Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

Monday, July 16, 2018

The Heat, The Drought And Blue Ridge Georgia

"Fly fishing does have its social aspects - on some of our crowded trout streams it can get too social - but essentially it's a solitary, contemplative sport. People are left alone with themselves in beautiful surroundings to try to accomplish something that seems to have genuine value." John Gierach

A few points:
Ok, it's hot and fairly dry except for the rain that tweaked up the EB three days ago. Get there early or get there late for the best fishing. Same with the Millers. Those browns can be caught and released if done quickly without any extended photo opts especially those with the fish lying on the ground.

Fish the Gypsy Moth hatch especially on the Swift. Use my imitation (two posts back) or throw on a Chubby Chernobyl. It's been working.

Thank you for the multitude of comments over the last few months. This blog has been averaging well over a 100 comments for every 10 posts AND the vast majority have been from readers (not from me) AND they are REAL comments about technique, flies, places to fish and not sugar coated "what a pretty fish" filler. THANK YOU!!!

Now, what's this Blue Ridge Ga thing?? That's where I've been for the last two days and for a few more.

Things to know about Blue Ridge:

It has a base elevation of 1800 feet and is surrounded by mountains that rise to 3000 feet.

The high temperature in Massachusetts today will be 92. The high temperature in Blue Ridge will be 82.

High temperatures in January will hit the 50's. Spring is in full stride in early March.

BLUE RIDGE IS THE TROUT FISHING CAPITAL OF GEORGIA!!!!! This is the result of a number of tail water dams built decades ago and a number of guides that work the rivers, the Toccoa River in particular. I'll supply more info latter this week.

Did I mention that it is absolutely beautiful down here???


Thursday, July 12, 2018

A Swift Morning, And A Word About Freestones

At 6:30 there was NOBODY on the lower Swift which was strange because on Tuesday there were six cars in the lot at 7am. I had been dreaming about gypsy moth flies and wanted to stake my place at Cady Lane with its placid flow and with gypsy moth flies falling into the river but with an empty river I decided to spy on the Tree Pool first. It was odd when I saw a light but steady parade of sulphur like mayfiles floating downstream but any rises were coming from the PIPE Run and not at the Tree Pool. Go to the Pipe. A sulphur nymph did the job, first with a foot long brookie and then with four bows the largest being close to 20 inches that decided to go airborne during a prolonged fight. Funny, but the Pipe has been only so-so for the people that I met in the last week but when you see mayflies sailing through the "tree" go to the fast water above because that's where the feeding fish are!

The first angler arrived, saw the aerial display of that big bow, and that sent me down to my original choice being Cady Lane. On went a Gypsy Moth. I failed the hook set on the first and then took a second which was a bow and a good one. Moths started to hit the water by 8:30 but they didn't seem too active. As Andrew (AKA Falsecast) said they need to be flopping on the water with some movement to get trout excited. These guys were still chilled by the air (52 degrees when I got there) so the action was slower. (Note to self: kill the early start during the Moth Hatch).

I then went to the "top" of Cady to fish the riffle water that only appears when the water is high as it is now. This is a good place and starts just below the Tree Pool and ends as the flow settles out a 100 yards downstream. I took two bows in that water with a PT nymph and had nobody around me. YOU SHOULD FISH THIS SPOT!!

A good Morning!!!!

Freestones in Summer - Take your advice from those who have spent decades fishing freestones in the Summer. Here's the advise: trout feed the most actively between the water temperatures of 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. That doesn't mean that they stop feeding at 66 degrees BUT it means they reduce their feeding needs as the temperature goes above 65. IT'S A SELF REGULATING ENVIRONMENT!!! Go ahead and fish at 75 degrees but you may catch nothing because they have no need to feed actively. Browns have been caught while surface feeding on the Millers over the last 30 years at DUSK or after nightfall when the water temperature is about 70 degrees. Over the decades I have broken off browns on warm Summer evenings and then hooked and caught them again anywhere from 10 minutes to 2 hours later and retrieved my original fly! Listen to some without that dusk experience and you would think that the trout was going to crawl under a rock and die!!!

Low water temperature does the same thing. When water temperatures drop in Winter trout almost reduce or cease feeding depending on how cold the water is. One former blogger (he had three blogs that sank without a trace) was hellbent on telling me that trout HAD to feed more actively in the Winter to keep their energy levels up to survive the winter. That makes sense if trout were WARM BLOODED and not COLD BLOODED! I still don't think he gets it!!!

Note: Notice that the trout shown in this blog are photographed "in the net" (the net is quickly lifted out of the water for the photo) and then quickly returned to the river. Sometimes one may be hand held but only for a few seconds and only in cold weather. You will not find photos of beached trout laying on the riverside rocks for the photo opportunity!!!!!!!

If you don't use a stomach pump you are doing the trout a favor. Remember, you just caught the trout so you have a good idea what it's been feeding on. Tailwater trout feed on TINY organisms and it takes MANY of these to maintain it's weight. So why rob them of hours of feeding activity, right?????


Monday, July 9, 2018

The Gypsy Moth AND A Lost Fly Box

"Dry fly fishing isn't just fishing with sub size 20 flies. It's fishing to imitate the existing insect that's on the water." - Me
Top                                                  Someone lost a green Orvis fly box about a hundred yards above Cady Lane.  If you find it notify me and I'll get it to the owner. - Ken

Ok, you've seen them all over the Swift or anywhere there are oak trees. The trout don't like the caterpillars (too hairy) but love the adult moth and this pattern works!

Hook - size 12 dry

Body - tan dubbing dubbed thick

Hackle - two large (size 8 to 10) hackles, one brown and the other tan wrapped over each other.

Trim the hackles top and bottom leaving about a 1/16 of an inch long stub top and bottom. Slightly trim the sides but leave them on the long side.

The living moth has two predominant "ears" that can be represented with grey CDC. Don't bother because the trout don't care.

This "hatch" should be around central Massachusetts for another two weeks and then that's it although trout have a good memory and also may take it as a land insect. I'll be on the Swift tomorrow using some.


Friday, July 6, 2018

Angling Books, Avoiding The Crowds By Booking A Trip And A Basic Emerger

"Fish sense, applied in the field, is what the old Zen masters would call enlightenment: simply the ability to see what's right in front of you without having to sift through a lot of thoughts and theories and, yes, expensive fishing tackle" - John Gierach

Fellow fly fisher Samuel from Amherst College gave me the information below concerning an exhibition of something that is dear to many of us and that is the world of angling literature. Remember, not all literature is best downloaded but held in your hands in front a fireplace on a cold winter night. I will find the time to view this exhibit especially the classic rods and reels.

Thanks Samuel!

"This summer Archives and Special Collections in the Robert Frost Library at Amherst College is presenting an exhibition of selections from the Lane Collection of angling books.  On view are some of the best-known books on fly fishing, both historical and contemporary, along with some classic rods and reels. 

For people interested in angling literature, the books in the collection are also available for use in library.

Archives and Special Collections is located on A level of Frost Library on the Amherst College campus and is open M-F from 9:00-4:00

The exhibition will be on view until mid-September."

I think I got too used to being alone on the lower Swift this Spring. Sure, the picking were slim but the solitude was almost like a security blanket. No lines of anglers looking for a position, no tangled lines and no rubbish to pick up. That ended with the stocking last Friday which means that I will fish the hidden places which are right in front of our noses. During the past week I guided two anglers on separate trips and showed them spots that are seldom fished and we caught trout. Most Fly fishers only fish the Y Pool and the Pipe area and ignore the rest. Book a trip with me and I'll show you the rest!


Author Bob Wyatt really turned my head around with his book What Trout Want: The Educated Trout And other Myths. His DHE Dry has nothing but the basic triggers that all natural material flies need and it absolutely works. It reminds me of The Swift's Dan Trela and the snowshoe emerger that he tied at a Western Ma Flyfishermens meeting a few years ago. I love this fly and use it on the Millers a lot.

Hook - size 14 through 18 standard dry

Tail (shuck) - gray z-lon

Body - I like olive

Wing - Snowshoe hare (don't overdo it)

Head - brown rabbit in gray or brown

Now, this fly is a good imitation of either a mayfly or a caddis in the same way that a soft hackle can represent both insects. In fact, I may tie this with a RED body, a WHITE wing and a BLUE head and call it the Forth of July Caddis!!! I bet it would still work. (that's what Wyatt has done to my head).

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The Heat, Small Soft Hackles And Happy 4th Of July

"No misanthropist, I must confess that I like and frequently prefer to fish alone. Of course in a sense all dedicated fishermen must fish alone; the pursuit is essentially a solitary one. - Robert Traver

Don't worry too much about the heat because Mother Nature gave us a gift last week and that was a few inches of rain throughout New England. As I've seen through the decades heat AND drought are very tough on freestone trout but if we get rain the adverse effect can be minimal. As I write most rivers are over their daily average flows and that is good. Your freestone may show a high hand held temperature BUT the feeder tributaries are running and the aquifer has been recharged. Trout will find these cool spots, reduce their feeding and just weather it out. Your freestone fishing will be in the very early morning (4 to 7am) or in the evening from 8pm onward. Hope for rain on a weekly basis and things will be fine. Having no long heat waves will make it even better!

Or You Can Fish the Tailwaters

The Swift is loaded with trout. Now, try to visit some out of the way spots instead of going to the same old spots like the Y Pool or the Pipe/Tree Pool section. You can do it, I know you can!!! I know four spots where I'll have a good stretch all to myself.

I fished the Deerfield early Monday morning after a 25 year hiatus and was greeted with 68 degree water at 6:30 am. We still caught trout under that low water condition with dries which is my favorite style of fly fishing. I'll be back later this season.

This is the season where my soft hackle inventory goes up in quantity and down in size. These are the flies that I use for rivers like the Swift and will be with me when I spend a few days on the Farmington in August. Size 16 is the largest and then down to size 20 and they are scaled down with trim bodies and many without a thorax. Try them out with natural starling or the smallest of partridge hackle.

Have a happy 4th of July!!


Friday, June 29, 2018

The Swift Is Stocked (finally) And Nesn (Finally)

The Swift got what it deserves - 1400 trout stocked this afternoon. 10 nets full of BIG trout at the Pipe and I will add that hatchery workers waded into the river to scatter the trout and they did a good job at that. Trout were doing their after stocking "rising" aka gulping air all over the river. Cady Lane got stocked as did the Gauge Run (finally). Dido for above route 9 although I didn't witness that.

We have one day of catch and keep on the lower river. Watch for violators and report them. The number is at the top of my home page.

My NESN show is finally up on the NESN home page:

Google NESN "new england fishing season 2" and you will find it. Any feedback is appreciated.

Before the stocking we fished the Bubbler Arm to no avail. Caught a brookie by the Hemlocks that scared off the bow that we really wanted and the went down to the flats above the Duck Pond. That's were we landed a monster chunk bow on a #16 partridge and olive (what else!) that was 18 inches and on trout growth hormones. What a fish!!

After that we fished for some "new" fish that made the reel scream with the high water we fished in. I thought the flow would let off with all of the rain but not so. That may happen on Monday.

It was a good day. My client had never fished the Swift before and now he is converted. A GOOD DAY!!!

Fly fishers - Have a grand 4th of July. We deserve it!!!!


Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Wrapping Up June And Looking Forward To July

"Don't focus on having a great blog. Focus on producing a blog that's great for your readers." - Brian Clark

June was Great EVERYWHERE except for the Swift beyond the Y Pool. The Millers has been fantastic, the Ware has been very good, The WB Westfield has been good and the EB has been fair. (sorry EB fans but that's how I see it.) Some can only fish the Farmington or the Deerfield for reasons that escape me. Those tail waters are always there and mostly always the same. So why not test your skills on a difficult freestone?


Our readers really came through in June with not only rivers named but pinpoint locations given and flies used to come up with memorable catches. No Spot A, Location 2 B.S. but REAL information from those that don't mind sharing the wealth. A fly fisher who shares his information is a confident fly fisher!!! They will get it done anywhere,anytime. All of this info gets published because I believe in the quote at the top of the page.

For your info - fish the top of the riffles at Bridge Street early with any weighted fly. Haven't missed yet!

Ok, The Swift gets stocked Friday June 29. My source was told this by hatchery management. Try not to crowd this place out.

The Millers has hit 300 cfs as I write this. High but fishable and very good news with this weekend heatwave coming up. The Ware has good flow and a low temperature for a freestone. The Swift is roaring at 133cfs and the EB is at 150 which is good.

Book me for July evenings. It's a great time to be on the Millers or the EB. Are you an early riser? Book me for a 6am (or earlier) start and we will certainly beat the crowds.