Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

An EB Morning And The Seasons Change

"Tailwaters are what Thomas McGuane called "the great theme parks of American fly fishing," with their more or less stable water temperatures and artificially inflated populations of insects and fish. They are irresistible for all kinds of reasons, but all of those trout breed the peculiarly postmodern sense that anything short of a 20 fish day is a bust, so when things are slow there's the temptation to lie about numbers or to vaguely allow that you are "getting your share" - John Gierach

The car thermometer read 46 degrees when I pulled off to park just before the BIG gate at the Bend Run on the EB. Then came the 15 minute walk down to Les's Pool and then a morning of hopscotching upstream ending at the Bliss Pool. The EB has been a question mark this year. With the exception of 2016 (drought) this may be the slowest season I've experienced on this river in 20 years. There are fish there but not in the insane numbers that we have gotten accustomed to which is a good thing if you like to have a mile or so of river to yourself. I think it's a good thing!

My hope was to find some rising fish at Les's, 2 Mile Run and the Bend during the morning. Actually I haven't fished the EB in the morning since June which is a safe bet during the Summer but with the air temperatures of late it was time to change tactics.

There were rising trout but they were cruising around which makes targeting them difficult and others were simply beyond casting range. So I threw on a size 14 possum nymph with a weighted body (no bead) and began to slowly dredge the deepest parts of the pool. There is a quiet anticipation involved here as you wait for the "tap". The tap came and with a quick raising of the rod the fish was on!

Now, this is a DEEP pool with depths, I believe, that are in the 10 foot range and this bow headed to the bottom. My goal was not to let him run at will so he could wrap himself around a snag but to keep the rod high and force him up where he doesn't want to be and make him thrash and tire himself out on the surface which he doesn't want to do!! I won that battle but not after two reel screaming runs. It wasn't a giant trout but a bow of 14 inches who tried to use the depth to its advantage.

So did the next one!!

I then began to move upstream, landing one at 2 Mile on a large hairwing Adams and then getting one at Slant Rock (finally!! This pool has stumped me this year) All bows. I wanted to end this short adventure at the Bliss Pool but the sun was getting high so I decided to call it a morning

A few hours latter I got an email from friend and EB, MB and WB expert Gary who said he fished the EB over rising fish all morning and never saw a soul. I told him I was up by the Gorge and he said he was far below Indian Hollow. All I saw was a lone jogger which was perfect!

September 1 is almost here. We have lost a lot of daylight over the last month and the sun has the same strength and angle in the sky as it did in Mid April. The Summer doldrums are pretty much over and we are gearing up for the "Second Season" which is Fall. Book a trip now for the Swift, Millers, EB or the Ware. You will not regret it.


Saturday, August 26, 2017

Y Pool Revisited, The Dorotheas And Changing Brookies

"All I can do is keep reminding myself that Lee Wulff once said, " The last thing you should change is your fly", which is good advice that's easier to follow when you don't have five hundred flies to choose from".  John Gierach

First, let's talk about the brook trout. Our Swift River brookies are beginning to color up and it's only late August. They don't appear to be moving upstream yet but that will happen in about a month and that's when you will see a show that's unequaled in New England. Our wild brook trout population in the Swift is almost an embarrassment of riches and even though it's not a hidden mountain rill known to only a few it still has its own charm and magic. The magic being that 15 years ago the brook trout population was nowhere like it is today. We are fortunate!!

I finally made it to the Y Pool for the purpose of fishing it and I believe that it's the first time since February. I've brought some newcomers to the place over the Spring and Summer to show them what it's all about but now I have some more time to hit the place during "off" hours and days. One thing is You will never be alone at the Y!!

My Y Pool strategy is simple: fish it if there's plenty of room (usually there isn't) or head to the Bubbler Arm where there's always room no matter how many times I write about it. And there are trout. Not the pods of trout clearly visible in the Y but trout that appear out of nowhere if you are patient enough. Yesterday I met a guy up on the Arm who said that he hadn't even seen a trout. As he spoke I could see one bow just 10 feet behind him. I saw more after he left and took one plus a brookie of about 10 inches. The photo shows my favorite pattern for the Bubbler and it's a zebra midge knock-off from size 20 to 24. (notice I said knock-off instead of that hideous, overused term "variant". Changing a component of a fly, say color or one of the materials doesn't change the fly. It's still the same fly but just tweaked! If you don't think so just google "golden ribbed hare's ear" and see how many styles and colors pop up.It's still a GRHE!!)

After working the Arm I found plenty of room at the Y so I stepped in and joined the list of those that hadn't caught any of the rising trout that could be seen. At least I got a good hit on a size 24 Dorothea which was a fly recommended by Dan Trella. I thought that it was a bit late in the season for this fly but a few naturals began to pop up and the trout seemed to rise for them. I ended up the next day at the Pipe and the brookies and bows were all over that fly!

The pattern is simple - yellow or olive thread for the body,possum for the thorax and snowshoe rabbit for the wing. Don't get discouraged with tying the wing on this tiny fly. The less material the better.

Speaking of the Swift - I guided two well traveled anglers from New Jersey to the Swift this past week. They were astounded by the numbers of trout that they could see in this river. I explained that the general belief is that the stockings were on the light side this year. They said that we are fortunate to have this river. They are right!!!


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Book Me Now And The Millers This Weekend

"The Millers is fertile in its own right, but the numerous wastewater treatment plants along it return water to the river that is technically clean but that includes even more nutrients. The result is a veritable insect factory that includes clouds of mayflies and caddis and astounding populations of stonefly nymphs and hellgrammites". Tom Fuller in Trout Streams of Southern New England

This Could Be YOU!!!!  Book Now For September, October And November!!

As many of you know I become a full time guide as of RIGHT NOW! That means I'm available 7 days a week and It's the perfect time to have this happen with Fall just around the corner. The Swift, the Millers, the EB and the Ware are all on the Fall stocking list and I can put you on those rivers and show you spots that are off the beaten track.  Last year the Millers and the Swift lead the list and  now with good flows the EB and the Ware will round right into form.

Don't wait as I'm booking up at a good pace and it will quicken as the days begin to cool.  Don't get left out!!

Remember, in two months we will be fishing the brookie run on the Swift. Pods of brookies followed by egg robbing bows and browns. It's the best time to fish the Swift!

Fish The Millers - The Millers got smacked by some heavy rain last night which brought the flow up to almost 300 cfs. It has settled down to about 230 which should last through the weekend. That river will start cooling down and having the sun set at 7:45 pm will help a lot. In short the surface action  will be starting earlier.

Also, don't forget the ANTS. The last two weeks of August ALWAYS produces major ant swarms in New England. Black in a size 20 usually works.


Friday, August 18, 2017

High & Dry With The Millers Bivisible, Your Comments And This Weekend

"Then I wrote it off as one of those days when I went fishing just to go fishing, not caring whether I caught anything or not - until I was on the water" - John Gierach

Note: a pair of Ovis sunglasses were lost by a reader down by Cady Lane. If you find them let me know!

Years ago I highlighted this fly on my blog as a sure fire way to bring trout UP during the Summer months. It got a very good response as fly fishers told the tales of good catches throughout New England while casting into the riffles and even pools with this creation. It still works as I took trout tonight on the Millers. It has the reputation as a riffle/pocket fly BUT it does well in calm sections of the river that you will fish. It will imitate caddis/stoneflies and land based insects that tumble into the water but it seems to work best in heavier currents because of its construction.

Hook - size 12 to 16 standard dry fly hook
Body - Gray works good and bright yellow seems to work better
Hackle - Any darker hackle from the rear to lighter hackle up front
Wing - Very fine deer hair tied straight up

The Bivisible name comes from two different colored hackles palmered in with the lighter up front. I've used darker up front and a lighter color throughout the mid and rear of the fly with good results. I've even taken a sharpie to color sections of the hackles and that worked too. Sometimes I've use the same color hackle for the whole fly. Color aside, it's a high floater with good visibility that looks like a living insect, stream born or terrestrial.

Note - don't crowd the hackles as you wind them in. Keep them sparse. It will float better. Use the dry "shake" powder and not the liquids or gels and stay away from the powder that comes with a brush. I'll explain that later.

My last 10 posts generated 129 comment and 70% were from YOU READERS!!!!! My platform, and all others, will not differentiation between your comments and mine and they get lumped together in the same total but I keep my words at a minimum (will answer questions directed to me) which means the comment section is YOUR section to respond, agree or disagree with what I say and you do this in great numbers! In short, this comment section is a blog within a blog with lots of information and insight. There's information in this blog's comment section that is invaluable and it is being read!!! There's no other regional source of fly fishing information that can claim this. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.

This weekend - Fish the Swift whenever you can but fish the others at dusk.  That's when the action starts!!!!


Monday, August 14, 2017

Learning To Cast And The Lower Millers.

"The trouble is, trout don't always play by the rules, so for every anatomically correct fly pattern that works, there's a corresponding Christmas tree ornament that works too" - John Gierach

One thing I've noticed over the last twenty years is that many fly anglers have been introduced to this pastime through the back door of nymphing. Nothing wrong with that because you will catch some fish. But what happens when you're not nymphing but actually have to CAST a fly or more correctly have to cast a fly line.? Let's face it, nymphing is not fly casting but more like fly lobbing or "chuck'n & duck'n". (And don't get me going about casting weighted flies on 30 foot leaders! The next step would be to buy a noodle rod, right??) More often than not the average nymph fisher is not a good caster and cannot deliver a dry fly or a sunken fly with any distance or accuracy. It's not his fault because that's the way he was taught. He can cast (lob) a weighted nymph rig but he's baffled by casting a fly line. (A sure sign of this is the fellow that needs a dozen false casts to launch a fly). The mechanics of casting a fly line are totally different.

What's the next step?  Instead of shelling out big bucks for a "dry fly rod", which will not improve your casting, you should take a casting lesson with a casting instructor. Notice that I said casting instructor and not a fly fishing lesson. One on One time to review your technique and to "retool" you will serve you very well in the future and keep you from being a "one trick pony" on a trout stream.  One instructor that will put you on the road to salvation is George Roberts of eastern Massachusetts.   Check him out!!!

Monday night had some surprises in store on the lower Millers. The Erving Center section, a real bear to wade at 250 cfs and almost impossible to wade at 350 is now a comfortable 150. This allows you to cast into areas that were beyond reach just a month or so ago. We spent 1.5 hours on that section and I landed 4 smallmouth, 3 bluegills AND 2 BROWN TROUT on dries. The browns were rising fish of about 12 to 14 inches and a careful wade into mid current put me into position for a 30 foot drag free presentation. The flies? One was a chewed up hopper and the other was a hornberg. I'll be back to this place soon. BTW, the lower Catch & Release section of the Millers ENDS at the bridge spanning the Millers on Arch Street and NOT were the local TU Chapter map says it does behind the paper mill. Just check out the C&R section of the DFW site to prove this.


Friday, August 11, 2017

Off The Beaten Track, This Weekend And Lenny The Machine

"The best fisherman I know try not to make the same mistakes over and over again; instead they strive to make new and interesting mistakes and to remember what they learned from them" - John Gierach

Sometimes it's good to drive past those local hot spots and get reacquainted with those seldom fished places. Many times they are "seldom fished" because they are on the short end of stocking run or maybe they're just a little to far away and the GOOD spots are right around the corner. Bondsville is one of them. That rainbow above was taken on a possum nymph by a client this week. It was a beautiful fish and probably hadn't seen an artificial fly in months. The same for the monster brown that we tempted but couldn't budge in low, dim light. I'll be back for him AND the brookies that seemed to have taken the night off. We saw no other anglers even though the Swift was jammed in the usual places.

If you're getting tired of the same old places take a few hours and check out Bondsville. The Y Pool and the Pipe will still be there. Bring a wading staff!!!

A possum nymph is as simple as you can get. Loose dubbing with some light copper wire to keep it all together and to add a bit of flash. I hit the back of this nymph with a brown sharpie for contrast. No beads but weight added to the hook shank is a good idea. Spawning brookies and redd robbing bows loved this fly last Fall which, by the way, is right around the corner.

The rivers are low but not that low. The Swift is holding steady but expect a flow increase if we don't get rain soon. The Millers and the EB are holding their own with very early morning and dusk being the rule. In fact, I heard of a banner EB evening on Wednesday with about a half dozen rainbows caught and almost as many lost and they were all caught on dry flies!!!!! Remember, we've lost a lot of daylight since we are almost 50 days past the longest day of the year. That means that the evening action starts earlier and you will not have to be out past 9 pm (unless you want to).

My friend Lenny is a fish catching machine!!!! Here he is on the Swift releasing one rainbow after another. That's the problem with the Swift - the bows are all identical!!

Catch some trout!!


Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Lonesome Swift And Fall Trips

"I used to like fishing because I thought that it had some larger significance. Now I like fishing because it's the one thing I can think of that probably doesn't" - John Gierach

Who would of thought that one of the most fly fished sections of a Massachusetts tailwater would be EMPTY on a Friday morning in mid-summer. Actually, it was empty last Sunday morning also and the time before that it was a ghost town. People have given up on the Pipe and the Tree Pool because they are not tripping over the trout as in years past. Guess what? The trout are there.

Commentor Bob O was right. The high flow from Quabbin earlier in the week moved the trout around and suddenly we had more bows to play with and the size of the brookies increased. Then the flow went down and we had perfect dry fly conditions! And those conditions included a tiny mayfly of an unknown species (unknown to me) around a size 20. I didn't have the brown body but I did have some snowshoe emergers of the right size. (note: color is the least important element in imitating an insect.)

The one other fly fisher there left shortly after I arrived. I began to work the Pipe Run with that tiny fly and instantly began to hook up with brookies and bows. That action continued right down to the Tree where I turned around and went back to the Pipe where I conducted a test run of some beetle concoctions that worked fine (more on those in the next post).

I will add that the Y Pool parking area and the overflow spot across from River Rd were filling up at 7 am and PACKED at 11 when I left. There may have been someone down by the Pipe at 11 but I can't recall. The morning ended with a short trip to Cady Lane and then taking a rainbow at the Gauge Run on a beetle.
All told I rose about 20 fish and landed a dozen, most of the emerger. I usually don't fish the Pipe section because of the crowds but if you find an empty parking area then this that spot!!

BTW, I'm starting to book up this Fall already as folks are starting to take advantage of my new "expanded hours". Contact me to secure a day!!


Friday, August 4, 2017

The Storms, The Swift And A Weekend Preview

Below Cairn's is the favorite pool of Sparse Grey Hackle, one in fact that he named the Wagon Tracks. At it's head is the ford where Chester Cairns used to cross the river to his cornfield. It was in the Wagon Tracks that Sparse developed his keen appreciation for night fishing. From Catskill Rivers by Austin M. Francis

"It is a gorgeous gambling game in which one stakes the certainty of long hours of faceless fumbling, nerve-racking starts, frights, falls, and fishless hours against the off-chance of hooking into - not landing necessarily or even probably, but hooking into - a fish as long and heavy as a railroad tie and as unmanageable as a runaway submarine" - A few words on night fishing, Catskill Rivers  by Austin M. Francis
A funny thing happened to the Swift this week. It went from its placid 46 cfs flow to about 110 cfs. That means that the flow in the Connecticut River has gotten low enough so water must be released from Quabbin to supplement the flow of the big river. This condition will last until we get some needed rain. That almost occurred last night as the EB watershed got hammered with the flow going from the 40's to over 200 within hours. That will bode well for the weekend for that river.
Note: 5:30 A. M. 8/4 - The Swift dropped overnight down to 48 cfs!  We may get into a Yo-Yo pattern which has happened in the past. Ken

The other rivers? Not a drop even though Wednesday night had wide spread flood warnings. The same was true for Vermont and New Hampshire which means that the big river will stay low while the Swift will be high.

The Swift is certainly fishable and I know many who prefer 110 cfs instead of something in the sub 50 range. I like the change of pace and the fact that it will move some fish around. Besides, it's a temporary thing anyway!

The Millers - the big storm of last night that went north of Erving must have dumped rain somewhere because the Millers went up about 40 cfs overnight. We played with some bows/browns down on the Kempfield section but fishing was slow. One good storm will fix that!

Fish the freestones in the evenings, fish the Swift anytime!