The Deerfield River/Swift River Fishing Report for 11/14/18: The Deerfield has been running high and practically unfishable but is definitely going to cut loose when the high water ends- I expect double digit days when that happens and that will happen soon. Browns are still spawning like crazy and there are hordes of egg eating rainbows stacked up behind the spawning beds. Speaking of spawning Deerfield trout, the Deerfield Watershed TU ( for which I am a founding board member and Vice President ex officio) will be back taking water velocity measurements and documenting spawning sites this weekend as work continues on our spawning study on the Deerfield. The DWTU received the Golden Trout Award from TU National and just won the Embrace a Stream Challenge fundraising contest in both total donations and total number of donors! Thank you to everyone that donated! Donors of $100 or more will receive a 10% discount off a float trip with yours truly. The Swift is running high but very fishable, and with some exciting additions- whenever there’s high water overflow the landlocked Salmon seem to swim out the spillway and into the Swift and that’s exactly what happened over the last couple weeks. Fish are less spooky in the high water too so the Swift would definitely be my choice until the Deerfield comes down. Mops, eggs, streamers are all working.
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The Deerfield River/Swift River/Hoosic River Report for 11/1/18: The Deerfield has been exceptional for the last couple of weeks with some days eclipsing the 25 fish mark. The red hot streamer bite has turned into an indicator bite as a good portion of the wild browns are actively spawning and the rainbows and non spawning browns are piled up in close proximity eating the eggs that wind up in the drift. So my advice for the next month is run eggs … it’s what’s fer dinner lol. Speaking of spawning browns the Deerfield River Watershed TU is starting the second phase of its spawning study on the Deerfield River. This study is incredibly important in establishing that wild trout are spawning in the mainstem Deerfield and that hydro peaking from the power companies are negatively impacting the spawning trout. The study was designed by MA Fish &Game with technical support from TU National, US Fish and Wildlife, and the USGS. The goal of the second phase is to monitor the redds, install temperature probes, acquire flow velocities over the spawning areas and document redds that are being dewatered and negatively impacted by the up and down flows from hydropeaking. Ultimately if you care about wild fish and bug life you’ll support this effort with a simple $10 donation to the Deerfield Watershed TU. Starting November 4th through the 8th all donations to this study will receive a match of dollars from TU national as part of the Embrace A Stream grant the Deerfield chapter received for this study. Donations of $100 or more will qualify you for a raffled full day float trip with yours truly. Let’s make the Deerfield a better river! Go to the Deerfield Watershed TU’s website, Instagram page or Facebook page for more info and a link to donate. November is my second favorite month of the year, all the area rivers are on fire, trout, pike, landlocked Salmon are all biting hot right now and that will go into December. Take advantage and get some good fishing in before winter settles in.
Holiday Season Pike !
Wild Deerfield brown
Beautiful Deerfield Brown Trout
The Deerfield River/ Swift River Fishing Report: The stocking trucks have loaded up the Swift and the Deerfield with new recruits making for some easy fishing for anglers fishing nymphs like Princes, pheasant tails and copper johns. Attractor flies like pink squirmies, mops, and clown eggs are getting attention too. If you’re looking to connect with wild browns and holdover bows throwing streamers like circus peanuts, sculpzillas, headbanger sculpins, and good ole crystal buggers is a better option. Pike fishing gets reeeel good in the fall as does shots at tiger Muskie. The Housatonic watershed, the Connecticut River and some other area lakes have pike up to 20 lbs or better. If you want a shot at a trophy pike now until Early December is prime time for huge Essox. Catching a big one on the fly is a memorable experience to say the least. Tight Lines!
The Deerfield River Fishing Report/Swift River Fishing Report for 10/6/18:The Deerfield has been stocked over the last week and the flows are starting to come down to reasonable levels after a month of high flows and fairly ho hum fishing. The bite has really turned on the last couple days with lots of action on rainbows and some wild browns in the mix too. There’s a few Iso’s around and lots of small black caddis (18). Big streamers and sculpin patterns thrown at the banks are moving wild browns for the drift boats- unfortunately the water is still too high for easy wading but pick your spots ( soft seams next to the main current ) and you can still connect on foot. I’ve been asked the foliage stage on the river and I would say we’re ten days to to two weeks from peak. The Swift River has been solid from a Cady Lane to the pond with lots of action on brookies and bows. Mops, squirmies, tiny pheasant tails, and mercury midges have been the go to. The fall is a bittersweet season that seems to go bye faster than the spring so don’t procrastinate and get out there and fish!
The Deerfield River and Swift River Fishing Report 9/6/18: Hello everyone, after a long period of inactivity the fishing report is back in action! (and will remain that way!) Change is in the air! Literally as the forecast for the coming weekend is one of dramatic change to cool, fall-like temperatures. The fishing has been decent on both the Swift and the Deerfield in spite of the hot, muggy temps. Most of the action has come on indicators and dry/dropper rigs with fish keying in on mop flies, non-bead head nymphs or ones with a black bead in place of the standard gold ones. Isonychias are in the air in small numbers and the fish definitely respond to the Iso nymphs. The first flying ants (black #22) were on the water last week and brought some fish to the surface- I expect that to happen with greater frequency in the coming weeks- flying ant hatches usually happen in the afternoon on the first warm day following a cold snap and can be prolific, bringing practically every trout in the river to the surface. Be sure to have them in cinnamon and black from 16 down to 22, trout can be super selective on size and color with ants so be prepared! Expect the Iso’s to build in frequency in the coming weeks(Dun Variant #12, Adams #12, Iso Comparadun #12) as well as Cahills (14) and a resurgence of various caddis species. With cooler weather coming I expect the streamer bite to be solid too, so pull out the six weight with a 200 grain sinking tip and connect with something prehistoric! There are plenty of open dates for prime fall fishing so give me a shout or shoot me an email and I’ll put you on the fish. Tight Lines!
The Deerfield River Fishing Report for 12/4/16: Gift Certificates available for your favorite angler ! Make the holidays that much better with a day on the water! Fishing this week was good after the flows moderated from the rain we received- on the Deerfield it was mostly indicator fishing with hot pink and bubblegum San Juan worms, clown eggs in 16, and PT’s and mercury midges. Yesterday we managed to put 10 fish in the net which is typical of winter fishing- bright ,colorful rainbows and one brown. I expect the fishing to remain solid so long as the temps are above 35 degrees, weather in the 40’s will really get them chewing. Over on the Swift micro PT’s (28-30) and mercury midges 26-32 will be a mainstay and eggs too as will San Juan worms-especially the squirmy worm style- in the coming months that will be an obvious venue as many of the other rivers sans the DF will slow for the winter. Steelhead fishing on some of the Ontario tribs has been good if you have solid nymphing skills- ability to mend, high stick, and roll cast effectively. If you don’t feel confident in these areas I can get you where you need to be. This good fishing will remain so long as there is sufficient water, once the cfs drop below 200 in the smaller venues the fish pull back to the lake. As you can see from the pics below these are beautiful fish that will give you a memorable battle- give me a shout if you’d like to connect with one. Tight Lines!
NYS Steelhead !
Gift Certificates for your favorite Fly Fisherman/Fly Angler available for the Holidays !! The Deerfield River/Swift River Report for 11/6: Fishing over the last week on the Deerfield and the Swift was very good, with afternoon midge hatches (black size 24, grey size 24-28) and rising fish taking dries which may last another week or two if the warm weather continues. There is a smattering of tiny BWO’s on the overcast days (24-26) but I don’t expect that to last much longer. The same is true on the Swift. All in all, trips were solid with 8-15 fish days and sometimes more- fish came on dries, san juans, mop flies, pheasant tails, bwo nymphs, and small streamers. I’ve seen evidence of spawning redds so expect egg patterns to rise to the top of the list soon as eggs become part of the food drift – remember trout love caviar ! Out in NYS the lack of steelhead is still a bummer, rain is a big part of that but it seems clear that there are significant problems that need to be addressed- overharvesting in both the lakes and the tributaries is one that can be controlled by the state- weather, invasive species, climate change are a bit more difficult to tackle. I don’t want to give away spots but the old saying “Go West young angler” is still true this season as it was the last. There are plenty of open dates and the fishing will be good right into December- tight lines!
The Deerfield River Fly Fishing Report for 7/26/16: Fishing on the Deerfield has been decent over the last week in spite of the drought and hot weather- float trips have been producing good numbers of fish- nothing crazy but at least 10-12 shots a float on big dries. If you temper your expectation level and take stock of the beautiful weather then it’s actually quite good compared to the abysmal conditions on most rivers in our from the drought. As you’d expect the best fishing is early morning (EARLY !!) and late in the day with some good fishing happening under the cover of darkness. I saw some small caddis around last night ( tan 20-22) in decent numbers so take note of that and as always on the Deerfield and Swift plenty of midge activity. Terrestrials are a mainstay this time of year- fishing black ants on top or subsurface can get the fishing eating. Buggers have started working again too after weeks of no love- pattern fatigue is a reality ! Getting back to night fishing- there are huge browns in the DF and the Swift and there are huge Brookies in the Swift too ( over 20 inches ), try a mouse pattern on a dark night, you may find the dainty fish of the Swift become savages under the cover of darkness ! The summer is winding down ( I didn’t say that did I ? ) so get out and try the night shift- you’ve got all winter to sleep ! Tight Lines !
Regal Vise Owner Don Barnes with a nice ‘bow
Monster Deerfield River Wild Brown
The Deerfield River/ Swift river Report for 7/16: Last night we received some much needed rain in western MA, several days more would be even better ! The Deerfield has been up and down in water level and fishing success- with unpredictable hatches in the mix-one night you may see some small caddis and BWO’s (20-22) and some nights none at all. The most consistent bug this time of year is the ubiquitous midge- some Swift River regulars have come over to fish the DF with their 0 weights, 8x tippet and size 32 midges and absolutely cleaned up on the tiny stuff. There has been some sulphurs around too but not in great numbers. I expect to see some whiteflies and Iso’s in the mix soon too. Just an FYI- the Deerfield from Shelburne Falls down is in the low 70’s which means every trout you catch is likely to die ! Please do not fish for trout in the mid to lower river unless your intention is to kill or eat them. Warm water trout have mushy flesh and are poor eating anyway ! Please do the right thing to preserve our fishery. Fishing out of the rafts at high water has been decent with indicator fishing and big dries doing most of the work- the sunny hot days have been tough- the best fishing has been on the days the water has been released a little later but the early releases are better for the fish down river. Over on the Swift the tiny stuff has been working well, size 32 midge imitations seem to work best in terms of hookups, landing the fish is another story on 8x 🙂 Midge pupa, san juan worms, tiny PT’s, and RW’s have been working well as you get away from RT 9- in fact the further away you get the better, particularly with the wild brookies. That being said please use barbless hooks and preserve this amazing fishery- in the dead of winter and the heat of summer the Swift can really shine when other places have slowed down or become unfishable- it’s a jewel that needs protection ! Hope you have success out there and if you would like to do a summer float please call-there are still open dates available- tight lines!
Regal Vise Owner Don Barnes with a nice ‘bow
Monster Deerfield River Wild Brown