Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

Friday, April 21, 2017

The Sky Is Falling, Basic Truths And A Millers, Ware And Squannie Report

Some of us have short memories. Some of us always have to feel like we are always short changed. The basic fact is that the stocking this Spring is on an average pace with big rivers like the Millers getting into the game late because of high water. Did some of you FORGET the Spring of 2015 when everything was late? If you want something to worry about then travel back to 1987 when they STOPPED stocking the Millers or back to 2002 when they ceased stocking browns. It was a lot of work to get those decisions reversed.

Don't worry about it. Your favorite river will be stocked. You should go out and fish!!!

Will the Anonymous folks please keep the opinions down especially when it comes to river bashing. You haven't a chance of getting on this blog.

Here are some basic truths that appear to have been lost in the mix:

TRUE - Tenkara style fishing may be the most effective nymphing method ever devised.

TRUE - 5x and even 4x tippet can be used ANYWHERE on the Swift (or any tailwater) and will effectively catch trout with a subsurface fly. 7x or 8x is simply not needed with subsurface presentations.

TRUE - A 4 weight fly rod of 8 to 9 feet and of moderate action may be the perfect dry fly rod. You can cast large flies and the smallest flies without problems. You can beat a stiff wind with it or lay down a delicate cast on a calm glassy pool. Getting deep into the LOW numbers (0, 00, 000) will get you into the land of novelty rods with limited practical use.

True - Flex Seal fixes leaky waders!

Here's what Charlie at Evening Sun Fly Shop has to say:

The Squannacook River is running a bit high with clear fishable water.On 4/14/2017 the river was stocked from top to bottom with 2000 brook trout only, ranging in size from 10-13 inches.The fish are starting to take some bugs on the surface and with some soft hackles swung under the surface with a bit of weight on the leader.Retreiving some streamers is working well also,but with a somewhat slower retreive.By the time the sun gets on the water next week we should see some good hatches of Quill Gordons and the Red Quills won't be far behind.Come get "em before the Blue Herons do!!!!

Comment: Brookies only?????????????????????? Never saw that before!!

Fish the Ware River. We had double digit hookups and saw NO FLYFISHERS. We saw three spin fishers. Two of them caught and released their fish!!! What a place!!!!!

UPDATE - Well, the Millers has been stocked with a CFS of over 800 (Erving) and still rising.  BE VERY CAREFUL! Even placid Orcutt will be dangerous. At least it will move the fish around instead of having them stay put as when stocked in low flow conditions or when float stockers dump the majority in certain pools and then go back and fish for them latter. (that's the rumor that was given to me with a wink/wink, nod/nod.)



Hibernation said...

Love your comments here Ken. It does feel like people often gain a new idea, determine it's gospel, and then have to stake an opinion as far to one end of the spectrum as possible, without ever questioning self bias. But, that's a discussion for much bigger issues...

Great on the Ware - very cool river (with some cool blue lines running into it as well I might add...)

I've not double checked the gauges, but the Millers has to be close to greased lightening with the rain last night/today... May be another week or so before a full dose of "wards of the state' are loaded there. Now's the time to get out on the little waters or medium streams. There are so many with fish - at least till the catch and keep crew finishes them off in a couple months ;).

Ill challenge you though on the tenkara thing... I'd say any fly rod used with a relatively short line but similar strategy is the best thing for nymphing since apples and cinnamon were added to pancakes! In other words, tenkara is perhaps simpler given no reel... but the basic strategy is not that different from, the way we used to fish worms and mealies to trout "back in the day"...

So, not really a challenge :), just a personal theory - checking my bias right there, ha ha ha!

Have a super day and enjoy the water!

BobT said...

The larger rivers have fish on the edges. I was out in the area last week and wading many places is silly and dangerous. If you are in a place with heavy current near the bank, move. You can put the boots on and wade just enough to get a good angle but you really only need to be fishing within 3 feet or less from the banks. I was running a prince and a softie both #12 all day and pricked a shocking number of fish within a couple feet of the bank. I am anxious to try the Ware again-I haven't fished it since Paul Kukonen had his store in Worcester and I had a freshly minted drivers license. I will be back in the area Tuesday-I may try to get there then.

Anonymous said...

I think a reel and fly line are good insurance . After extolling the virtues of tenkara to me , a fella hooked a corker the rod doubled over and the line snapped . He turned to me and said " It does have limitations ". I am not a dyed in the wool nympher but having tinkered with a 10' nymph rod , an airflo euro nymph line and a relatively short leader of 7-10 feet , I am suprised at how effective that system is . It was nice to have that reel full of fly line this winter when that 21" brown tore ass downstream . I agree if your not into specialized equipment a 9' 4wt is a great all around rod . I'm a stubborn guy who likes a 9' 3wt . Dan

Spencer Borden said...

Suggestions for flys to try on the Ware Ken?

Parachute Adams said...

In baseball language, I have a hole in my swing. Sub surface I get my share, an outright rising to surface may flies I am there and get hits with the flies I tie over winter nights. When it comes to emergers, I have something to learn.

Beautiful and good sized trout porposing time after time in the zone I was casting in would not take anything. My fly was in the area of one rise and I thought it hit my fly, but nothing doing. There is something going on that I just don't seem to get. Any advice would be appreciated.

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Thank you will. Always a good comment!


Look up the DHE emerger. It mimicks that stage of the mayfly and is very visible. It works when standard dries don't.


I agree that not having a reel can put the odds in the trout's favor BUT I and my clients have taken numerous trout over 18 inch including the monster on my blog that was over 20 inches. Most fish are handled nicely.

Bob T,

Paul Kukonen - Now that's a name from the past!!


Any flies that you like


BobT said...

Paul Kukonen gave me a map to fish the Ware! Said it was good and it was...but logistically its been tough to get back. All I remember is prison camp road??

Falsecast said...

Hi Ken - I've been out to the Squannakook and Nissitissit the past couple of days and caught a bunch of those Brookies. I did also notice a ton of tiny (fry sized) fish in the pools below where the Dam was removed on the Niss. If they are Brookies, they are the most I have seen there in 20 years and could be a good sign for that river. In fact, it's rare to catch a wild brookie there if not right near one of the brooks. Not sure I ever have and have fished there for a long time. I talked to Charlie about it and he is going to go down there and check it out. BTW, I've known Charlie for years and some of the readers here that may not know him, I can honestly say he is a very knowledgeable fly fisherman, has a great shop (I just bought a 5wt reel from him), wonderful service and pricing but, most importantly, he's one of the nicest guys you'll meet on the river.

I got skunked at the Quinny. Why? I have no idea? Usually after stocking it's a killing. I also didn't see a lot of people? Makes me wonder if the fish got blown down stream or all caught?

Will - I totally agree with your view of Tenkara. IMHO, and I maybe in the minority here, it's a way over hyped "method" and sort of a marketing thing. I do agree, that as a pack rod or something, it is great. Very compact.

Planning to hit the Housy this week. Happy Spring!

Parachute Adams said...

My gosh, what a mayfly hatch on the lower Swift today, Ken. I'm sure you would know what they were, but I don't. So big I thought they were small humming birds Haha!. No kidding, this mayfly hatch was something else. The trout were eating them up plenty which made for a wonderful time when I got my closest imitation into the zone.

Today was as good as it gets.

David Powelstock said...

@Andrew: Spot on about Charlie Shadan. A great guy with tons of knowledge, enormous enthusiasm, and a generous willingness to share what he knows. I'm planning to try the Nissitissit tomorrow (Monday) morning. Wish me luck!

Millers River Flyfisher said...


Great hatch of Q. Gordons Saturday on the Ware. Always fun to see that!

Let me know how you did on the Nissitissit.


Len said...

I started yesterday on the Quaboag. The river seemed to be running a bit high and was rust/brown colored. I explored three different spots with no luck, and decided to hit the Ware. Fished the Ware from about 12pm-4pm. There was an awesome mayfly hatch, which based on Ken's comment above, was a quill gordon. Lots of caddis in the air too. Even with all the mayflies, amazingly I didn't see any trout. None rising, none cruising, nothing. I did find a pod of rising fish which ended up being spawning fallfish. They are quite pretty in their spawning orange highlights. Frustrating to strike out on trout when there are mayflies floating down the stream in such numbers, but a great day on the water nevertheless. I'm guessing all the bright sun had them reluctant.

Erik said...

Hi Ken. Love this blog, thanks for all the incredible information, it is really appreciated.

Concerning Tenkara.... I have been exclusively fishing Tenkara for five years now (except for occasional bass fishing on Lakes with a 6 weight conventional fly rod).... mostly on the Millers, Swift (only in the winter) and some thin blue lines tucked away in NH. For me, it is clearly a better method given my style of fishing and what I hope to get out of a day on the river. Obviously, if you are trying to incorporate the same methods and approach you would use with your conventional 4 weight and reel, Tenkara has several limitations. However, besides for the major advantages of pinpoint short casts and a direct connection to the fly, packability and the ease in which I can incorporate hiking into my time on the river, Tenkara has other assets (not necessarily advantages, but just characteristics that I find appealing). First of all, the limited casting distance, allows me to focus on the water right around me instead of being distracted by the the "water always looks better on the other side of the river" temptation. As I am sure all will admit, more fish are caught within 30 feet than outside of 30 feet. But, what I find most interesting is how more involved I have to be when targeting and hopefully ultimately landing a fish. What I mean is that I am constantly moving. If I want to cast to a further distance, I have to get further into the river which is part of the joy of being on the water. When I land a bigger fish, I need to move with the fish as it takes its runs. In general, my movement takes the place of the reel, which I imagine for some is a drawback, but more me it makes my time on the river even more immersive. These assets did not become apparent to me until I completely dedicated myself to the method. When I first switched over, I found it limited because I was trying to fish the way I did with my 8.5' 4 weight. Once, I realized it was not going to replace that method, but was an entirely new method with some overlap, I began to really appreciate the approach. Everyone is of course welcome to express their opinions, but unless you have really dedicated yourself to the method, consider that you may not totally understand.

As for nymphing, I agree that Tenkara is superior to a conventional fly rod because the 13 or so foot rod with all line off the water really allows you to vault over shifting currents and allow the nymph to drift naturally. I understand you can use a conventional rod in a similar way, but the length of a Tenkara rod gives it the advantage in that situation.

Hibernation said...

Bob T - That's the uppper Ware, closing in on the burnshirt. That said, the area just below there has an awesome Hexagenia hatch some years.

Not sure if they still do, but NEFT and or TU used to stock that area each year - as well as the state. I'm not sure how well it hold's fish over, though I'm sure some do. It definitely gets pounded pretty heavily most years.

I think the area Ken is mostly referencing (and Ken, feel free to correct me) is from South Barre down through Ware and below. The whole thing is fun to fish, but that area Ken has discussed, especially from Gilbertville down, feels like the millers, only a smidge smaller - at least to me. Fishes in some ways similar... and as it warms, you can have some awesome SMB fishing in conjunction with trout.

Glad to hear some one agree's with me Falscast :)... Not that common :)!!! ha ha ha!

Happy fishing folks!

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Glen, Eric and Will,

Thank you for your good comments, especially Eric. You get it!!!


David Powelstock said...

So, the Nissitissit was pretty much a bust, at least for me. One other guy I ran into caught a couple of stocked brookies below the Hollis St. bridge. (I saw one, which I spooked.) I was also up in the Colombo area for a while. There was a significant mayfly hatch on. Fish were feeding, but I found the wading tough. Not very familiar with the stream. It was deepish, and there was a combination of big flat rocks (great!) and detritus and silt (not so great). I kept sinking into the latter! Now, dry fly fishing is not my strong suit. I missed a few hits, then hooked up with...a creek chub! It was pretty big one, and any time I hook up on the surface I find it pretty exciting, but still, not what I was looking for! After that I wondered whether ALL those rises were creek chubs or whether some might have been trout. What's your experience, Ken--would both species be found rising together? I gave up on that stretch earlier than I might have otherwise, because the wading difficulties.

For all that, it was a lovely day to be outside. And I sighted a bear in the woods in Colombo! That was a first for me.


David Powelstock said...

Erik, I totally agree about the virtues of Tenkara! It really strips away (pardon the pun) a lot of things that tend to keep me from focusing on the water.