Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Mid Winter Musings - A Freestone Spring And Freestone Flies

The simple matter of drawing a fish up from the depths to the top for any surface fly is more of a thrill than having the same fish take the fly well under and getting first indication of his presence by a pull on the tackle rather than by sight.  In the words of Jack Young, a guide on the Serpentine River, "I don't believe there's a more beautiful thing in the world than to see a trout rise to a dry fly."  Lee Wulff

We are one month past the shortest day of the year  and in less than a month the sap lines and buckets will be working in the sugar bush. And every year it happens: I start thinking of Freestones. After the dry-as-a-bone 2016 I especially need to fish the Millers, EB and the Ware during the Spring and the Summer.  Now, our tailwaters saved the day and I'll be guiding this weekend on the Swift BUT I really want that big river fix and need to fish some big (compared to tailwaters) flies. Here's what I'm working on.


This great old fly has stayed true to pattern for a 100 years but now I'm changing the wing to CDC BECAUSE this insect sheds it's nymphal case on the bottom of the stream and swims to the top with its wings trailing behind it. Ditch the wood duck and go with CDC. (I also ditched the quill body)

MOBY DICK WET - Last Summer I wanted to show a friend my example of a Moby Dick Wet but realized that I didn't have any in my tackle bag. It's really a Millers River fly and kind of useless on the Swift. It's a great fly to have in late May and June while fishing the late afternoon and evening rise on the Millers. That rise will probably mean caddis are coming up and this fly, swung through the riffles, will get the job done. It's a busy fly to tie but it's a good change of pace from tailwater tiny!


The bushes along the Ware and the Millers will have millions of these caddis by the 2nd week of May. I've never liked the standard elk hair imitations because the seemed to have more of a May fly imitation than a caddis. It was about 5 years ago that I posted on this fly with it's wings reinforced with SCOTT TAPE. You get a REAL tent wing profile and the tape holds up really well.

Keep tying, Fish the Swift and Farmie, maybe hit the "thin blue lines" in a month if we're lucky and pray for an early Spring.

BTW, The Farmington is still very low for this time of year. Maybe they're trying to fill the resevoirs by holding water back OR maybe they have little water to hold back. It will be an interesting Spring.



Hibernation said...

Ken do you ever fish the Picket Pin on the Millers? Its' one of my favorites fly's anyplace, but on that river in particular. Every time I see the Moby Dick it makes me think of the Picket Pin - they are so similar... Both great flies.


Millers River Flyfisher said...


I used to tie and fish them but not much anymore. I know that Brk Trt in CT loves them!!


Parachute Adams said...

Great idea, Ken, reinforcing the caddis wing with tape to form a tent and keep the fibers together. Nice touch with the antennae too. I like my deer and elk hair caddis, but will definitely tie up a few in this version as well to sit right in the film.


Anonymous said...

Good evening Ken,

I've been slowly getting the itch to do more and more trout fishing with the fly (I'm predominately a surfcaster). I was reading some of your blog posts from early May 2016 concerning rods and was interested in what you would recommend for fishing the Millers, Quabog, etc. I just purchased a large arbor 5 wt and had a few ideas for rods, but I like to do my research before I buy! I was thinking something along the lines of an 8'6" or 9' 5 wt Recon. As I typically don't get to trout fish as often as I am in the surf, I am looking for one solid all purpose rod. Any recommendations would be much appreciated.

Thank you,


Millers River Flyfisher said...


I wrote a blog post on 12/15/16 about the perfect rod. That would be a good starting point.

First, any quality fly rod around 9ft and of a 4 or 5wt will work well for all trout fishing situations.

Second, there are many quality fly rod companies out there that offer very good value at a fair price. Temple Fork Outfitters (TFO) comes to mind.


Brk Trt said...

Love the Pickett Pin...try one with a yellow squirrel wing.

james douglas said...

A friend of mine west of Bennington Vt just over the border in NY was gathering sap last week! 2nd year in a row where he had sap going in January. I remember when January was for winters ...

Len said...

Hi Ken. What are your your thoughts on fishing the Millers in the winter? Any good strategies? Thanks, Len

Millers River Flyfisher said...


Ok, I'll put the lawn chairs out and turn the garden over this weekend. HAHAHA Climate change is in the works!

The best strategy would be to fish the Swift. If you must fish the Millers hit the Orcutt Pool if it isn't iced over or hit the Bridge St.Pool down in Erving.