Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

Friday, May 7, 2021

Goodbye Gauge Pool And All That Water

 So what's wrong with warranties? Actually everything!  Let's say you buy a rod for $800 and it breaks in half on the first day out (this happens, check the web). You send the rod back with $50 and wait for the repair or replacement. In the meantime you are saying things like "$50, that's reasonable".  Did it ever dawn on you that part of that $800 price tag may have been made up by factoring in the cost of the warranty.  Maybe you are paying on it twice! Remember, the rod companies are NOT going to loose money on you!!!

I like an honest warranty that covers materials and workmanship only. The fly fishing industry sailed over the Falls when it offered  "no questions asked about the dumb ass way you mishandled the rod" kind of warranty. Maybe we would appreciate the craftsmanship more and take better care of rods if they were not so easily replaced! I've only broken ONE composite rod in five decades of flyfishing!!!! Ken

Gauge Pool

Shed a tear fellow Swift River anglers.  Mother Nature dumped a load into the river in the form of a large tree right into the beloved Gauge Pool. One of my favorite places to swing a soft hackle or drift a dry has now been cut in half.  If you remember last Summer you may recall the HUGE dead pine that broke in two in the same spot. Now, some good citizen armed with a chain saw went and took that old pine out.  Maybe the same thing will happen with this new obstruction.

As of Right Now

The Ware River - 476 cfs and not coming down = too high to fish (this river was a savior the last two weeks)  This river is a brown trout river if there ever was one!!! Soft Hackles and size 14/16 possum nymphs have ruled!

The EB - 1000 cfs = forgetaboutit!!!

The Swift - 46 cfs = fine as usual

Millers - 1930 = It's going to be a while

The Farmington (WB) 440 cfs PLUS the Stillwater flow of 291 = 731 cfs which is fishable but be careful.

Look at the bright side - we needed the water and now we have it. Anything's better than a drought!!


This Blog

I'm beginning to believe that this is the only Ma blog that ACTUALLY reports of fishing conditions, names the rivers and pools where we fish, and will share info on the flies that we use.  I use the collective "we" because my reader comment section is full of helpful and friendly fly fishers that don't mind sharing information.  There are no State Secrets on this blog, just good useful info on our rivers.  Let's face it - there really are no secret spots and to act like there are is foolish.  To write about a good day on a river without naming the section of river or EVEN the river is putting the spotlight on yourself and not on the river.

Readers - Keep up the good work.  You have made this a source for fly fishing info!!!!

Ken








Tuesday, May 4, 2021

The Evening Rise

 "Hell, give me Greenwell's Glory and Campbell's Fancy and Beaverkill, all wet and about size 12 and May on the Big River and anyone else can have whatever else he wants" - Catskill angler dreaming of the Beaverkill River, circa 1930



The "Evening Rise" is my favorite time to be on a trout stream and that is during the months of May through August.  Without a doubt, this is the time that trout appear to awaken from their mid day siesta and start their evening prowl as the air and water temperatures begin to dip.

Now, if you spend most of your angling hours lined up at a tailwater you will miss my point because tailwaters, with their manmade temperature regime, take a lot of the anticipation out of our planning. Everything stays pretty much the same but not on a freestone. Noon on a hot July day will make a freestone appear lifeless but get there at 7pm as the shadows lengthen, the Cahills and March browns begin to take flight and the trout begin to rise.  This is life on the Millers, my favorite evening river!!!


It is safe to assume that 80% of my casts after 7pm are with dry flies and nothing fancy either.  The Comparadun changed my dry fly life decades ago and a Olive or Dun colored Comparadon in either a size 14 or 16 will imitate most of the freestone mayflies during late Spring and Summer.

Strategy

That bent rod in the above photo was the result of a good plan.  First, I got to the EB around 6pm on a bright, warm afternoon. Nothing was rising yet so a deer hair caddis around a size 12 was tied on.  This fly, in my opinion, represents not only caddis but different terrestrial insects too.  I worked the head of riffles and the trout smacked it.  Then, around 8pm, the first of the Cahills appeared and so did the trout. On went the Comparadun and the fun lasted till after dark.

Equipment and Rivers

Anything 4 or  5 weight will work from 10 ft graphite rods to 7 ft bamboo (go with the bamboo). Leave the ultra light trick rods  and that euro stuff at home.  Your traditional equipment will work fine.  The Millers, EB and the Ware are great evening streams.

Last Fridays rain set us back a bit.  Here are the rivers as of 5:30am on May 4th:

Ware - 253 cfs  High but fishable. Lots of browns

EB    - 772 cfs  The gauge is below the dam so the river up by the Gorge may not be as high. If it's a true 772 it's too high.

Millers - 1420 (enough said)

Swift - 54 cfs Go for it!!

Ken



Saturday, May 1, 2021

April In The Books - Hello May

 "I'll never forget the day that I got to cast a real, by God, 8 foot, 6 weight GARRISON!  It was the first genuinely classic rod I'd ever gotten my hands on and when I walked out on the owner's lawn with it and began to cast, I  thought the sky would open up, a shaft of light would descend and everything would suddenly become clear.  What became clear was that I was casting a perfectly serviceable 6 weight rod, maybe a little on the slow side for my taste." - John Gierach


T.S. Elliot was right when he said that "April is the cruelest month."  He must of been a fly fisher!  High water through the first of the month, some daytime highs in the 70's, coupled with morning lows in the 20's and then a heavy 12 hour rainfall.  Some rivers will be up for a while (Millers), some will go down as fast as they rose (EB and WB) while others will just be less extreme like the Ware.

The Ware

The last two weeks have been good on this river if you have the patience to slow it down and fish with the flow rate and water temperature in mind. Heavy flow (now) requires some weight to your offering. Temperatures in the mid 50's allow us to use emergers because you will not have to fish deep with them.  Trout will actively pursue insects at any level of the flow when the temperature is right.

There are some nice browns in the Ware.  One 15 to 16 inch fish had perfect fins, a perfect tail and a perfect color.

Thank You!

We had some great comments on the last blog post about our stocking policies.  This may be the only online format in Ma that brings these issues up.  Let's keep it up in addition to our fishing tails!

Ken



Wednesday, April 28, 2021

I Don't Want To Start Anything, but.......

 "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


Well, they did it again!! The stream to the left may be recognized as the West Branch of the Swift River, a very important body of water because it sustains a good native brook trout population AND it is the home of a great run of LL Salmon that sustains the population in Quabbin.

That's why it's a mystery why the DFW would stock this stream with hatchery fish.  The month of April saw the carpet bombing of the West Branch with brown trout and then with rainbows.  We have been told all along, by those in the know, that hatchery fish don't get along with the natives.  So why stock hatchery fish to compete with natives?  It's not just the little gem that's in the above photo but EVERY stream that has natives should not be stocked with competing fish.  I know that this may upset Joey Hookandbullet and the boys down at the club but they don't really fish these brooks as their reputation suggests. In fact, many of these "blue lines" hardly ever get fished so stocking them is a waste of a resource and a destructive act on the resident fish.

There's a growing portion of the fishing population that cares more about self sustaining  trout in a "blue line" environment than stockers with ripped tails and missing fins!

Spring Insects

It's been aa banner year if you like caddis.  They are everywhere. I've seen spotty hatches of Quill Gordons and some early Hendricksons. Water temperatures should hit the mid 50's to trigger a hatch but these COLD nights and mornings of the past two weeks  seemed to have stalled that.  No problem - just keep fishing!!!


Ken





Thursday, April 22, 2021

Hare's Ear Caddis (Kind Of), Smallies In Big Rivers, And Long, Lost Guides


Drab and dowdy - 1. Not neat or becoming in appearance: a shabby old hat, lacking smartness or  A CADDIS FLy.

 Hare's Ear Caddis

"The uglier the better" it can be said about the caddis.  It is the most numerous of the aquatic insects in freestone environments and far out numbers the mayflies.

It was mid June about 15 years ago when I pulled off of 93 north to take a Manchester exit to cross the Merrimack for a sales call when it hit me.  The sky was full of a billion large caddis flies that were plastering my windshield enough to put on the wipers which was a mistake because after a minute I could barely see through the caddis slime. I  pulled over and with a spare bottle of windshield liquid and a squeegee managed to make things visible.  I don't know the species of caddis but it was about a size 12 and may have been the notorious ALDER FLY which doubles as the State of New Hampshire State Bird in some parts.  The Merrimack isn't noted as a trout river in those parts but I couldn't resist thinking of the smallies in that river and the feast that they had.

As I write I'm thinking of a similar river (Connecticut River) which may have the say phenomena (caddis blizzards and bruiser smallmouth) just right for the picking.  The fact is, outside of some shad, I know little of this river.  I could use some direction on this.  I'm not looking to open the vault on some secret spot but just a general direction.  Email me with some hints or suggest a time when we can work this river.  We are off the clock so no fees required.

Finding A Guide

Cruising the net can give you the impression that there are lots of flyfishing guides in your area.  Not so fast!! Many of these websites have not been updated in weeks, months or even years.  This can translate to someone who is out of business which means that you are wasting time looking for them.  Look for guides that update ALL OF THE TIME!!!!!  These are the guys that actively want your business and do not just sit there waiting for a message or the phone to ring!!!!!




Ken



Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Natives

 " If someone asks me whether I prefer fly fishing with a "dry" fly or a "wet" fly, I answer simply that I prefer fly fishing and put the accent somewhat suavely on the word "fly". 

 Malcolm Whitman



My first stream born trout was caught when I was about 11 years old because this old retired farmer told me how he used to catch small brookies (natives he called them) from this little trickle out in the woods.  Yes, I did take a can of red wigglers and managed to land two native trout which set me on the course that I've been on for decades.  These fish were 'natives" and not survivors from some hatchery dump.  This stream was a rarity because it was not intersected by any roads, not even an old cart road, just a footpath that was rapidly growing over and it would not be visited by a stocking truck.


I fished this stream yearly and then would add another little gem to my secret collection every so often.  I still go back to these gems just to keep me grounded in reality. Beavers have taken over my babbling brook but the brookies are bigger and more numerous. 

Chasing bows and "survivor" trout (native brookies are the REAL survivor strain) has a tendency to knock you off the rails so to speak. It's good to get back to what trout fishing used to be.

Conditions

Yes, we got rain and the streams are high but are around their average flow for this time of year.  We needed the rain!!

Ken





Thursday, April 15, 2021

Other Species

 

"If the Mayflies are the aristocracy of the flyfishers insects, then the Caddisflies are the working class.  The drab, earthy Trichoptera cannot compete with the colorful Ephemeroptera for sheer majesty, but when it comes to satisfying the appetites of hungry trout it is the caddis that bear most of the load". - Thomas Ames, Jr. "Hatch Guide For New England Streams"


Millers River Smallie


It will be only about a month until I hit the coast for my annual chase after stripers. It is always fun to go after these guys whether they are schoolies or monsters although I have to say that chasing stripers in the 20to 35 inch class can make the day for me especially when you can catch dozens of them.  Add bluefish and the seasonal shad and we have plenty to cast to in the brine.


But what about other FRESHWATER fish?  Let's face it, many in the flyfishing community look down on the other species and that is a shame!  When I was a kid I cut my flyfishing teeth on pickerel, largemouth bass and crappie (known in New England as Callico Bass) and anything else that would hit a fly.  Now, I still pursue other species but they have to live in an environment that I like: flowing water (rivers) or deep clean lakes.  That means that I like SMALLMOUTH BASS which I consider the most underrated fish that swims.

My top Millers River smallie was about 16 inches and weighed in around 2.5 lbs. I took that bass at the head of the Kempfield Run on a size 10 stonefly nymph.  I caught a 14 inch smallie under the bridge at the Orcutt Run on a size 14 comparadun in the late afternoon that I thought was a good brown trout. I've caught many over a foot long over the years. The largest that I've seen on the Millers was caught at the Bridge St. Pool and was a brute that tipped a hand held scale at 4 lbs!!

My favorite river fish is the brown trout followed by brook trout and then smallmouth.   Our big reservoirs like Wachusett and Quabbin have great smallie fishing that lasts all summer and remember, smallies are not stocked fish.  THEY ARE WILD!!!!


 I am getting sooooo tired of clonebows!

Ken