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.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Stone Flies On The Millers



"Fish sense, applied in the field, is what the old Zen masters would call Enlightenment: simply the ability to see what's right in front of you without having to sift through a lot of thoughts and theories and, yes, expensive fishing tackle."John Gierach


The Millers River is loaded with Stoneflies. When I first started fishing this river back over 30 years ago I was absolutely astonished by the sheer number of stonefly casings found on the rocks along and in the river. Not to be confused with the damsel fly (that's another story) the Stone becomes the main insect for trout hunters from late May through June on the lower Millers from Wendell Depot downstream. It's never been the star of the show upstream in Royalston (Bears Den) like it is miles below.
(photo by Thomas Ames, Jr.)

The Stonefly nymph is more valuable to the fly fisher than the Dry version. Any stimulator/small muddler type will get the job done imitating the egg laying adult. The nymph is one of those aquatic insects that hatches not by rising through the water column but by climbing rocks that protrude above the waters surface or rocks along the shoreline just like damsel flies, many caddis and Isonychia nymphs. This environment is characterized by riffles. Fish the riffles and pocket water in late May and June by dead drifting this fly on a short leash!!

I've featured some stones in the past but my favorites always fall back on a larger nymph that has a yellow/brown cast to it. No need to go nuts with hackle and other things when building stones and I've found that good old ostrich works well imitating gills and legs.

Hook - size 10 nymph hook with some weight added.

Tail - some partridge fibers

Body - I use a synthetic yellow dubbing with some sparkle built into the fibers. Synthetic holds up well to rocks and trout

Gills - light brown ostrich palmered around the full body or by the thorax. I prefer the thorax style.

Wing Pad - I've used everything from duck quill, turkey quill, bunches of pheasant tail fibers and so on. The one above has a pad of Thin Skin which also works (golden oak is the color of the thin skin)

Added Feature - Run a brown sharpee down the back of this fly and you'll have created much of the color scheme of this insect.


For those without access to a tailwater Winter becomes the fly tying season so build an inventory of stones for this Spring.

Ken






18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nice looking stonefly. Stoneflies and Caddis Pupa are the fly patterns I have never had any luck with. Will try your recipe this spring.

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Anonymous,

And caddis pupa have never been a great fly for me. After all these years you would think that they would!!

Ken

BobT said...

Anonymous- I have used a lot of stones all over the country especially in the spring but if a river has stones they will work year round but I recall the Stonefly molt on the Arkansas River in Colorado as being magical. In my opinion Small is better than big when fishing stones, if the natural stone is crawling around at a #10-I'm most likely fishing a #14..I always have tended to fish stones small. I dont carry any larger than a #12 for the east and fish #14 and #16 most often regardless of river or season-I carry yellow or brown/black poxyback microstones but I have had especially good luck with George Anderson's Rubberlegs Stone & the 20 Incher. All have been really effective for me...I have confidence in them but I think a Pats rubber legs, a Montana, a Hare's Ear or Ken's pattern will work just as well. On the caddis pupas try the LaFontaine Deep and Emergent Sparkle Caddis Pupa's. Back when Thomas and Thomas had a fly shop (Ken might remember)-they recommended to try these on the Deerfield...I did and they worked and still do everywhere ( I use brown, green, olive, and tan). Generally speaking -I am a true believer in having confidence in flys, this has been written about quite a bit recently by some of the newer authors of how to books; we've all been doing this probably since we started in this pastime. Ken blogs about fishing the the Partridge and Orange so often on the Swift, does it make sense? Entomology-wise, no, but fishing-wise, absolutely because Ken has faith it will work. If you have some confidence flies you will fish them harder and they will work better... when in doubt I throw Stimulators...doesn't matter much about when or where...I know they will elicit something. I truly don't think pattern matters all that much.

Millers River Flyfisher said...


Anonymous and Bob T,

I have unbreakable faith in soft hackle flies in basic colors and in sizes 8 through 18. In fact, I believe it may be the only style of sunken fly that I need on ANY river. I have had good luck with a rolling and tumbling stone on the Millers and the EB.

Yes, I remember the T&T fly shop!!!

Ken

lenny tamule said...

Confidence in any fly is key. This whole summer and fall I never really changed what rigs I used. During the summer i always had a golden stone usually in size 12 down to 8 but I experienced the same as Bob did with smaller stones working better. Then I would drop something smaller behind it, mostly a soft hackle. Just about the whole fall I cycled through a partridge and orange or PT soft hackle with a size 16 caddis pupa behind it. Now I think I'll probably have 5-10 different nymphs on me when I go fishing, and even then some may never really get used. I believe in the partridge and orange so much, that I plan to use on in a larger size the next time I go steelheading. Probably a combination of confidence, and that probably next to no one uses them on steelhead. Strange to hear caddis pupa haven't worked that well for you guys, it became a go-to last year!

Lenny

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Lenny,

Caddis emergers worked more than the pupa version for me over the years. Page 157 of Ames book has the fly. The sparkle pupa from LaFountaine never did it for me with any great results.

Ken

lenny tamule said...

Ken,

I've never tied them like the sparkle pupa, just green dubbing tied very loosely and some ribbing with ostrich at the thorax. But you're right the emergers work better, and tan seems to work much better than "caddis green". Although on some streams I fish, I've encountered many caddis pupa that are green as grass in abundance. Every stream is different though.

Lenny

Anonymous said...

Ken: Saw the Ames Pattern. DO you just fish tan, or do you have other color combinations?

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Anonymous,

I use mostly a yellow and brown mix for the stonefly that I want to imitate. I try to duplicate the colors in his stonefly photo.

Ken

Anonymous said...

Ken: How about the caddis emerger? Just tan?

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Ames likes tan for the caddis emerger. I like gray and olive, especially gray.

Ken

Anonymous said...

Ken: Do you just use a darker color dubbing for the thorax, or another color scheme? This is a great thread since I am deciding on my winter 2017 fly tying patterns!

Falsecast said...

For what it's worth I do use big stonefly nymphs in the spring on the Miller's and have taken nice fish in the riffles about the "trestle pool" numerous times. I like Kaufman's and big black girdles.

Regarding caddis pupa, it's frequently a trailer fly for me and I have had good success with a pupa I don't know the name of. It's got a black head and just one strand of bright green that extends just beyond the hook. The key is that it is not wrapped like a traditional or czech nymph, it's sort of like a tiny streamer and gets hit a lot at Housy and Miller's at the end of the swing. Very effective, I only use it on the swing, otherwise just use traditional pupa in various colors. It seems to have several names, but here is a picture of a similar one.

https://planettrout.wordpress.com/2009/05/10/mothers-day-bug/

Happy New Year!

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Anonymous,

Read the recipe for this fly on my post. That says it all.

Andrew,

It's time for me to reexamine the caddis pupa, up to a point.

Ken

BobT said...

I'd recommend a re-examination the LaFontaine pupas. I think you'll be happy. You can dead drift them or swing them both are effective. Most of the flies you see in shop bins regarding this fly are very poorly tied(way too much yarn) these are to be tied very sparsely. I can catch fish on a badly tied one but I double or triple the strike rate when I ease up on materials when dressing them.

Millers River Flyfisher said...

BobT,

I will tie up some LaFountain pupas for the Spring and give them a workout. All things said, I've never liked the "look" of his sparkle pupas because they didn't seem too "natural" to me (way too much sparkle). Then Bob Wyatt comes out and says that there is no reason for the sparkle because there is no gas being produced by ANY caddis to help it emerge. He did say that a zillion trout have been caught with them which makes them a good attractor fly. I will assume that Ames version (page 171 of Hatch Guide of N.E.) is the look that you recommend?

Thank You

Ken

BobT said...

The guide is not handy to me right now so I can't answer...however I did tie some up for a fly tying forum and I will email the pics to you. I am not a great photographer so they do not look like they really do if that makes sense. It looks like I piled material on but I did not. Regardless these work really really well for me.

BobT said...

One caveat to the pupas working everywhere...not so much on the Swift. I have no recent experience using them on the Swift for me its a midge, terrestrial, midge, terrestrial, softhackle, midge, terrestrial river for me.