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
The Deerfield River/Swift River/Westfield River/Millers Fishing Report 4/11/6: The fishing on the Deerfield remains excellent in spite of the poor weather- due largely in part to the heavy stocking over the last two weeks. The stocked fish take about a week to acclimate then really start chewing once they realize that the hatchery staff are no longer tossing them pellets to eat. Good choices have been pheasant tail nymphs, both natural and flashback, size 12 and 14, hares ears both natural and flashback 12-14, golden and black stoneflies 8-10, san juan worms in hot pink and orange, clown eggs size 14, green/olive caddis worms 14-16. There have been tons of winter stonefly adults around on the Deerfield, the Westfield and the Millers River. While it is rare that the adults are eaten on the surface due to cold water ( trout like to conserve their energy when the water is cold and have a lower metabolism) trout are definitely taking the stonefly nymphs on the bottom as they migrate in to the shoreline where they climb out on rocks and logs to emerge into adults. Fishing a small pheasant tail is one way to imitate them (16-18) another is choosing a more exact pattern like the winter stonefly nymph created by fly tying guru Rich Strolis- there’s a good online tutorial on Vimeo. Black and mahogany brown seem to be the dominant colors from 16 to 20. These match the hatch nymphs may connect you with the wild and holdover fish that might shun the more garish selections listed above. As always on the Deerfield, a size 8 olive bugger on a 200 grain sinking line will get you big numbers of fish- fishing anything lighter will result in fewer fish- close to the bottom = success, higher in the water column and you might hook the village idiot-maybe. The Millers will be in good shape by this weekend as the water levels go down. I’ve always had great success on black buggers over there fished deep on a 200. If you turn over some rocks you’ll understand why, the river is loaded with hellgrammites. Fishing with Don Barnes (owner of Regal Vise) out of the raft we’ve had 50 fish days over there with the above listed game plan-and that’s in five hours of fishing. I haven’t heard from my friends that fish the Swift but I assume the fishing is solid over there, the stocking trucks have been there too and there’s a huge population of wild brookies and holdover bows’ with PHD’s to torment your soul. Up in the petting zoo above RT 9 small flies and light tippets are the name of the game- size 26-28 PT’s on 7x. Below RT 9 you may find fish willing to eat larger offerings. The Westfield may be the first venue to see mayflies and caddis as the water is warmer and geographically it’s further south. Look for Paraleps (little blue quills) in the next couple weeks as well as tiny black caddis- again water temperature will affect the surface activity- I’ve seen plenty of Paraleps on the surface and no rising fish- but who knows? You could get lucky and catch that first dry fly fish of the season- be sure to have little blue quills in size 18 and black caddis in 18-20 and sometimes 22. Tight Lines !
Fat, happy, wild brown !
The Fly Fishing Report for 3/27/16: The fishing has improved dramatically over the last week for all the local rivers due largely in part to warm daytime temps, receding water levels, and freshly stocked trout. On the Deerfield, flows are still fairly high but that doesn’t stop the trout from chewing nor should it prevent the shore-bound angler from having success. I fished up the river a couple days ago on foot and caught multiple trout at each hole I stopped at. The secret to success was fishing a size 6 bugger on a 200 grain sinking line-getting down to the fish- and fishing the eddies and slower water a little further into the holes where the fish don’t have to fight the heavy current. Often times success is as simple as fishing where the fish are rather than where they’re not and making sure you put it close to their holding positions- trout will not move long distances or come up through the water column when the water is cold in the spring. Another approach is using a switch rod, however with the water up over a 1000 cfs, you would need to be throwing a 7wt with a Skagit short with a heavy sink tip to get down to the fish. Fishing with a guide out of a raft opens up more options obviously as we can fish areas you just can’t hit on foot. Look for solid action this week on the Swift with the new recruits from the hatchery, same with the Westfield- wooly buggers, pink San Juan worms, pheasant tails, copper Johns, hare’s ears, all should get a nod from the fish. Pike fishing is improving- they will be eating well right to the beginning of May when they start spawning, then it will three weeks till it picks up again post- spawn. Streamer fishing for big browns at my secret locations will be in full effect till early May so don’t wait too long if you’re looking for a trout measured in pounds not inches. I hope you take advantage of the warm weather and get out and fish- tight lines!
Uwishuknew river brown !
West branch of the Uwishuknew River Wild Brown
The Deerfield River Report for 3/18/16: The Deerfield has been high and dirty this week with cold runoff still coming down from VT. Look for sections that have hydro diversions and lower flows for better fishing. The best fishing has been on smaller rivers in the area that are not as susceptible to runoff. Floating the Uwishuknew River has been producing some big browns on streamers this week before the deluge- look for that bite to back on track in a couple days. Overall the fishing has been hot and cold with water clarity and flow being the biggest factor- when it’s been clean the fish have been really chewing. Last Monday I had Eddie Matinee and his son Jacob out for the day and boy did they put on a nymphing clinic ! We stopped fishing at three with twelve fish in the net and several that wiggled off the barbless hooks- all nice chunky rainbows colored up for spawning. Look for the best fishing of the year for big browns in the coming weeks- if you can handle throwing the big stuff I would try to make it out before the end of April. Pike fishing has started in earnest this week with ice out conditions bringing the big boys into shallow water to feed. I took out fellow guide Brian Lynch for his first pike-on-the-fly outing and boy did he hit paydirt with an 18lb monster northern-a quality fish even in Canada ! Video will be forthcoming. Our local lakes have pike in excess of 20 lbs so if you’ve never experienced a monster pike on the fly the fishing will hold up till May when they spawn and loose interest in everything but love. Brian has been insisting we call him “big fish” so I hope one of you will catch one bigger to put an end to that ! Fishing on the Swift has picked up- a friend from my TU chapter said the wild brookies were chewing like crazy and so were some holdover bows-caddis worms, zebra midges, tiny pheasant tails (24-26),winter stones(18-22) and san juan squirmies were getting it done. With this early warm weather look for the fishing to cut loose in the coming weeks. We will be floating the Westfield River this year and I can tell you the fishing can be awesome there-twenty plus fish outings are the norm- and not in the areas you might think ! Prime dates are starting to fill up so please contact me if you want to get out-tight lines!
The Deerfield River/Swift River fishing report for 3/1/16: The Deerfield has been slow over the last week or two as snowmelt continues to keep the water temps in the mid-thirties-.That being said the snow is just about gone in the hills locally so the only remaining snowmelt is coming down from VT. Look for water temps and fish activity to be on the upswing. Local tribs have been producing nice bows that have run up from the DF- probably seeking warmer water and food, areas in the DF that have hydro diversions that reduce the flow are also fishing well- likely due to lower flows and warmer water. Fishing is mostly indicator or euro-nymph style and close to the bottom-if you’re not getting down then don’t bother. Pheasant tails, San Juan worms, flashback nymphs and stonefly patterns are safe bets. Fish will take streamers fished slow and deep on heavy sink tips, slump busters, zonkers, and buggers are good choices for flies. I expect fishing to improve over the coming weeks and the streamer bite will cut loose at some point for those who like to go big for big browns- I’ve had some knee-knocking follows over the last ten days but the water seems to be just a little cold for them to chase a streamer down. April can be one of the best months of the year to connect with a trophy on a streamer, I’m convinced that the spring is better than the fall for throwing big for big fish. Over on the Swift the fishing is what you’d expect for this time of the year, tiny nymphs and midges (24-28) on 7x or 8x fished with or without and indicator- I say that because I’ve seen fish eat a tiny nymph and spit it out without moving the indicator so watch like a hawk, the water is clear enough to see them eat. Once in a while try a San Juan, an egg, or a bugger over there just to mix it up- you never know with those fish. If you have cabin fever and want to get out give me a shout, the fishing isn’t gangbusters but there are good days to be had and the chances for a trophy this time of year are good. Tight Lines !
March wild brown
Holiday Season Pike !
The Deerfield River/Swift River fishing Report for 12/15/2015: Having trouble finding a gift for your favorite fly angler ? How about a gift certificate for a float on the Deerfield or Swift ? Gift Certificates are available with a 20% off discount for full day trips until January 1st !!- Ok, back to the fishing. Conditions are still good with the mild weather we’re having and there are still fish rising to midges and tiny Baetis in the afternoon on both the DF and the Swift. The browns are just about done spawning so look for an uptick in brown trout activity as they start chewing on everything that looks like food post -spawn. Eggs, San Juans, small nymphs and streamers are likely choices for those fishing subsurface- be sure to use enough weight to get down to the bottom where the fish are- late fall and winter fishing is a game of inches, you definitely want to be on or near the bottom as the fish simply will not move long distances to eat in the colder water. Furthermore as insect activity is minimal for the greater part of the day, most of the food is on or near the bottom- just food for thought- pun intended. Pike fishing has been good at the known venues with fish holding on the deeper edges adjacent to shoreline flats. Catching Pike on the fly is a blast and is something that I’ll be offering clients when the bite is good. Flies that imitate perch and sunfish and rainbow trout- (mmm pike love those fresh stockies!!) will get it done as will some of the old stand-byes like the Pike bunny fly. Well, that’s probably going to be the last update for 2015 as another season goes into the books. I hope you all have a happy and safe Christmas/Hanukkah/ Solstice with your friends and family- be sure to sneak off and fish while we have this nice weather !!!