Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

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!



lenny tamule said...

Maybe Walter and a few of his friends are evening the score on some of the stockies that wander down cady lane.


Millers River Flyfisher said...


You're right. BTW, that's your brook trout in the photo (the big one)


Hibernation said...

Ken -
Ill be excited to see if there is any news on the quinnie dam". Man, it would be great to see that pulled down.

So true on the swift. I see the point the proponents are suggesting, but, at the ripe age ;) of 42, 43 in April, and having fished the swift since I was maybe 12 or 13, I can say with certainty, that the last 5 years have been absolutely epic on that river in terms of the uptick in brookies. As for predation... I got the most amazing pic's last year, of a banded watersnake eating a brookie under the hemlocks. A thunder storm had just passed, I was back in the water wondering why a brookie was flopping round on shore. Walk over, and a darn near 30" snake was working on eating a brookie. Ill look back and fwd you some pic's to your email!

Keep well everyone - and enjoy the early spring weather!

lenny tamule said...

How could I forget!


Josh S. said...

I seen one of those nice 20"ers leaving on a stringer at the pipe this past weekend.

Millers River Flyfisher said...


As long as the rules stay the same it will be the same BUT I've seen very few bait boys down by the Pipe this Winter (as in the last few years) and that is the spot where most of them fish. It's also the place where most fly fishers fish. The place will not be overrun until the the Spring stocking. I'll find other places on this river and I'll catch trout!


kevj said...


your 'thin blue lines' comment is right in line with what I've been thinking throughout these past winter months.

In an effort to avoid the combat fishing on the Swift this Sat, I was wondering if you or any of the commenters here have any tips/advice on the Fort River running through Hadley/Amherst, a thin blue line that has caught my attention of late. If not, perhaps I'll try out some inaccessible spots on the Ware, and leave the Fort River for later in the spring.

BTW, many thanks for creating this most enjoyable blog. Your posts and the comments often times bring back great memories of my early fly fishing days with my Dad.

tincup said...

Wasn't in the cards for a 16 hour travel and fishing day to the swift so I did a little exploring on the Shawsheen river. Two dams have been removed from this river this winter. Talks started 4 years ago and federal money came by the federal Sandy funds (go figure). Information was it was to relief flooding. However this now changed the entire river structure a mile up or better from the first removal. An andover web page also indicated it was to allow the migration of our springtime fish into this watershed. It will also allow the stocked trout a straight shot to the Merrimack. The herring shad and schoolies stripers would always be prevented up. It was very interesting to see how quickly new holes and riffle sections where developed.Should be an interesting spring if the fish and game changes their stocking areas or amount or type of fish they put into this new water system. Carried the rod for most of this adventure but enjoyed my 4 hours riverside just as much. This change could be a gem.

Millers River Flyfisher said...


The part of the Fort River that would be of interest would be the upper sections especially around Amethyst Brook. Native brookies and possible native browns.

Bob (Tincup),

Thanks for the Shawsheen update! Removing the dams would also lower the water temperature for late Spring/early Summer.


Falsecast said...

Hi Ken,

When you say RIP to the swift river plan to not stock the bows, was that a real proposal? I wasn't aware. I thought it was just streamside talk?

Regarding the Quinnie, I am sad to say that I have been a "reliable" source of misinformation about that dam myself. 3 years ago I spoke with a DCR Ranger at length about it. What he told me was that it was approved, but not budgeted for that year. They were, however moving forward with getting proposals from engineering firms and construction to do it "next"year. Well, that was 3 years ago. I have no idea what is going on now. I'd love to see it....and a pump in the Qunnie Res to keep a min flow :)

If I passed on this misinformation here, which I likely did, I apologize. I thought it was a reliable source.


Kevj said...

Thank you, Ken. I will check out that area. The birthplace of fly rod production in the US, if I'm not mistaken.

Millers River Flyfisher said...


You are welcome! It's the home of the bamboo rod company that became the Montague Rod company before the move to Montague City. At it's height it was the largest producer of bamboo rods in the world!!

But I would have to say that the birthplace of US fly rod production would be Hiram Leonard's shop in Bangor Maine before the move to Central Valley NY.

Let me know how the fishing went.


It was for real with an online petition to boot! Lots of Conventional Wisdom and happy endings which don't stand up to review.

You may have been the "source" and you certainly are "reliable". Things could of changed soon after you got that information. That's Massachusetts for ya!!!!!


Paul Narreau said...


I agree with your summation. I almost always catch more Brookies than Rainbows on the Swift. It has an abundant population of them and I don't see them being squeezed out by the Rainbows anytime soon.

Jeff said...

Hi Ken
I reached out to you about a guide trip (still working out time frame) but
in the meantime could you send me the guide to the Millers?


Jeff White

tincup said...

Back to the Shawsheen, for another tour. The winter caddis (the one you tied with little antennae were everywhere. Not a rise to be found as I walked the entire new found section. And the at the end of a riffle beginning of a pool a rise then another. I had many tied with the turkey feather but most of these were lighter grey I did have a few with mallard flank feathers tied in both 16 an 18. I had to cross to get a good cast and drift, I wasn't sure if it was a trout until,it refuse every attempt. No chub would miss any offering. I did get one close offering so I now know it was a trout indeed. So great to enjoy a 65 degree day with a trout which made it thru a terrible summer and also enjoyed gorging itself on every caddis this warm winter day had to offer. I was kinda glad I lost this battle, it was just great watching this hatchery trout get his PHD.

Parachute Adams said...

Not a whole lot of action for me yesterday, Ken, but your advice last week on the trout holing up in deep slow water paid off with a nice rainbow trout. At a fairly deep, slow current pool is where I drifted a bead head pheasant tail, the line stopped drifting with the current. I thought it was bottom, but it was a nice rainbow. Even with 5X he was hard to bring to net. Made my day.

Regards, Sam