Since the last report I made a couple more trips to the Swift River; each time, figuring it was going to be the last trip of the year before winter conditions set in. The first trip was divided fairly evenly between the below route 9/hatchery pipe run and the above route 9 catch and release area. Plenty of fish were available in both locations, so the fishing was good everywhere, but the catching was better below route 9. The water is a good bit faster there, so the fish have less time to study potential food from all angles and need to make the "food or not-food" decision more quickly. The second (last?) trip was a couple days ago when the temperature peaked over 60F. That day was spent in the hatchery pipe run area. Dick and I got there around 8AM and there were a couple guys in the "prime real estate" location, so Dick and I settled in above the fallen tree. Dick and I both had rigged our rods the night before in the prime visibility environs of our respective man-caves. My green copper john (18) with a red softhackle (24) dropper quickly fooled a nice rainbow, who stayed buttoned to the end of my tippet for all of 5 seconds before coming unbuttoned. Then it was something of a dry spell until some midges started to hatch around 9:30. I switched to a dry set-up and after a few hundred casts, I started to have fish actual come up to inspect my size 22 BWO dry before settling back to take the size 38 naturals. I finally got one on a size 24 olive softhackle that I repeatedly brushed with Frog's Fanny desiccant. After taking a walk upstream and having a bite of lunch, I was able to share the pipe run with George and Don. My supply of sub-20 sized red softhackles began to take their toll on the heavily fished rainbows. I got one fish on the size 20 BHPT I was using to sink the softhackle dropper, but all the rest were on the red softhackle. Every now and then I switched to a black or olive softhackle, but tying on a red one was money in the bank. Other flies that took a fish or two included the white diamond braid egg cluster and a pink egg. Dick caught a few fish from the area below the crib dam down to just above the hatchery intake. Overall, a day that will hold me until I break out the 7-wt down in Florida about a month from now.
One final comment about the fishing at the Swift. I think I have mentioned before about how fish will quickly associate a strike indicator as something to be avoided. They will swim out of their feeding lane to avoid the pink, orange or yellow indicator after a couple of their buddies have been hooked. Dick loaned me his tiny white Thingamabobber and not once did I see a fish swim away from it. I need to stop by Evening Sun and pick up a couple little white indicators for next April when the Swift is the only river at a fishable level during the run-off.
Tight Lines and Happy Thanksgiving!