Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Thin Blue Lines Vs. The Swift And Spring Time Flies

"All of my fly selections are filtered through my prejudices regarding imitation and fly tying. For example, there are few nymph patterns that incorporate beadheads. There's no denying that they work superbly, but I can never be sure if it isn't the bead rather than the pattern that attracts the fish". Thomas Ames Jr in Hatch Guide for New England Streams Note: the answer to Mr. Ames question can be found on my June 5 2016 post on the subject.

I used to play out this ritual nearly every Spring and that was to visit a favorite unstocked stream or two and fish for the real McCoy: Native Brook Trout. These were certainly natives because there wasn't a road within at least a mile of any one of these brooks for a hatchery truck to use and local "bucket biologists" didn't exist there. And it was always in the Spring because you would always have enough cool water to fish through. These trips were always fun and I always managed to fool a few of those guys using small, gaudy wet flies. This went on for years.

Then came the Swift and my brookie hunting days changed dramatically. This river exploded with brookies starting around 2010 and it hasn't let up. Where my "thin blue lines" might get me into the double digits if conditions were good the Swift can offer up dozens especially in the Cady Lane area AND there is some size to them. A backwoods brook may offer up an eight incher on occasion but that's becoming a daily occurrence on the Swift with fish over 12 inches now the norm!

We are lucky to have the Swift and lucky to know that the brookies are thriving in this MAN MADE environment and that is the key. Without that cold water release it would of never happened. That makes the-out-of-the-way wooded rills and secluded beaver ponds just that much more special. Would I like to catch an eight inch stream born brookie from the Swift or from my very secret spot? The answer is both BUT the secret spot wins first prize.

Spring is the time that we have the great opportunity to fish our wide selection of freestone rivers and when we fish freestones we will be fishing with larger flies. First, the insects in freestones are larger than those found in tailwaters and secondly the bait fish population is more varied giving us more opportunities to land trout.

I gave up carrying traditional streamer flies and went over to very small marabou streamer patterns tied on short shank scud hooks after seeing the schools of emerald shiners on the EB and the unknown small minnows on the Millers. The short shanked hook allows the material to move around and if kept two inches or less in length will not result in short strikes.

Layer your marabou from light (white) on the bottom layer to darker layers as you move up. Throw in a strip of mylar and your done.



Anonymous said...

Nice simple streamer pattern. I have reverted to Gartside Soft Hackles streamers, and small Thundercreeks as my main fishing streamers. The one featherwing I carry is the Black Ghost (marabou works good too).

Millers River Flyfisher said...


Marabou is now my most used streamer material. I haven't tied a fixed wing in years and I used to be pretty good at it.


Hibernation said...

Ha - I do the same thing with Marabou and craft fur Ken! Thought I was a genius, now I realize there are at least two of us :)! ha ha ha! That said, I have been playing with a craft fur baby brookie for the swift on a short shank hook that's killer, craft fur tail, with a body made of craft fur and a little orangish dubbing in a loop and trimmed.

Those materials - marabou and craft fur - they just wiggle and flow so freely, even in slow water. They work awesome!

Small streams are awesome. A few in my neck of the woods - lets say between the Quabbin and Worcester and the NH line - have been producing fish nicely already :)

Have a super week,

Millers River Flyfisher said...


I used to use craft fur on striper flies years ago. Thanks for the tip. My favorite native streams are north of Quabbin.


Brk Trt said...

The real deal those wild natives.
They keep me going, for there's a new adventure in every stream.

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Brk Trt,

You should know!!!


tincup said...

On mass web page the stocking has begun and the swift got a batch already. Wasn't it just last year that the swift was one of the last to get spring time fish Nice to see the change in distribution. Not that the weather looks good for the week ahead.

Johnson From Accounting said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Millers River Flyfisher said...

Bob (tincup),

I think that was 2 years ago when the Swift was at the bottom of the list. Glad to see that it's changed. Of course the place will get clobbered by the bait boys.


Parachute Adams said...


Though the Swift got stocked on the 8th, the cold weekend and upcoming Nor'Easter may give the trout time to scatter some which would be good for future prospects of enticing a few to the fly. The weather scenario may make for some nice early spring fly fishing. That is what I am hoping for.