All posts by Brian Comfort

River Report July 30, 2021

What a month it’s been! From drought conditions at the end of June to the wettest July on record. Makes for challenging fishing no doubt!

Wading the Deerfield has been difficult pretty much all this month, and, in fact, the water has often been too high to float it safely and effectively as well. When we have been able to get out, say when the flow from Fife Dam dips under 1500 cfs (please note: these higher flows are only safely floated by experienced boaters and waded by experienced waders), the fishing has been very good. Wading at that level is tough but possible. You need to choose your spots wisely and not expect to get out very far into the flow. Fish can be found close to the banks anyways in these conditions trying to escape the bigger flows.

While July has been tough for us trout anglers, it has been great for the fish. The higher flows offer safety from overhead predators (including us humans!), abundant food and much cooler than normal water temperatures–especially compared to the last few years at this time of year. It has also severely decreased the pressure on these fish that can get quite wily by this time of year. This should all add up to a banner August and early fall. I expect that when (if?) the flows get back down closer to normal levels the fishing is going to be excellent– and just in time for hopper season!

While the Deerfield may remain tough to wade consistently for the next couple weeks, area freestones like the Westfield and North will come down to wadeable levels much quicker. All this water has these rivers at temperatures that are still well within a trout’s comfort zone. Do keep an eye on water temps though if you plan on releasing your fish. As they approach 70 degrees, a released trout’s chance of survival diminishes significantly.

If you can get out, look for Isonychia hatching as well as various caddis. Terrestrials will be a very good bet into September–ants, beetles and hoppers should all take their fair share of opportunistic fish. I put a Chubby Chernobyl with a size 14 pheasant tail dropped off its hook bend on my five weight and leave it on there until mid-September. Other attractor patterns like Humpies and Royal Wulffs are also very effective. Our Bank Beetle pattern is killer as are larger ant patterns. As August wears on I will start looking for smaller flying ants swarming–when this happens the fishing can be unreal. I like to have cinnamon and black ants in sizes 14 to 20 because the trout can get very fussy on these delicious morsels.

An Iso dun

For straight up nymphing, I like a bigger stonefly, like a beadhead Pat’s Rubber Leg, with a smaller mayfly or caddis pattern dropped off of it. It’s probably a good idea to have some smaller pheasant tail, BWO or midge nymphs as well. And definitely don’t forget about the Isos–Zug Bugs or Gilled Nymphs work well for these nymphs in sizes 10-14.

The Swift River has generally been fishing well. The sulphurs are hatching on the Swift as the sun begins to go down. Size 18 seems to be the ticket on this hatch here. At other times, small midges (22-26 or even smaller) are often the answer, and small pheasant tails (18-22) and midge nymphs like Zebra midges (20-24) are also effective. Smaller terrestrials should start working better and better.

Old Man Wiggly eater!

While the smallie fishing on our rivers has been a bit tough with the higher flows, the largemouth bite can be nothing short of fantastic at times. I particularly like fishing topwater flies in the evenings and into darkness and watching these voracious predators absolutely demolish them. I have had some days though where decent sized fish would take topwater all day long, from frog poppers to Wigglies imitating dragonflies. If you can’t get them on top, fishing a slider on an intermediate line can be great sport. As the rivers drop, the smallie fishing should really light up.

Guided trips and lessons available. Call us at 413-397-3665 or email brian@deerfieldflyshop.com.

Dries: Chubby Chernobyls 6-10, Bank Beetle 10-14, Ants, CDC Slate Drake 10-12, Parachute Hare’s Ear 12-16, Parachute March Brown 12-14, Midges, Parachute Adams 10 to 14; Parachute Mahogany Dun 16-18; Rusty Spinners 12-16, Elk Hair Caddis tan and Olive 14 to 18, Sedgehammer 14-16, Snowshoe caddis

Nymphs: Pat’s Rubber Legs,  Golden or Black Terminator Stone 8-12, eggs, hares’ ears in natural and black 10-14, Pheasant Tail Nymphs 12-18, Frenchies 12-16, Tan/Olive Mops, Squirmies, Natural/Olive Caddis Pupae/Larvae 12-16, Red/Copper Johns 12-16Sexy Walt 12-16, Gilled Nymph 10-14, Zug Bug 10 to 12.

Streamers:  Woolly Buggers Olive/Black 6-10, White/Olive Sculpzilla 8,Bank Robber 2, Ice Picks, Heisenberg Baby Bow/Cowboy/White 6, Sculpin Bunny, Black/Brown Rubber Bugger 4, Black, white and olive Zonkers.

Water Flows for Fife Brook Dam can be found here

Water release schedule for the next day is posted after 5pm. Check again before you head to the river. Minimum Flow 130 CFS (Cubic Feet/Second). Ideal for wading and Dry Fly Action. Normal Release 800-1,000 CFS

Dam release for the #2 Dam in Buckland can be found here

For Miller’s River in Erving here

For Miller’s River Bear’s Den area here

For East Branch of the Westfield here

FREE Beginner Fly Casting

Master casting instructor Jim Dowd will lead casting clinics for beginning casters this month. These are all individual classes and each class is limited to four participants. The beginner classes are FREE! Email brian@deerfieldflyshop.com to register.

Beginning Fly Casting

These classes focus on brand new to beginner casters. We go over the fundamentals of fly casting and how and why it works. Participants will learn the basic casts: the pick up and lay down and the roll cast. These casts are the foundations of basically all fly casts. We will offer individual classes on:

Thursday, July 22 at 5:30 pm

Saturday, July 24 at 10 am

River Report 7/2/21

Happy Fourth of July! It’s gonna be a wet one, which is a bummer for barbecues but the rain and cooler weather should give a boost to our area rivers. As long as the rivers don’t rise too much, the fishing should really improve this weekend and hopefully continue to fish well as the rivers recede.

With all its dams and water diversions, the Deerfield River will have wade fishing opportunities somewhere most of the weekend, even with the increased flows. As I write this on Friday morning, the Fife Dam release was 130 cfs despite all the rain last night and the power company appears to intend to stick to its scheduled release at noon. I suspect they will release more water tomorrow than just the scheduled three hour midday release, but who knows? Stop by the shop if you need help deciphering the various dam releases and we should be able to find you some water to fish.

The increased flows might put some of the area freestones like the Green, North and Westfield Rivers back into play. The water temps on the Green have plummeted from highs over 80 degrees this past week in a flow around 10 cfs to the mid-60s and dropping with flows over 300 and climbing as of Friday morning. As this river drops under 200 it could fish well. For the North, look for that flow to drop under 400 and for the Westfield under 500, and those rivers should provide some good trout fishing for a couple days at least. All these rivers are rising fast right now, but they also drop fairly fast once the rain stops.

Sulphurs are still the major hatch in the area. This cooler weather should bring out some BWOs as well. Isonychias are also around and can provide good dry fly action. Attractor patterns like Humpies and small PMXs can often work when there is little hatch activity and terrestrials, especially ants and beetles for now, are becoming more and more effective. Dry/dropper pairings are always good. I like bigger dries like Humpies so I can float some fairly decent sized nymphs off of them.

Good boat dog

We have literally hundreds of dozens of flies overflowing our fly bins right now, including a recent batch of tasty streamers tied by Rich Strolis himself. Streamers are effective all year. With this rain, streamer fishing should be fantastic. As the rivers are still higher than usual but dropping, this streamer bite can really take off. Rich’s Headbanger Sculpin is usually where I start.

Nymphing is always worthwhile, particularly during the day. Big stones paired with a smaller mayfly or caddis nymph usually covers the bases. If the water is especially low and clear I will tend to throw something a bit smaller, like maybe a size 14 soft hackle pheasant tail and a 16 caddis larva. With the increased Iso activity I would not overlook Zug Bugs and Gilled Nymphs as well.

Farmer John with a nice walleye taken on a Swingin’ D!

We have two beginner casting clinics scheduled for July 22 at 5:30 pm and July 24 at 10 am. Jim Dowd will teach these and space is very limited, so act quickly! Call or email to reserve your space.

The Swift River will generally be spared from the high waters and, in fact, if the Connecticut River comes up enough, they will likely decrease the release from the Quabbin Reservoir. The sulphurs are hatching well on the Swift as the sun begins to go down. Size 18 seems to be the ticket on this hatch here. At other times, small midges (22-26 or even smaller) are often the answer, and small pheasant tails (18-22) and midge nymphs like Zebra midges (20-24) are also effective.

A typical CT River smallie

Warmwater fishing has been outstanding recently. My buddy Farmer John and I hit the Connecticut River last Monday at the height of the heatwave and had a banner day. We caught a walleye, a pike and numerous bass, including many in the 2 to 3 pound class on topwater poppers. Other outings have produced similarly. The Connecticut River is criminally underutilized by fly anglers. The smallmouth fishing can be epic, and pike, walleye, shad, carp and numerous other species are also available. The river is thick with eagles these days and you can get to places that feel as remote as any trout stream or you can catch honking fish in more urban environments. A boat, kayak or canoe is the best way to cover a lot of ground, but there are decent wading opportunities behind Turners Falls. You can also wade the bottoms of the major tribs like the Deerfield, Millers or Westfield and find lots of willing bass.

The more I fish for smallmouth the more enamored of them I become. The topwater eats can be ferocious as they emerge from nowhere and explode upon your popper. They can be voracious and they can be fickle. They always fight like fish twice their size and are generally good for two or more leaps into the sky. I like to start out with topwater flies like poppers and sliders and if they don’t want to come up and play, I will throw streamers. Black and chartreuse are my go to colors but experiment and see what they key in on. Sometimes going bigger is better and I will cast a Swinging D on a sinking line, other times a black wooly bugger is all you need.

Before this cold front the largemouth fishing had been really hot. I expect it may turn down for a bit but should pick right back up once the warmer weather returns. As with smallmouth, I start with topwater poppers and then try various streamers if those don’t work. Most area ponds big and small have populations of largemouths that can be loads of fun.

Our man Reese continues to torment carp in the area. He said they are all pretty much post spawn and have put on some impressive feedbags. Reese had a 20 fish day recently. Small crawfish patterns like the Carpnasty and Montana’s Hybrids have been working. The key with carp is presentation–getting your fly in front of the carp without spooking it but also making sure it gets the fish’s attention. It’s not easy, but when you get an eat you will understand why fly fishing for carp has taken off in popularity in recent years.

Guided trips and lessons available. Call us at 413-397-3665 or email brian@deerfieldflyshop.com.

Dries: Parachute Sulphur 14 to 16, Sulphur Sparkle duns 14-16, Sulphur spinners 14-16, Parachute Hare’s Ear 12-16, Parachute March Brown 12-14, Midges, Parachute Adams 10 to 14; Parachute Mahogany Dun 16-18; Rusty Spinners 12-16, Elk Hair Caddis tan and Olive 14 to 18, Sedgehammer 14-16, Snowshoe caddis

Nymphs: Pat’s Rubber Legs,  Golden or Black Terminator Stone 8-12, eggs, hares’ ears in natural and black 10-14, Pheasant Tail Nymphs 12-18, Frenchies 12-16, Tan/Olive Mops, Squirmies, Natural/Olive Caddis Pupae/Larvae 12-16, Red/Copper Johns 12-16Sexy Walt 12-16. 

Streamers:  Woolly Buggers Olive/Black 6-10, White/Olive Sculpzilla 8,Bank Robber 2, Ice Picks, Heisenberg Baby Bow/Cowboy/White 6, Sculpin Bunny, Black/Brown Rubber Bugger 4, Black, white and olive Zonkers.

Water Flows for Fife Brook Dam can be found here

Water release schedule for the next day is posted after 5pm. Check again before you head to the river. Minimum Flow 130 CFS (Cubic Feet/Second). Ideal for wading and Dry Fly Action. Normal Release 800-1,000 CFS

Dam release for the #2 Dam in Buckland can be found here

For Miller’s River in Erving here

For Miller’s River Bear’s Den area here

For East Branch of the Westfield here

River Report 6/18/21

As the summer solstice approaches, fishing in the area remains really good. Sulphur hatches are still going strong on the Deerfield River, with late evenings often producing some memorable surface activity on emergers, duns and spinners. Klinkhammers, sparkle duns and spinners in 16 and 18 are my go to patterns right now. Sometimes Cahills, caddis and other bugs might also be mixed in so be ready to switch it up and go with what the fish are eating. Look for sulphur spinner falls in the mornings and caddis throughout the day. The caddis have been pretty variable so having a good selection of colors and sizes will help you match what’s hatching.

Attractor patterns like Humpies and small PMXs can often work when there is little hatch activity and terrestrials, especially ants and beetles for now, are becoming more and more effective. Dry/dropper pairings are always good on the D. I like bigger dries like Humpies so I can float some fairly decent sized nymphs off of them.

We have literally hundreds of dozens of flies overflowing our fly bins right now, including a recent batch of tasty streamers tied by Rich Strolis himself. Streamers are effective all year. In the summer months, I like them best on overcast or rainy days and at the edges of days–early mornings or at dusk. Nighttime can be the right time too! Rich’s Headbanger Sculpin is usually where I start (though at night I avoid heavily weighted flies like that!).

Nymphing is always worthwhile, particularly during the day. Big stones paired with a smaller mayfly or caddis nymph usually covers the bases. If the water is especially low and clear I will tend to throw something a bit smaller, like maybe a size 14 soft hackle pheasant tail and a 16 caddis larva.

We have two beginner casting clinics scheduled for July 22 at 5:30 pm and July 24 at 10 am. Jim Dowd will teach these and space is very limited, so act quickly! Call or email to reserve your space.

Area freestones are all on the lower side, but one good rain would help things out a bunch. Even so, they are fishing pretty well right now as these cool nights have kept them viable. The East Branch of the Westtfield is certainly worth an evening or early morning.

The sulphurs are hatching well on the Swift as the sun begins to go down. Size 18 seems to be the ticket on this hatch here. At other times, small midges (22-26 or even smaller) are often the answer, and small pheasant tails (18-22) and midge nymphs like Zebra midges (20-24) are also effective.

Warmwater opportunities are abundant and well worth your while. Smallie fishing on the Connecticut River and the bottoms of major tributaries like the Deerfield, Millers and Westfield is really good right now. They are apt to hit topwater poppers and sliders, especially as it gets closer to dusk and into the night. During the day sometimes you need to get a little deeper with a weighted crayfish pattern or streamer and sink tips. I often find them in faster water during the day.

If you follow our very own Reece on facebook or Instagram you know that the carp fishing remains good–at least for him! These are easily spooked fish that can be quite difficult to catch but are well worth the effort. Montana Hybrids are a good fly choice and remember that stealth and delicacy will increase your odds greatly.

The shad run is pretty much done. There are still many around but these tend to be post-spawn, spent fish that have little interest in flies and are not much sport any way.

Guided trips and lessons available. Call us at 413-397-3665 or email brian@deerfieldflyshop.com.

Dries: Parachute Sulphur 14 to 16, Sulphur Sparkle duns 14-16, Sulphur spinners 14-16, Parachute Hare’s Ear 12-16, Parachute March Brown 12-14, Midges, Parachute Adams 10 to 14; Parachute Mahogany Dun 16-18; Rusty Spinners 12-16, Elk Hair Caddis tan and Olive 14 to 18, Sedgehammer 14-16, Snowshoe caddis

Nymphs: Pat’s Rubber Legs,  Golden or Black Terminator Stone 8-12, eggs, hares’ ears in natural and black 10-14, Pheasant Tail Nymphs 12-18, Frenchies 12-16, Tan/Olive Mops, Squirmies, Natural/Olive Caddis Pupae/Larvae 12-16, Red/Copper Johns 12-16Sexy Walt 12-16. 

Streamers:  Woolly Buggers Olive/Black 6-10, White/Olive Sculpzilla 8,Bank Robber 2, Ice Picks, Heisenberg Baby Bow/Cowboy/White 6, Sculpin Bunny, Black/Brown Rubber Bugger 4, Black, white and olive Zonkers.

Water Flows for Fife Brook Dam can be found here

Water release schedule for the next day is posted after 5pm. Check again before you head to the river. Minimum Flow 130 CFS (Cubic Feet/Second). Ideal for wading and Dry Fly Action. Normal Release 800-1,000 CFS

Dam release for the #2 Dam in Buckland can be found here

For Miller’s River in Erving here

For Miller’s River Bear’s Den area here

For East Branch of the Westfield here

River Report 6/4/21

Fishing in the area remains exceptional. We got a healthy shot of some much needed rain and colder weather over the Memorial Day weekend and what was a bane for barbecues was a boon for our rivers. The Deerfield River is fishing great from top to bottom, area freestones have returned to fishable levels and warmwater opportunities are abundant.

Sulphurs are the glamour hatch right now. These bugs hatch most often in the evenings, though they can hatch throughout the day on cooler, overcast days. Spinner falls are generally concentrated in the mornings and after dark. I generally prefer lower floating flies like sparkle duns as they are often taken as both emergers and duns. Klinkhammers in lighter colors are also effective. I do like to have some spinners with me as the fish at times turn exclusively to these helpless morsels.

Sulphurs are hatching up and down the Deerfield and on other area rivers. This is one of the best, most consistent hatches on the Deerfield. A good assortment of flies from 14s to 18s covering the duns, emergers and spinners can be necessary as the fish can get fussy on this hatch that often continues into August.

March Browns are still very much around and hatch sporadically throughout the day. A large brown Klinkhammer or standard March Brown pattern can be an effective searching pattern, made even more so by dropping the nymph or soft hackle of your choice off of it. Mornings may see Light Cahills in sizes 14 to 16.

Caddis are always an important food source on the D and right now is no exception. I have come across mostly olive caddis in sizes 14 and 16, though tan caddis are also around and the bugs can be found in sizes 14 to 20. These also hatch throughout the day but in much better numbers than the March Browns. I like to make sure to have my bases covered with olive and tan patterns in sizes 12 to 20. I like a high floating fly like the classic Elk Hair Caddis but also want some lower floating ones that imitate emerging caddis.

As always, nymphing is a deadly way to get many fish in the net. This time of year I like to move toward a dry/dropper set up, with a humpy or big March Brown paired with a size 14 pheasant tail or prince. Indicator nymphing and tightlining are also very effective. Standards like pheasant tails, hare’s ears, copper Johns, prince’s along with caddis larvae and pupae and stoneflies all have their moments.

Cassie with a healthy Deerfield River rainbow. Cassie was part of our first Women’s Fly Fishing Retreat with Cynthia Harkness a couple weeks back. We had so much fun we are doing it again in July!

We added another two spots to our second Women’s Fly Fishing Retreat on July 9-10. These spots will fill up so if you or someone you know are interested give us a call or send us an email soon.

Area freestones have all come down to very fishable levels and are fishing quite well. The North, Westfield and Green Rivers are all at really nice levels as of today and are fishing very well. All Deerfield River advice should serve you on these rivers as well. The MIllers remains a touch on the high side but is fishable. Once this river gets below 400 cfs the wading is easier and the dry fly action should be great.

Tons of shad are still around though that run is starting to taper. You can find them throughout the Connecticut and in the major tributaries like the Deerfield and Westfield.

Look at that paddle! Reece showing us what he does. Carp are getting tricky but can still be had.

Reece reports that the carp fishing remains good. Many carp are on the spawn now, and targeting them is an exercise in frustration, but many are not and can certainly be had. Reece recommends looking for fish were their noses down in the mud digging for food and target them.

Smallie fishing is really good right now in the Connecticut River as well as the major tribs like the D, Westfield and Millers rivers. They have been caught on topwater flies like poppers and sliders over the past few weeks. Small baitfish and crawfish patterns are also effective.

Guided trips and lessons available. Call us at 413-397-3665 or email brian@deerfieldflyshop.com.

Dries: Parachute Sulphur 14 to 16, Sulphur Sparkle duns 14-16, Sulphur spinners 14-16, Parachute Hare’s Ear 12-16, Parachute March Brown 12-14, Midges, Parachute Adams 10 to 14; Parachute Mahogany Dun 16-18; Rusty Spinners 12-16, Elk Hair Caddis tan and Olive 14 to 18, Sedgehammer 14-16, Snowshoe caddis

Nymphs: Pat’s Rubber Legs,  Golden or Black Terminator Stone 8-12, eggs, hares’ ears in natural and black 10-14, Pheasant Tail Nymphs 12-18, Frenchies 12-16, Tan/Olive Mops, Squirmies, Natural/Olive Caddis Pupae/Larvae 12-16, Red/Copper Johns 12-16Sexy Walt 12-16. 

Streamers:  Woolly Buggers Olive/Black 6-10, White/Olive Sculpzilla 8,Bank Robber 2, Ice Picks, Heisenberg Baby Bow/Cowboy/White 6, Sculpin Bunny, Black/Brown Rubber Bugger 4, Black, white and olive Zonkers.

Water Flows for Fife Brook Dam can be found here

Water release schedule for the next day is posted after 5pm. Check again before you head to the river. Minimum Flow 130 CFS (Cubic Feet/Second). Ideal for wading and Dry Fly Action. Normal Release 800-1,000 CFS

Dam release for the #2 Dam in Buckland can be found here

For Miller’s River in Erving here

For Miller’s River Bear’s Den area here

For East Branch of the Westfield here

River Report 5/21/21

Last Saturday night after work I hooked, and lost, my first two Deerfield River dry fly trout of the season. On Sunday I spent the afternoon and evening chasing bass and shad on the Connecticut River. The next day it was back to the Deerfield where I found a 21-inch wild brown trout, landed my first Deerfield River dry fly fish and saw a bear on the way home. And on Tuesday another quick after work trip yielded the lower Deerfield trifecta: a trout, a smallmouth and a pig fallfish! And I saw a coyote on the way home.

It’s good to be a fly angler this time of year in western Mass!

This warm, dry weather has ramped up the fishing and we are very much in prime time. Within a half hour’s drive of the shop, you can catch trout on dry flies, smallmouth bass, largemouth, panfish, walleye, shad, striped bass, pike, carp (just ask Reece!) and even the vaunted fallfish! Water flows across the region are falling from what had been moderately high levels to typical or even slightly low flows.

On the Deerfield, the Hendrickson hatch is winding down, though I would still have some Rusty Spinners in a size 12 if I am out on the stream at dusk and some dun patterns for the afternoons. March Browns are here. These bugs hatch sporadically throughout the day but what they lack in numbers they make up for in size, and the trout appear to think they taste just fine. I like bigger parachute patterns in 10s and 12s. We should be seeing Pale Evening duns any day and soon after that Cahills and Sulphurs. Evenings have seen some decent spinner falls of Hendricksons as well as some smaller bugs, perhaps Mahogany duns in 16. I always have Rusty Spinners from a size 12 to a size 20 in my box from April through November. These imitate nearly all mayfly spinners and even if not a perfect match will suffice in a pinch.

March Browns are out and about and the trout are looking up to them! These bugs hatch sporadically all day so using a size 10 or 12 Parachute March Brown as a searching pattern even when fish are not rising can yield some pleasant surprises.

Caddis are also very abundant, as always, on the D. Having a variety of sizes from 12s to 18s in tan and olive should cover you. I like to have some patterns that float well, like the classic Elk Hair Caddis, and can be skittered easily as well as some that ride a little lower in the surface for the fussier eaters, like Sedgehammers or Snowshoe Caddis.

The bite below the surface continues to be good and will produce throughout the day. Pheasant Tails in 10 to 14, Hares Ears in the same sizes, Prince nymphs, larger stoneflies, caddis larvae and pupae, soft hackles–the choices are wide and all will work at different times. Streamers are also effective this time of year, from wooly buggers to bigger articulated monsters can all be effective.

Cassie with a healthy Deerfield River rainbow. Cassie was part of our first Women’s Fly Fishing Retreat with Cynthia Harkness a couple weeks back. We had so much fun we are doing it again in July!

Because our initial offering in May filled up so quickly, we will be offering another Women’s Fly Fishing Retreat on July 9 and 10. The cost will be $300 and is filling quickly.

Area freestones have all come down to very fishable levels and are fishing quite well. The North, Westfield and Green Rivers are all amply stocked and providing good action. The Millers is also down to decent levels and offering good dry fly and subsurface fishing. Hopefully we will get reasonable amounts of rain over the next weeks and months and these rivers will stay fishable for awhile.

Reese the shop dog digs the shad!

Shad are thick in the Connecticut and have moved up into tributaries like the lower Deerfield. These fish are a ton of fun on the fly rod and we have some killer house-tied jigs in stock for a limited time.

Reece the shop kid digs the carp! He has been finding some rather large specimens lately.

As you can see, the carp fishing, for those like Reece who really know how to do it, has been outstanding. That big fish is just one of many Reece has taken recently. This will slow a bit as more fish get on the spawn and become exceedingly difficult to catch, but should turn around again later in June.

Smallies are starting to bed up but many are still in pre-spawn mode. Avoid fishing to them on their redds but look to faster moving water for some big boys and girls getting frisky before bedding down! Largemouth fishing also continues to improve as area lakes and ponds warm up. These fish are still in prespawn and should fish well for the next few weeks.

Guided trips and lessons available. Call us at 413-397-3665 or email brian@deerfieldflyshop.com.

Dries: Light Hendrickson 14-16, Dark Hendrickson 12-14, Quill Gordon 14, Parachute Hare’s Ear 12-16, Parachute March Brown 12-14, Midges, Parachute Adams 10 to 14; Parachute Mahogany Dun 16-18; Rusty Spinners 12-16, Elk Hair Caddis tan and Olive 14 to 18, Sedgehammer 14-16, Snowshoe caddis

Nymphs: Pat’s Rubber Legs,  Golden or Black Terminator Stone 8-12, eggs, hares’ ears in natural and black 10-14, Pheasant Tail Nymphs 12-18, Frenchies 12-16, Tan/Olive Mops, Squirmies, Natural/Olive Caddis Pupae/Larvae 12-16, Red/Copper Johns 12-16Sexy Walt 12-16. 

Streamers:  Woolly Buggers Olive/Black 6-10, White/Olive Sculpzilla 8,Bank Robber 2, Ice Picks, Heisenberg Baby Bow/Cowboy/White 6, Sculpin Bunny, Black/Brown Rubber Bugger 4, Black, white and olive Zonkers.

Water Flows for Fife Brook Dam can be found here

Water release schedule for the next day is posted after 5pm. Check again before you head to the river. Minimum Flow 130 CFS (Cubic Feet/Second). Ideal for wading and Dry Fly Action. Normal Release 800-1,000 CFS

Dam release for the #2 Dam in Buckland can be found here

For Miller’s River in Erving here

For Miller’s River Bear’s Den area here

For East Branch of the Westfield here

River Report 4/30/21


They’re here! Reliable reports have been trickling in that Hendricksons are hatching on the Deerfield. While there have not been many fish rising to them, I expect that will change over the next few days. And while the Hendrickson hatch can be a bit spotty on the D, it does mark the beginning of what us usually an excellent stretch of fishing in western Mass!

The recent deluge has area rivers very high as of today, Friday, but freestones like the North, Green and Westfield should drop quickly and there should be some yo-yoing of the dams that present good opportunities to wade fish the Deerfield.

Generally, further downstream will have more consistent hatches and more rising fish. But there can be epic days up in the Fife section as well. Dark and Light Hendricksons in 12 to 16 as well as Klinkhammer style flies in 12 to 14 in tan and brown should work up top. Regardless of the surface activity, you can bet that the fish are chomping on nymphs underneath. A size 12 Pheasant Tail is an excellent choice to match the Hendrickson nymph. Expect some Quill Gordons to be mixed in (usually a bit smaller, size 14 to 16) and for this Hare’s Ear parachutes up top or hare’s ears or copper johns can get it done down below. There may be some mahogany duns as well. Smaller caddis have been pretty abundant, especially tan ones in about an 18. I would expect tan and olive caddis in slightly larger sizes should start appearing soon too. We just got in 100s of dozens of flies so we have you covered!

Because our initial offering in May filled up so quickly, we will be offering another Women’s Fly Fishing Retreat on July 9 and 10. The cost will be $300 and this should fill quickly as well. We will also be offering a series of beginner and intermediate casting clinics in April and May taught by master casting instructor Jim Dowd. See our Classes/Seminars page for more info.

Don’t neglect streamers as they will still produce, particularly in higher water. I like to vary up colors and sizes until I hit upon what seems to be working. Trout will be more aggressive and willing to chase down a big meal as the water temps are now solidly in the 50s and as they continue to rise into the 60s.

Pike fishing on the Connecticut River remains strong. Look for the smallmouth bite to improve there and also in the lower reaches of the Deerfield and Miller’s Rivers as some bigger smallies move out of the Connecticut in advance of spawning in the next several weeks. Ponds should be coming to life as well with largemouth bass looking to pack some calories before their spawn.

This is a great time of year to be a fly angler in western Massachusetts! Get on out there if you can!

Guided trips and lessons available. Call us at 413-397-3665 or email brian@deerfieldflyshop.com.

Dries: Light Hendrickson 14-16, Dark Hendrickson 12-14, Quill Gordon 14, Parachute Hare’s Ear 12-16, Midges, Parachute Adams 10 to 14; Parachute Mahogany Dun 16-18; Elk Hair Caddis tan and Olive 14 to 18, Sedgehammer 14-16.

Nymphs: Pat’s Rubber Legs,  Golden or Black Terminator Stone 8-12, eggs, hares’ ears in natural and black 10-14, Pheasant Tail Nymphs 12-18, Frenchies 12-16, Tan/Olive Mops, Squirmies, Natural/Olive Caddis Pupae/Larvae 12-16, Red/Copper Johns 12-16Sexy Walt 12-16. 

Streamers:  Woolly Buggers Olive/Black 6-10, White/Olive Sculpzilla 8,Bank Robber 2, Ice Picks, Heisenberg Baby Bow/Cowboy/White 6, Sculpin Bunny, Black/Brown Rubber Bugger 4, Black, white and olive Zonkers.

Water Flows for Fife Brook Dam can be found here

Water release schedule for the next day is posted after 5pm. Check again before you head to the river. Minimum Flow 130 CFS (Cubic Feet/Second). Ideal for wading and Dry Fly Action. Normal Release 800-1,000 CFS

Dam release for the #2 Dam in Buckland can be found here

For Miller’s River in Erving here

For Miller’s River Bear’s Den area here

For East Branch of the Westfield here

Women’s Fly Fishing Retreat Second Session

Due to popular demand, the Deerfield Fly Shop is excited to announce we have added a second session of our Women’s Fly Fishing Retreat on July 9 and 10.

This retreat is aimed at beginner fly fishers, but intermediates who want to brush up or reinforce their skills are welcome as well.

On Friday, July 9, Cynthia Harkness of Fearless Fly Fishing, who has more than ten years experience teaching fly fishing and guiding clients on both fresh and salt water, will cover all the basics of fly fishing. From putting a rod together and rigging it up to selecting a fly and tying it on to casting that bug out there and where to cast it, Cynthia will guide you through the process. She will cover the basic gear and terminology, knots, hands-on casting instruction, fish feeding and behavior, and more over three hours on Friday afternoon.

On Saturday we will reconvene for a half-day float trip down the Deerfield River where our professional guides will get you on the river and help you put into action everything Cynthia went through the day before.

The cost for the Retreat is $300 per person and includes use of all equipment, the Friday seminar with Cynthia Harkness and a half day float on the Deerfield River, guide tip included. In addition, all participants will get 10 percent off anything in the shop and there will be special deals on starter fly fishing equipment packages. Email brian@deerfieldflyshop.com to save your spot.

COVID regulations are in flux but we will be following the latest advice from the state and CDC. Be prepared to wear masks and practice social distancing. The venue for the Friday session may be changed to account for the safest practices at the time of the event.

Beginner and Intermediate Casting Clinics in April and May

Master casting instructor Jim Dowd will lead casting clinics for beginning and intermediate casters over the next two months. These are all individual classes and each class is limited to four participants. The beginner classes are FREE! Email brian@deerfieldflyshop.com to register.

Beginning Fly Casting

These classes focus on brand new to beginner casters. We go over the fundamentals of fly casting and how and why it works. Participants will learn the basic casts: the pick up and lay down and the roll cast. These casts are the foundations of basically all fly casts. We will offer individual classes on:

Thursday, April 22 at 5:30 pm

Saturday, April 24 at 10 am

Thursday, May 20 at 5:30 pm

Saturday, May 22 at 10 am

Intermediate Fly Casting

This class is for folks who have some proficiency with basic fly casting and are looking to expand their repertoire of casts. Jim will teach the Reach Cast, the Tuck Cast and the Single Haul. There is a fee of $25 for this class and it is limited to six. The class will run Saturday, May 1 at 10 am. Email brian@deerfieldflyshop.com to register.

River Report 4/10/21


Spring has arrived in full force out here in western Mass. Trees are starting to bud and the stocking trucks have been rolling for a few weeks now. Most area rivers have received at least one stocking of rainbow and/or brown trout. Abundant sunshine and seasonably warm weather has the fishing most definitely on the upswing.

For most rivers around here, fifty degrees is kind of the magic number for a marked increase in insect activity, which is greeted by a marked increase in trout activity. Area freestones have been peaking at over fifty degrees most afternoons this week. The upper Deerfield is still a bit cooler in the low to mid forties but generally warms a bit as you go downstream. All this is to say that we seem to be heading into the prime trout fishing season around here.

Black stones in a size 12 or 14 have been laying eggs on the surface of the Deerfield in the Shelburne/Buckland area and trout have been on them. I saw scattered fish rising up closer to Fife Dam last Sunday and reports have trickled in of risers up and down the river. Most are pretty scattered and likely on those stones, midges or small Baetis mayflies. Look for blue quills/mahogany duns (size 16 Parachute Mahogany Duns and #16 rusty spinners work well for this bug) to start hatching followed by the Quill Gordons and Hendricksons.

Because our initial offering in May filled up so quickly, we will be offering another Women’s Fly Fishing Retreat on July 9 and 10. The cost will be $300 and this should fill quickly as well. We will also be offering a series of beginner and intermediate casting clinics in April and May taught by master casting instructor Jim Dowd. See our Classes/Seminars page for more info.

Flows have generally been low on the Deerfield and area freestones this month as we have seen no rain and are substantially lower than typical years. This is good for early season surface activity. It is not great for mid and long term prospects, though we are supposed to get some rain tomorrow and early next week. And who knows what the weather will do after that.

Nymphing will still be your best bet until the water warms even further. Bigger stoneflies like Pat’s Rubber Legs and Terminator stones paired with hare’s ears in natural or black will work well. Since most of the early season mayflies are on the bigger side, pheasant tails, prince nymphs and other staple nymph patterns in sizes 10 to 14 should do the trick as well. Caddis pupae and larvae are always a good bet on the Deerfield and most of the freestones. And the junk always works: eggs, worms and mops.

Spring is also great for streamer fishing and I have gotten some of my best fish in April on large articulated streamers. Rich Strolis’ Articulated Ice Pick, Heisenbergs and Bank Robbers are good patterns to try. I like to vary up the color of the fly and my retrieve until I find what seems to be coaxing some strikes. Smaller streamers will also work. You can’t go wrong with wolly buggers in olive or black or zonkers.

Pike are active on the Connecticut River right now and the rising water temperatures will get the smallmouth bass more active as well. Ponds should be coming to life as well with largemouth bass looking to pack some calories before their spawn.

This is a great time of year to be a fly angler in western Massachusetts! Get on out there if you can!

Guided trips and lessons available. Call us at 413-397-3665 or email brian@deerfieldflyshop.com.

Dries: Midges, BWOs in 20 to 22; Black stones in 12 and 14; Olive Stimulators in 12-14; Parachute Adams 10 to 14; Parachute Hare’s Ears 12-14; Parachute Mahogany Dun 16; Light and Dark Hendrickson 12-14

Nymphs: Pat’s Rubber Legs,  Golden or Black Terminator Stone 8-12, eggs, hares’ ears in natural and black 10-14, Pheasant Tail Nymphs 12-18, Frenchies 12-16, Tan/Olive Mops, Squirmies, Natural/Olive Caddis Pupae/Larvae 12-16, Red/Copper Johns 12-16Sexy Walt 12-16. 

Streamers:  Woolly Buggers Olive/Black 6-10, White/Olive Sculpzilla 8,Bank Robber 2, Ice Picks, Heisenberg Baby Bow/Cowboy/White 6, Sculpin Bunny, Black/Brown Rubber Bugger 4, Black, white and olive Zonkers.

Water Flows for Fife Brook Dam can be found here

Water release schedule for the next day is posted after 5pm. Check again before you head to the river. Minimum Flow 130 CFS (Cubic Feet/Second). Ideal for wading and Dry Fly Action. Normal Release 800-1,000 CFS

For Miller’s River in Erving here

For Miller’s River Bear’s Den area here

For East Branch of the Westfield here