Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

Friday, February 23, 2024

Fishing The Evening Rise On The Upper Trestle Pool - Millers River

 

"Maybe your stature as a flyfisherman isn't determined by how big a trout you can catch but by how small a trout you can catch without being disappointed."
John Gierach

You are looking at what may be my favorite dry fly water on the Millers River. Look at the photo! The first thing you can see is that it is NOT early Spring after the stocking truck has left. The foliage is in full summer bloom. It's also not October with leaves falling after the stocking truck has left again. It's high Summer!!  This is the time that the "old masters" waited for. They were not ready to flog the water on a freestone at mid day because your chances of success were limited.  They waited for "things" to happen on their streams. Shade begins to settle on the water which makes the insects more active and in turn the trout become more active. Water temperature drops, not by much, but enough to start the feeding cycle again.

The Upper Trestle Pool

Look at the photo again! Notice that the RIGHT side of this Pool is in the shade on hot, sunny day in July.  I'ts only about 6:30 and almost a 1/3 of that pool is in the shade. By 7:30 half of the pool will be shaded and browns will be beginning to rise.

Don't worry about the correct pattern. A size 14 or 16 comparadun in tan will do it all!

If you can force yourself to stay out beyond 8:30 you may have dry fly action that you can dream about on a cold, wet February night!!! Like right now!!!


Next - Predawn mornings on the Millers

Ken


















Saturday, February 17, 2024

Winter Musings



"Trout aren't naturally as selective as they've become in crowded tailwaters - they've been trained to be like that by too much fishing pressure.  I've seen tailwater fish that are so hysterical they'll refuse naturals. You wonder how they get enough to eat." - John Gierach


Let's face it. If you have a 6 fish outing it can be considered a good outing. A 12 fish day can mean a round of applause. But a 20 fish outing most likely means the hatchery truck beat you there!!  This is a condition that seems to exist in the Carolinas and in northern Georgia where THOUSANDS of trout are stocked EVERY WEEK in select tailwaters.  I guess there is a subspecies of flyfisher who finds this to be sporting and also FUN but all it does is raise the level of expectations to the unreasonable and dare I say, the unnatural!!! Most monster numbers are because of timing, such as hitting a Great Lakes spawning run on the nose or something like that!

Edward Ringwood Hewitt, a great American Flyfisher, mentioned the three stages of flyfishing:

1. Catch as many trout as you can

2. Catch the biggest trout that you can 

3. CATCH THE MOST DIFFICULT TROUT THAT YOU CAN                    

Number 3 is the most important. It will stay in your mind forever. You should know the one.  It refuses EVERYTHING you offer except for that ONE last cast that gets it done. This is not euro euronymphing.

Ken                                                    


Thursday, February 8, 2024

The Seasonal Ritual Starts

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




 

It's almost mid-February and I've been tying flies, well, nonstop for the last year (it seems like it's the same every year).  I consider fly tying to be a separate activity from fly fishing as tying is separate from painting your house.  I love fly tying and hate painting houses!!  But something else enters the seasonal picture and that's going over my collection of fly rods.

Thankfully that collection hasn't grown that much in the last few years.  There will always be room for a deserving bamboo rod or three but that will not include trying to resurrect some sad old factory rod that stunk as a casting tool 70 years and is best left on the mantle,

I will also fish a rod that fits the water that I'm fishing.  Tenkara can be fun but it's no fun on the Swift or the WB of the Westfield with all the overhanging foliage.  I've come to the conclusion that you need a BIG river to fish any rod over 10 feet long if you need all that length in the first place. The truth is that the VAST majority of trout that I have caught in over 50 years of fly fishing have been while using rods between 6 feet and 8.5 feet long and I never felt undergunned.  I think that the drive towards longer rods has been, in part, driven by manufacturers trying to create a need which will increase sales.

Ken


Thursday, February 1, 2024

A Fat Caddis


 



"Calling Fly Fishing a hobby is like calling Brain Surgery a job" - Paul Schullery" 



I like this fly.  It has bulk without adding additional weight because of the hook which is a Mustad Egg hook, size 10.

If I wanted more weight I'd drop-shot it.  The body is Clarks and Cook all purpose sewing thread in olive followed by spiky rabbit fur (heavy on the guard hairs) for the thorax with one strand of micro tinsel for the rib.  Then finish off with two turns of brown hen hackle.  I'm thinking that this would be a killer pattern in the riffles of the EB, the Ware and the Millers (these are CADDIS rivers) unlike the usual tailwaters). Throw in the Quaboag River and you will have enough water to fish!!


Ken














Saturday, January 27, 2024

A Word On Caddis

 

"No fly rod at any price is going to magically transform you into a Lefty Kreh or a Joan Wulff any more than a Stradivarius is going to turn your middle school violin student into Itzhak Perlman". - George Roberts, Tail Fly Fishing Magazine




I've never had much use for the color green when tying flies even when there are so many green caddis in rivers like the Millers, Ware and the EB. I used to grab a case caddis off of a rock and then break it open to see that brightly colored nymph and then just toss it back into the river.  I think it may be because of that bright green color.  It didn't look natural to me but that's my mistake. A few years ago I made the switch to green and that changed everything!

My favorite caddis is the American Grannom that appears by the millions in temperate freestones, like the rivers I just mentioned above, through the entire month of May. At the peak of the hatch it covers the streamside bushes but the real action  (for me) is the migration that this insect makes to get to out of the water.  Most of the trout I've caught using this pattern are taken right at the end of the drift and the hits are usually hard.

Deep Sparkle Pupa, Emergent Sparkle Pupa and the Grouse and Flash are time tested patterns for this insect's life stage. I'm not a big fan of these Sparkle patterns because I feel that the little ballon is unnecessary but many swear by the pattern so I give it a pass.

I saw four robins this morning. It's a start!!!


Ken


P.S. Recipe for the fly in the photo:

Hook - standard dry fly size 12 to 14

Body - bright green rabbit fur

Rib - one strand of micro flash palmered

Hackle - webby hen hackle dyed brown


Sunday, January 21, 2024

Tweaking An Old Standard

 

"Hell, give me Greenwell's Glory, and Campbells Fancy and Beaverkill, all wet and about size 12 and May on the big river, and anyone else can have whatever he wants". - Sparse Grey Hackle writing about the Beaverkill River and it's older flies


It's early May and the Zebra Caddis are everywhere except you will not find many on the water surface but in bushes along the river.  They crawl to the streamside by the thousands to do their mating  dance and with so many flying , usually after we shake the bushes around, we think surface action will be great but mostly it's not.  At this point it's a wet fly game!!


My Wet Caddis - This is Simple

A size 14 or 12 hook (I like 12, 16 works too

Black thread (your size)

Tie in 2 peacock herls and wind on for the body


Take one grouse hackle feather and, without stripping the fluff from the base of the feather, wind two turns up and then secure.




The fluff will make the best wing/leg presentation possible.


Yes, it's freezing out BUT only 3 months to go unless you're a freezout nut!!!


Ken


Sunday, January 14, 2024

The DMS Caddis And Lost Rods


 













This may be my favorite go to fly that I have for ANY river. The DSM caddis works in any size (these are size 16).  You've seen me highlight this fly in larger sizes but for the Swift, Deerfield and the EB size 16 It is perfect!


Hook - size 16 scud style

Body - grey/ brown rabbit

Thorax - peacock or ostrich

Hackle - one turn of partridge, woodcock or starling

This is a RIFFLE fly and it works best in shallower choppy water.  It's considered an emerger fished right below the surface and it works all season long. I saw my friend Lenny clobber trout in the riffles just below the Duck Pond on the Swift in mid Noverber!!  

This may be the only emerger caddis that you will need all season long.

Well, it happened again. Somebody dropped a rod section and luckily it was found before someone stepped on it.  AGAIN, DON'T TAKE YOUR ROD APART UNTIL TOU GET BACK TO YOUR VEHICLE. That's how most lost sections get noticed on this blog.