Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

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!!



Parachute Adams said...

Great read, Ken. I'm glad you had good action with solitude that I seek as well when fly-fishing. We are indeed fortunate to live in close proximity to good trout waters. Keep up the good work with your wonderful blog site.

I'm glad that fella caught that rainbow he's been after for a while. Good for him! I hooked my brush pile brown a couple of weeks ago, and have never felt such power as I tried to control it, but I could not keep it from tangling me in sub-surface wood. At least I coaxed it to the fly though!

Best, Sam

hockey_dad said...

Connecticut Lakes report

From 6-10 to 6-17 I was in Pittsburg NH and fished the Connecticut River each day. I fished below Murphy dam down to 145 in the morning and the Connecticut river up from Lake Francis campground at night.

Murphy Dam- plenty of water in there running at about 300cfs, caddis coming off but no rises. Noticed there weren't many fisherman about and was told by a guide that they were about 2 weeks behind due to high water and cold water temps - sounds familiar. Great !Still I kept at it each day did get some bumps but the consensus was that they just aren't biting. Ran into a guy who told me he helped with a stocking that was done by the state and TU a couple of weeks back where they put in multiple 3 year old fish - that was enough to keep me at it all week. The same guy said there is pressure to make this area ( below Murphy Dam down to middle of Pittsburg) Catch and Release. To me that makes sense especially if they are going to be putting 3 year old fish in there- it is a great stretch of water !

Connecticut River: Lake Francis campground upstream toward Doc's Pool

Fished this stretch each night which has great pocket water with huge bolders and holds brookies, rainbows and salmon. Again flows were just right in here as well and I just about had the place to myself after Sunday. The bugs drive you nuts in here especially if its hot which it was - 2 days in the 90's which is very unusual for Pittsburg. On Wednesday night had some good luck as I caught my first keeper salmon, then another salmon that was a good one too and then broke one off all in the space of 15 minutes. I was in shock ! It was about 7:15pm and the fly was a #10 wood duck heron emerger.

Boundary Pond- day started of well as I saw a young moose along the road between 1st and second lake, it was a treat because the moose herd has been decimated up there by ticks and only within the last 2 years has made something of a comeback. Going to Boundary is not for the casual fisherman- its 13 miles of dirt road (1hr) similar to what you see on the road along the EB at Chesterfield Gorge. Bolders sticking up, ruts and washouts are what you have to contend with and you better not break down because no cell service and very few people. Every radio station is French because you are right on the tip top of the US but I have to say when you finally get to Boundary the trip is worth it as it is a beautiful mountain pond with spectacular views. Boundary has some fat brookies and I've been in there 10 times and probably 80% of the time I've caught some very great fish but this was not one of those times. The wind was blowing like crazy the whole 4 hours I was there and spun me around like a top in the little skiff I got from Lopstick - what a joke that was. I would have been better off fishing from shore and in fact some guys came in after me and did get some from shore in that very strong wind. It was a 10 hour trip and I was exhausted when I got back- I can't wait to go to Boundary again next year !

I caught fish each day except 1 and had a good time.

Millers River Flyfisher said...


Thank you. I knew that you would like that!!


Thank you for the great report. It's been a while since I've been there!


Josh S. said...

Hockey- I hunt the boundary pond area, it's a HIKE to get up there. Surprised to see someone on this blog mention fishing it, good to know. I need to get up to Pittsburgh for some fly fishing.

Looking forward to the regulation change on the swift this coming week!

Ken, your right in that that section of the MB is spectacular. Hidden gem.

Patrick Maloney said...

How many more WB posts until that solitude that you seek is no longer possible just like the EB on the weekends and the Swift 90% of the time? I've already seen access along the WB reduced dramatically over the last few years and I saw another gentleman for the first time at a spot deep in the woods over the weekend. I'm glad you had success like I did over the weekend. I like the technique talk and reviews but get worried that the fishing pressure is going to increase. I know you disagree but you know what they say about opinions.

Anonymous said...

Nice entry. Where would you recommend a first timer to try the WB? I don't know the area so I wouldn't even know where to drive or what place to put in the GPS. Thanks!

Millers River Flyfisher said...


I'll always have solitude because I do a lot of fishing during the week and not on weekends. The Swift was jammed 30 years ago because it's a tailwater. I've been beating the drum for the Millers and I still usually fish alone or within sight of one angler.n It's too bad that people don't fish many different rivers!!

Anonymous - Google Huntington Ma. and start from there!


hockey_dad said...

Josh- good to hear another Blog reader has ventured in to Boundary Pond. I didn't know it was a good place to hunt as well. Yes, I would encourage you to fly fish at Boundary because you hear about solitude and read about on this Blog but you can truly experience it at Boundary Pond.

Jon said...

Hi Ken, hope all is well,

I went back to the Orcutt Pool this morning (at 5:30am) and caught a nice 15 inch rainbow in the same spot we broke on off on Friday (see attached photo). It was in the same spot as Friday, maybe it was the same fish. I kept the rod low and at an angle and let him tire himself out a little and was able to land him. I used a size 8 olive bugger.

I also went over to the Trestle pool but had no luck there (but there were 2 beavers making a heck of a lot noise splashing around).

Thanks again for your help,
Attachments area

Millers River Flyfisher said...


Good Work. We got some there last night!


Bill/Tully said...

Went to Orcutt tonight. Cool waters. Nothing from 6-8. Not even pumpkinseeds. Went to dries at 8. Got a few rises/refusals. Moved up above the bridge as it was pretty dark. Figured I'd try a few more casts. Gave myself 5 more casts at 9pm. Fifth cast and boom. Very nice rainbow that was quite feisty and filled up my whole net. Irresistible Adams(12). Big fish, cool water, night time, nice night. Thanks for continuing to say, fish late.

Anonymous said...


The later the better. It's the best time of the year on a freestone!


Gary Cranson said...

Dry fly morning on the EB 5 bows fooled,4 with a #12 High Float Attractor Plus, the last with a regular #14 High Float Attractor, saw 3 other fly fisherman headed up river (pressure). The EB flow is down fishing is good. PS Deep in the woods on the WB, its no more than 2 football fields from rt 20 the whole length from Huntington to Chester proper, with River Rd. on the other side 90% of the way.

Millers River Flyfisher said...


I wish I was there!!! I think I know where you were fishing. I did well there last Sunday on a short trip. I'm going back!