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, February 3, 2017

Early Stones, Quill Bodies And The "Other" Swift

"Calling Fly Fishing a hobby is like calling Brain Surgery a job." - Paul Schullery

Photo by Thomas Ames Jr.

If there is a harbinger of Spring that will catch the eye of the winter worn fly fisher it is the little Taeniopterygidae Stonefly, known as the Early Dark Stonefly and/or Winter Stonefly. Get a day where the temperature hits the mid 40's and the sun is shining and they will seem to be everywhere. I live on the banks of a decent trout stream and on those mild days my porch, deck and fence posts will be covered with them as they seem to be content to just soak up the rays.

They are a major hatch as far as numbers go but a minor hatch as far as surface activity is concerned. First, they crawl out of the water to hatch in sometimes inhospitable conditions such as high, flooded rivers. Second, most freestones in our area will be pretty empty of trout until the stocking trucks arrive. Third, in the words of Thomas Ames, Jr. "Fish are more likely to rise to early stoneflies when adult females are ovipositing and when there are other insects, like midges or early mayflies, to draw them to the surface."


I'll always have some imitations with me especially on March days at the Y Pool and those imitations will represent this insect's life stages with the egg laying stage being the most important IMNSHO. This also gives me a chance to play with quill bodies which is a fly tying skill that is being lost to the flow of time.

The egg laying stage -

Size 20 dry fly hook

sparse blue dun hackle fibers

body - dark grey stripped quill (Sharpies work well on getting the right shade of color

Hackle - Grey or black

This high floater can be skidded across the surface to imitate egg laying stones and does a good job at imitating the Winter Caddis too!


Now, to imitate the insect as it is hatching you need pattern like the one developed by the great Art Flick. Just take the pattern above,ditch the stiff hackles for small, webby brownish hen hackles and use a browning quill for the body. This fly will be fished around the rocky edges of the shore (Y Pool) just beneath the surface. It can also be used to fish over the spent stoneflies.

This fly is more important for getting your spirits up than for bringing trout up. That's why I'm mentioning it!!


The "Other" Swift River


Massachusetts has two Swift Rivers with the western river being a free flowing jewel. It's also a major tributary of the EB, dumping in to that river in the town of Cummington. It is a cool, mossy and shaded place that is one of those thin, blue lines that we all want to fish but.....

It's not hard to find and you should give it a try.


The Ground Hog is wrong!!!!!

Ken













13 comments:

Hibernation said...

Ken,

Ill correct you - ;), There are sort of 5 swifts. The western MA version you noted in this post, The tailwater everyone thinks of, and the East, West and Middle branches flowing into Quabbin. Those are great rivers to fish. The bait brigade beats em up a bit, but the scenery is well worth it, and in most, you can find fish all year long given spring seeps along the routes they flow.

Love those early stone dry's you created!
Will

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Will,

Thank you for your comment.

I think differently about this. The East and West branches of the Swift are still BRANCHES of the Swift such as the West, Middle and East Branches are still BRANCHES of the Westfield. What I had in mind are rivers named GREEN! One is in Colrain/Greenfield, one is in the North Adams area and one around Lee/Stockbridge. All are in different watersheds and are totally unrelated to each other but still have the same name just as the Mill River in my town (Northampton) is unrelated to the Mill River in Hadley (both flow into the Connecticut River but that's where it ends.)

BTW, the Army Corp of Engineers never calls the EAST branch on the Westfield "THE EAST BRANCH". They don't consider it a "BRANCH" at all but consider it the main stem.

In short, there is a Swift River flowing in and out of Quabbin with three BRANCHES. There are three GREEN Rivers in Ma that never mix their waters. That's what I meant.

Ken

P.S. Glad you liked the Stones!

Anonymous said...

Ken,

I have a brook a hundred feet from my house and every March my property has plenty of those stoneflies just milling around. It is a sign of spring!

GW

Anonymous said...

Since you like quill bodies, ever try the Nearenuff Dry Fly pattern? It's a winner.

Parachute Adams said...

I always appreciate the fly tying ideas, Ken. When I get the chance to fish, most likely the first fly on is the last one you posted about. I always tie up at least a few of whatever you're tying if I have the materials.

Thanks for what you do here on your blog site.

Regards, Sam

Hibernation said...

Point taken Ken :)

Is the Mill in NoHo the river behind Look Park? Always looked like a great stream to me...

Will

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Will,

Same river and the same river that runs along RT 9 in Williamsburg on the way to the EB.

It holds trout all summer long, even last summer.

Anonymous,

I had to search through a lot of big fly patterns of that name until I found the "Near Enough", a quill bodied dry fly in my old McClanes Fishing Encyclopedia. That's got to be the one.

Sam,

Again, I'm glad that you like this blog and that you get something out of it.

Ken

The Eye on Harvard said...

Search for "Nearenuf" dry fly and you should get a few links to H.G.(Tap) Tapply's classic catskill pattern including a recipe or two. I'm guessing the brown grizzly hackle points (some call for lemon wood duck) as the wing could be dispensed with if you're wishing to simplify the whole thing. I does indeed kind of look like everything if one was looking for an all purpose quill body dry fly.

Parachute Adams said...

Good action today in Bondsville, Ken, on the Swift Serendipity fly. A few brookies, one of which was a pretty nice one. Rainbows and browns didn't want to hit today, but the brookies were fun and beautiful, as each and every one is.

Regards, Sam

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Sam,

Good to see a report from Bondsville and that the Swift Serendipity did well. I'm going to work that section soon.

Ken

Anonymous said...

Ken,

I'm wondering if I could get a copy of your Miller's River map?

Pauline and I are getting geared up and doing some scouting and I think I've found the Orcutt pool and the Trestle. They are only 30 minutes from our house. Once I know our schedule for May I'd like to get you to guide us on the Miller's for a day so we can see how it's done.

Thanks

Steve Brackett

Tony M. said...

Good post.

Josh said...


Good Afternoon Ken,
I'm interested in learning more about fly fishing the Miller's River. If you could, I'd love to get your guide.

Thanks for your time,
Josh Hubbard