Thursday, November 25, 2010

The real "last best" day?

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!


  1. I think I was fishing midges below you. I started in the little "pocket" behind the fallen tree, catching a few in there, and then moved up above the log, hooking many , but landing only a few.

    Best fly was #26/#28 Griffith's Gnat. Also did well on a #28 black emerger. I've been fishing there about 3 times a week since mid September, and the fish have really wised up to me. Six weeks ago, I could catch fish all day long on #24 Gnats and emergers. The hatches, midges and BWO, seem to be winding down, both in numbers and duration. I don't care to fish right below the pipe, so when the surface activity ends, I'll hang it up for the winter.

  2. Gerry--long time no write. I've been mighty distracted with the new job, a new pup to get started and haven't been fishing much. Its good to hear your stories. I'm interested in seeing the pattern for that red soft hackle you've mentioned. Can you oblige, or it a secret weapon?