those that hadn't caught any of the rising trout that could be seen. At least I got a good hit on a size 24 Dorothea which was a fly recommended by Dan Trella. I thought that it was a bit late in the season for this fly but a few naturals began to pop up and the trout seemed to rise for them. I ended up the next day at the Pipe and the brookies and bows were all over that fly!


The pattern is simple - yellow or olive thread for the body,possum for the thorax and snowshoe rabbit for the wing. Don't get discouraged with tying the wing on this tiny fly. The less material the better.

Speaking of the Swift - I guided two well traveled anglers from New Jersey to the Swift this past week. They were astounded by the numbers of trout that they could see in this river. I explained that the general belief is that the stockings were on the light side this year. They said that we are fortunate to have this river. They are right!!!



Ken