Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

Friday, June 30, 2017

A Freestone Update, The Swift Is Stocked And Summer Evenings

"Fly patterns are like literature: endless variations on a handful of themes.  The good ones are the ones that work, for whatever reason, and the great ones are those that survive beyond their own generation." - John Gierach

What a difference a year makes!! Last year at this time the freestone rivers that I fish (Millers, Ware and the Westfield Branches) were toast. Now they are perfect!!!! The WB did well for me last Sunday and also produced this week. The EB worked well for Gary during a "dry fly morning" as he described it. I spent the week guiding on the Millers and we caught trout every EVENING.

I put the word EVENING in caps because it is important. There are those that still consider the Millers unfishable during the summer. They are totally wrong. If you want to fish during bankers hours go to the Farmie or the Swift but if you want some REAL summer fishing hit the water by 7pm on the Millers or very early in the morning (5am) on any of above mentioned rivers.

Also, try to stay clear of the tributary mouths. I have seen trout packed in where Whetstone Brook enters the Millers with guys fishing right on top of them. Connecticut has a law against fishing near certain brooks flowing into the Housie during the summer. So should we!!!

Flies To Use - Use any fly that you want BUT I would never be on the Millers (or any other river) this time of year without tan and olive comparaduns in 14 and 16, Soft hackles (of course) in partridge and Olive or Orange and my reduced buggers.

Another bit of conventional wisdom debunked is that trout stop hitting if there is lightning in the air. We had two good evenings shortened when storms began to approach but we continued to hook up. The trout didn't care but we did, getting off the water with plenty of time to spare.

The Swift - The regulations change below RT 9 on July 1 to C&R and that river should get some fish if it hasn't already. With the freestones running full I've had little time to fish the Swift but that should change this coming week. I'll keep you posted. Note: The Swift was stocked today (Friday June 30)!

I'll be chasing stripers from 7/8 to 7/15 and then guiding in the evenings through Labor Day. Want to try a new river during the best time of year? Contact me!


Sunday, June 25, 2017

A West Branch Morning

I believe that the solution to any problem - work, love, money, whatever - is to go fishing, and the worse the problem, the longer the trip should be" - John Gierach

At 6:30 am the car thermometer read 56 degrees. Perfect! At 6:45 the West Branch of the Westfield read 58 degrees. More than perfect! I needed this small break and that small break would be on the prettiest trout stream that I've been fishing which is the West Branch of the Westfield.

This river looks like a miniature version of the Deerfield with similar topography, steep hills that seem to run right down to the river but WITHOUT the crazy flow regimes, WITHOUT the rafting, Without the tubing riff raff and without the swimmers. Nothing against swimmers but I thought that's what ponds are for!

I was intent on devoting a few hours to some runs that earlier in the year, during high water, just screamed for a dry fly. Today,at 80 CFS, the flow was perfect. It would be a dry fly morning!

My first stop was the Wright Run which local legend Gary turned me onto. The bushy Elk Hair Caddis (mine are tied with deer hair) took a bow and a brown from the riffles down through the gentle water. One trout came up to inspect the offering and then snubbed me (I take it personally) and then would not rise again. Then I went down to the Old State Bridge and had another trout perform the same act. This is a great spot but I just don't seem to do well in this section.

I met another flyfisher who was leaving who took a giant bow that he had been working over for a few weeks. "Were you nymphing" I asked? "No, got it on a streamer" he replied!! Let's hear it for the retro techniques!!!!

The last spot was the "Hole in the Woods" where I landed a good 16 inch bow and lost another trout to a bad knot! I was on the water at 7am and off by 9:15. I needed that time in a nice place without the crowds. I'm lucky to live close to good water. Actually I may have designed it that way. I couldn't think of living beyond a 40 minute drive from good trout water and I don't!!


Thursday, June 22, 2017


The Millers is HOT right now. Fish it very early in the morning (7am or earlier) or fish it after 6pm until dark especially on a cloudy day.

Work soft hackles or my reduced buggers ( search my site for the recipe. I should re-post on that) and you should do well.

Some areas like my favorite section in Erving Center are still unfishable but Bridge St., the Kempfield Section and Orcutt have been getting it done.

This weekend is shaping up to be GOOD!!! Go do it!


P.S. Don't forget the Bears Den!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, June 19, 2017

A Few Hours On The Millers And Your Comments

"Ah, the Adams, the finest of dry flies, everyone's favorite, a triumph of expressionism. The Adams is the only fly I carry that has a box all to itself" - John Gierach

"Strike while the iron is hot" the old saying goes and Sunday morning  meant a two hour fishing window and it was going to be spent on the Millers. In over thirty years of fishing the Millers this year and it's high water made this place unfishable well into June. Fish it now before something else happens!!

The flies of choice were the Yellow and Partridge Soft hackle in a size 12. This particular fly is tied with a brand of floss called UNI-FLOSS (Uni Products Inc) that they call Brite Yellow. The neat thing is that it's only yellow when it's dry. When wet it turns into a pale orange that almost has a glow to it. When it dries out it's back to yellow. I bought mine at the Deerfield fly Shop. BTW, the bobbin pictured is the grand old S&M bobbin which famous tier and author A.K. Best calls the best ever. It is!!

Things looked too crowded (there were 2 people there) at Bridge Street so off to Orcutt that had only one other angler fishing the run below the brook. So I walked over the bridge, slid down the embankment, walked under the bridge and found myself directly across from the angler. That trick gave us plenty of room.

Start off easy with a mini peacock bugger and that took a 16 inch bow who fought like a bow thrashing the surface from hook set to netting. Things got slow so I switched over to the above mentioned soft hackle and after a dozen casts I noticed TWO trout rising quickly in the seam line by the opposite bank. The lower one was out of range with too many weird currents in place but the upper one had a three foot window to present the fly before it got dragged downstream. The second cast did the trick and in fact the trout chased it out of the window to get at it. Another surface smashing bow for the effort.

Ended up going below the Holtshire bridge where I took a brown which was the fish I was after.

So, 2 hours and three Summer trout from the Millers where there is plenty of water which is so much different than last Summer.

Your Comments make this blog rock!  Every post of mine is greeted with over 10 comments and the vast majority of them are from YOU!!.  It's like a blog within a blog with the knowledge and insight that you bring.  Keep it coming!!!

Jack Rovers - Does that cork look familiar??  Thank You!


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Summer Trout,The Evening Rise And This Weekend

"Summer Time and the living is easy, fish are jumpin and the cotton is high" - George Gershwin

We are now shifting into Summer mode and that means a shift in tactics which could reward you with the best fishing of the season. I'm not talking about abandoning the freestone (natural) rivers and packing into the tailwaters like sardines but staying on the freestones. I'm not talking about fishing the same time of day that you fished in April and May but fishing early evening into dusk through July and August. It's the evening rise, that enchanted time that has been in our pastime's literature for over a century. It's that time when the sun sinks behind the hills, the air begins to cool, the shadows hit the water AND THE TROUT BEGIN TO RISE. In decades of fishing the Millers and the EB the BEST fishing for me has not been in the Spring over freshly stocked trout or in the Fall over freshly stocked trout but on Summer evenings over browns that have wised up and just loved to work the surface for emerging insects. And I have pretty much had these rivers to myself as many fly fishers spent their banking hours on the Swift and the Farmington asking permission to fish close to someone. Not my game for sure!!!

It takes a shift of habit to make this work. Living close to good natural rivers is a bonus but if you plan to play hookey for a full day by going miles to find a tailwater try leaving work by late afternoon and heading to a freestone and getting there by 6pm. Work soft hackles and other emergers OR a large terrestrial until you begin to see rising trout and then switch to an appropriate surface pattern. Following a dry in the low light of a summer evening dusk as it floats among surface working fish is a RUSH. Seeing that fly TAKEN in an almost casual manner can't be described!!!

Don't follow the newbee advice that you need to fish a 2 weight with dries. 4 and 5 weights are all you need. It's all I need.

After a evening of this fishing your ride home will be sublime and you will be planning the next event. Do what the great fly fishers did BEFORE they built tail waters: they fished the Evening Rise from June through August!!

The rivers are perfect including the Millers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This early weekend will have some cool morning temperatures on the Millers and the EB and you should do well through the morning hours. Then hit the rivers in the evening and hit them all summer long at that time!!

I can also take you there!!!


Monday, June 12, 2017

The Riffle Walker And An update

"Trout are among those creatures who are one hell of a lot prettier than they ought to be. They can get you wondering about the hidden workings of reality" John Gierach

This is a simple fly that is close to the the old elk hair caddis except there's no elk hair and no unsightly hair stubble above the hook eye. It floats like a cork and looks more like a caddis than the EHC.

Hook - size 14 to 18

body - your choice of color but olive and gray work well.

Hackle - brown grizzly palmered over the body and a size that is TWO times smaller than normally used for the hook you are using (why brown grizzly? I dyed a half cape a few years ago and it looks good so I use it. A good somber color like a caddis.)

Wing - blue dun CDC hackle fibers

Front hackle - blue dun dry fly hackle to match the hook.

I worked up a few and they float well and caught a fish or two. More on this pattern shortly.

It was a good weekend on the rivers that I report on with the flows coming down and the trout coming up. This heat wave breaks Tuesday and this week/weekend could be the best. Try the Ware in the evening this week or the EB. I think the Millers will be behaving this weekend. Finally!!!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

This Flooded Weekend - Where To Go

Check the map above. That's where we stand at 4:30 pm on Thursday June 8.  Blue dots mean heavy water but some rivers will come down quickly. The EB and The Ware will be fishable tomorrow. The EB will get down to a "high" fishable level tomorrow and should be ok if the forecast stays the same. The EB has been dropping at an average of 15 cfs each hour = fishable this weekend!
The Ware has been SLOWLY dropping and should be fine by Sunday. The Millers is in flood stage but may be ok in a week. Fish the Swift if you don't want to deal with heavy flows.  It's at 52 cfs!!!

Above are some photos of the West Branch of the Westfield. This is great water and you should try it.
Book a time and we will do it!

All of this information just doesn't come from me but a trusted network of seasoned fly fishers who know their rivers. I'm always out there scoping things out, giving you river flows, telling you what rivers are fishing well and telling you some true fish story's.  I want you to fish well in places that are fishing well and these places are public waters  Nothing wrong with that unless you are really retentive!


Sunday, June 4, 2017

A Westfield Weekend, The WB and The Eb And Email Me Westfield Gary!

"I think I fish, in part, because it's an anti-social, bohemian business, that when done properly, puts you forever outside the mainstream culture without landing you in an institution" - John Gierach

Gary - Email me.  My email address in on the top of this website. I'll take you up on your offer.

Friday morning broke clear and cold because 37 degrees on any mid New England morning in early June is cold but in this case it was welcome as Brad and I hit the West Branch of the Westfield (known hereafter on this blog as the "WB"). This is such a relief from the torrid temperatures and bone dry conditions of last year that I'm not going to complain.

We ran into my friend Gary who gave some directions to a spot that can't be beat (I love directions like that) and we said that we would make it into that neck of the woods in a few hours.

Fishing was fun but slow until we made our way Gary's "Spot" where we began to pick up fish. Brad got hot with larvae patterns and I worked a pheasant tail. I got a mixed bag of bows and browns picking up the browns in the slower water below Brad. Brad got the bows.

The fish were in the 10 to 12 inch range and perfect for this size stream. All told we caught about 15 between us.

Saturday I met my client on the EB at the Gorge. It was good to see that the water was down and that the fish were not clustered in pods like newly stocked fish usually are. My client hadn't fly fished in 15 years but the rust easily wore off (he lived in Montana so we expect a quick re-learning curve) and we were quickly into fish at the Bliss Pool. A nice brown came to the net at Chronicle Corner also. We ran into fly fishermen who all claimed fish caught, not in the post stocking bragging numbers but in those "I had a good day" numbers.

That's all we ask for!


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Weekend Rivers, A Hornberg Redo And Fly Fishing Solitude

"I don't know about you, but I can get tired of fishing in a crowd, even when the fishing itself is real good.....I can even be sociable and have made some friends along trout rivers, but to me a large part of fly fishing is the quiet and solitude" - John Gierach, Fly Fishing Small Streams

This may be a decent weekend. Actually it could be downright great. A lot of the rivers are coming down and their temperatures are from 55-65 degrees. I'll be up on the West Branch of the Westfield (WB) Friday, on the EB Saturday and hopefully the Millers Sunday. I've got the WB on the brain and have actually dreamt about the place. More on that river later and yes, I guide there.

The Hornberg is a classic wet fly and a classic dry fly rolled into one.This version above is strictly a dry that I will probably pull under on a strip retrieve to entice a trout. It's construction is slightly different than the usual version:

Size 12 to 14 dry fly hook
yellow or green dubbing for the body
A bunch of CDC feathers tied along the back
One barred mallard breast feather tied flat along the back
grizzly hackle at the shoulder

This fly is a real riffle walker (hmm...that's a good fly name) and it can take a beating and just continue to float. This is a good caddis and stonefly imitation.

The reoccurring theme with most of the people that I guide is that they want to fish a river or section of river that is not crowded. I'm glad that I attract fly fishers like that. I think that if I "guided" them to the Pipe or the Y Pool or to Rezendez for the day they would be asking for their money back.
That's why I guide on six different rivers and visit multiple locations on each. They get to know their way around a river and they get the monies worth and catch trout! The weird thing is that some people have to go where everyone else is and that is probably due to some need to be seen like being seen at the hottest club in NYC. Can rubbing shoulders with celebrities and the best Manhattan hotties equal being around the fly fishing illuminati and big trout along the Farmington? Gierach says that he has met fly fishers who will only fish rivers that they have read about. I made my case.

We all love to catch nice trout and it's nice to see blogs that see something other than fish but the places where fish live. Small Stream Reflections, that great blog from Connecticut, will show you wild trout (beautiful) but will give you a glimpse of their world (beautiful) instead of a list of mug shots. I try to do the same with river scenery shots that will remind you of fly fishing on a mid January night quicker than fish porn. Note to self- take a photography course!

We are becoming more like golfers in our endless (and pointless) discussions over the merits of one piece of equipment over another. Really, what's the difference in a $400 road and a $700 rod besides hype and markup. One friend of mine, well known in the eastern Massachusetts fly fishing establishment, has said good-bye to the Swift because people there can't stop talking about equipment and technique. I said that's only because of the crowded conditions where he fishes on the Swift. "Find a lonely place and nobody will bug you". I hope he does but the truth is we have become obsessed with "stuff" to the delight of tackle manufactures and retailers. The endless pursuit of the best rod, the best reel, the best leader construction and so forth brings us back to the old saying: It's not the arrow, it's the archer!!!

Yes, I'll be guiding on the West Branch BUT will not be so open about locations. Hints will be dropped.