Wednesday, July 18, 2012

When all else fails . . .

there's always the Swift River.  Last week I took a couple new-fly-fisher-Brits to the Swift River.  It was the only river with enough water moving to fish various techniques and also offer the possibility to catch some trout.  Mission accomplished.  Last week the flow was 48CFS.  Yesterday my buddy Stan and I figured we needed to a fish-fix and not wanting to drive 4 hours to the upper CT river, we took the 1.75 hour drive to the Swift River in Belchertown/Ware, MA.  The flow was about 125CFS and their were a lot fewer fish, but we had a great time stalking and fooling some rainbows, browns and brookies.  We started in one of our favorite runs above the route 9 bridge.  It is a fast run just below the cable pool.  I hooked three fish and only brought one to hand.  Then I moved down below a couple fallen trees and saw some nice rainbows actively feeding behind a log.  I was just thinking to myself. "I think I can get a decent drift, but how an I going to land it if I hook-up?  HOOKUP!"  Well, it only took the trout about 5 seconds to race around the log branches a couple time and break me off.  No matter - it is all about fooling the fish and I don't think a size 20 soft hackle stuck in his lip will cause any problems.
We then moved up to the "bubbler arm" and proceeded to fool a mixed bag of trout.  Once again my soft-hackles worked, and other people seemed to be getting them on hoppers and beetles.  After working that area pretty thoroughly, we briskly walked past the densely angler-populated Y-pool looking for less crowded water.  We found a few fish below the route 9 bridge, but were only able to get them mildly interested in our flies.  Then we moved down to the hatchery pipe run.  Last week I found no trout there.  Yesterday we found a few.  Landed a couple (wild?) brookies and turned over a couple rainbows.  One was down near the fallen tree and I changed flies about 6 times until I finally got a take on a parachute black ant.  Gotta love those terrestrials!  I believe the brookies probably moved in from downstream looking for cooler water and the rainbows moved downstream to get away from being harassed up above.  The way the weather forecasts look, it looks like the Swift will be the only game in town, other than a trip to the CT River tailwater. (Gotta client trip there Saturday.) If you go to the Swift, bring small soft hackles (red, orange, chartreuse, black) hoppers and and tiny BHPT nymphs. Anybody have any luck out there lately?  Also, how about the Deerfield?  Any luck there?


  1. Love those wild brookies. I've been taking a few in the Farmington.
    Ants and beetles, the ticket this time of year.

  2. The Pemi is still running cool. I caught a few brookies in the North Woodstock area over the 4th. There were some very good sized fish feeding by the bridge but could not get a fly to them consistantly. I was up last weekend as well and the water was still cool(didn't get a chance to fish though).

    Bob W.

  3. Hit the Deerfield for the first time on 7/11. Fished am near the Mohawk Campground, then lunch and hopped upstream to Fife Brook, avoiding the release which was pretty short - from 9-11. Challenging fishing, but also satisfying - about 10 hookups, but only 3 fish to the net, 2 bows and a brown. A couple of fish lost looked like they were in the 18-20" range. Pretty good midge hatch - fish were showing on top, but all the fish hooked were on a small purple soft hackle.

  4. Mike, thanks for the update. I'll be sure to tie some purple soft hackles - need to pick up some purple thread, I have some purple wire, but I think it is too large for anything smaller than a size 14.