All posts by Brian Comfort

River Report 11/25/20

Forgive me, fly-fisherpeople, for I have been remiss. It’s been way too long since the last report. Since then, it’s been a bit of a crazy fall: a little snow, some temps in the 20s and a week of sunny weather in the 70s in November. Or maybe that’s just a typical autumn in New England.

There are several fly tying classes coming up at the Deerfield Fly Shop, and what’s even better, they are all free! On Dec. 8, there will be an introduction to fly tying class for those with little to no experience. On Dec. 9 is the follow up class to the introduction for those beginners who want to take the next step. And for intermediate and advanced tyers, we will be offering a basic introduction to tying articulated streamers on Dec. 17–this class will be held virtually on Zoom. Check out the events page on our website for more details.

Water temps on the Deerfield River have dipped into the low 40s so we are definitely in cold weather mode now. The trout have mostly moved into their winter lies in slower, deeper water. That said, you can still find some fish actively feeding in the faster moving riffles, especially on warmer days. By and large much of your effort should be focused on getting flies deep in the slower moving water.

If you put your time in, in often unpleasant conditions, this can be your reward! DFS guide Eric Halloran caught this beautiful Deerfield River brown on a medium sized caddis nymph earlier this fall on a cold, rainy day. It was down deep in slow moving water.

This is a great time of year to fish streamers. The browns are in spawn mode and so tend to be a bit more aggressive. I like to fish bigger articulated streamers, knowing that I will likely catch fewer fish but the possibility of a real bruiser is there. Rich Strolis’s patterns, which we have an ample supply of in the shop, are always effective. I vary the color and profile of the fly, as well as where I fish it in the water column and how I retrieve it. You can also have great success swinging woolly buggers and other smaller streamers. Streamer fishing for me is all about mixing things up until you hit on the right combination.

Nymphing is the best option to catch a larger quantity of fish and at times quality of fish–some of my biggest nymph-caught trout have come this time of year. Generally you want to get down deep and fish the slower edges of moving water or the deeper pools. I find indicator style nymphing to be most productive here but tightline techniques will also produce. As far as bugs go, standard Deerfield River patterns work well: bigger stoneflies like Pat’s Rubber Legs, Pheasant Tails, Hare’s Ears, caddis larvae, and some smaller maylfy nymphs in 18 to 22 to imitate the BWOs will all work. Junk flies are also a good bet this time of year: squirmies, mops, and, most importantly, eggs. In fact, I almost always have an egg on as one of my flies from October through the spring.

The Swift River is fishing very well and, for me, this is by far the best time to be on that crowded body of water. Browns and brookies are on their beds and the rainbows line up below to eat all the eggs that spill out. Junk flies, with eggs at the top of the list, are most effective but small orange soft hackles have been working and the midge game is always on at the Swift.

‘Tis the season! Browns and brookies are spawning and redds like this can be seen on our rivers into January. Please avoid these–do not wade through them, do not target fish guarding their nests on them. We have some fantastic wild trout populations. These fish face enough danger from predators and spawning is always a stressful time of year for them. If we leave them alone for a couple months, they will still be there in the spring, and more importantly, so will their offspring.

Area freestones like the Westfield, Millers and North are also fishing pretty well right now. Here I would use smaller streamers or nymph the deeper, slower water. It can be a bit hit or miss, but you can have some success as long as you get out there!

It’s game on for pike fishing. This is one of the best opportunities to get one of these apex predators on the fly as they tend to move into shallower waters in the fall and early winter. Best bets are in the Oxbow and Barton’s Cove on the Connecticut River.

It may be cold but the bass don’t care! This meat eater followed my articulated streamer all the way to the boat before committing at the last second earlier this week on the lower Deerfield. Bass can still be had through the colder months. They tend to hang in deeper, slower water–but if you find one, chances are you can find many as they school up this time of year.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! We hope you can all find a way to enjoy it in these strange times. We will be closed Thanksgiving Day but open during our regular business hours the rest of the week.

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

Dries: Midges, BWOs in 20 to 22

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

Streamers:  Woolly Buggers Olive/Black 6-10, White/Olive Sculpzilla 8,Bank Robber 2, Mini Headbangers, Alter Egos, Silly Rabbits, Complex Twist Bugger, Heisenberg Baby Bow/Cowboy/White 6, Sculpin Bunny, Black/Brown Rubber Bugger 4, Olive and Gold/White Mini Drunk & Disorderly.

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

River Report 10/2/20

October is one of my favorite times of year in this area. We are at the tail end of hopper season, the fall hatches are in full swing, streamer fishing is improving and the bigger browns are getting more aggressive in anticipation of the upcoming spawning season. And that’s just the trout side. After a long, hot summer, the smallie bite is improving with the cooler temperatures, pike are starting to get more active, and there are still carp to be had in the flats. It does make deciding where to go and what to fish for harder though!

The Deerfield is in great shape. The recent rain has added a nice push of water into the system. The area around Shelburne Falls and upstream is fishing well. Streamers are getting fish and hatches are strong. Look for BWOs at any time during the day, especially on cloudy or rainy days. Same for tan caddis in 14 to 18. There are some larger October caddis kicking around as well. In the evening, anything from Iso spinners to Cahills (both duns and spinners) to BWOs to smaller white mayflies (PMDs maybe?) can be found in good numbers.

Underneath the surface, larger stonefly nymphs like Pat’s Rubber Legs, Hare’s Ear nymphs in 12, nymphs or soft hackles with orange in them, and smaller pheasant tails or BWO nymphs in 18-20 will all produce.

To target the big boys, larger streamers thrown on six and seven weights with floating or sinking lines, depending on the fly and conditions, can yield some of the best fish of the year.

We just re-stocked a wide selection of streamers from Rich Strolis at Catching Shadows. Rich will be at the shop in a couple weeks for a streamer seminar, though this has sold out. We will try to get him back next spring and/or fall for those of you who couldn’t make it to this one.

There have been many of the same bugs in the lower D as well, along with some white flies in about a 14 as well. My recent excursions have not revealed too many rising fish to them, but as the river continues to cool and this push of water works its way through the area I expect it will pick up down here as well. The bass fishing has definitely turned on down here–crawfish patterns and streamers in black are always a good choice.

The Swift is still fishing well. BWOs and midges will be the best bets for hatches. Small Frenchies and orange soft hackles have been effective here. Attractors are effective as well, with hoppers, ants and beetles working at times. The brookie spawn should commence soon, which is always a very cool sight to see on this river (not to mention the aggressive big rainbows that line up behind them to snatch eggs swept out of the nest). Please use caution when wading the Swift to ensure that you are not wading through active redds. I prefer watching the brookies to fishing for them this time of year. They are harassed enough by the bows and all the other predators.

The Westfield and North Rivers finally have some water back in them. The Green and Millers got a small bump but are already back to quite a bit lower than average water–you may want to wait for another decent rain event before fishing these rivers for trout. I fear we may need to wait for the stocking trucks to get out here before the fishing improves markedly on these rivers as it has been an unkind summer to these trout. The latest stocking report I saw showed they haven’t hit this area yet, but it shouldn’t be too long before they roll through.

Marc found a ton of smallies with Mike D recently on the lower D.

On the lower Deerfield, lower Millers and the Connecticut River, smallie fishing is improving and should remain solid for at least a few more weeks. Water temps are now below 70 which should get the smallies feeding more aggressively again. The Connecticut is loaded with small shad so try white streamers from 3 to 6 inches in length.

Pike fishing is back in play with these cooler temperatures and will only get better. They should get more and more aggressive as the fall wears on and thus more willing to chase down monster streamers! In our latest shipment from Rich Strolis are a few tasty looking pike behemoths that should get it done.

Carp can still be found in the flats of the Connecticut River, the canal in Turner’s Falls or the flats of lakes and ponds. As the water cools, they tend to migrate to deeper water so the window is closing a bit on the prime sight fishing season, but they can still be had.

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

Dries: Midges, tan and olive Caddis 14-18, Orange caddis 12, BWO 18-22, Light Cahill 14, Isos 12-14, Stimulators 10-16, Yellow sallies 14-16, beetles, and ants.

Nymphs: Pat’s Rubber Legs,  Golden or Black Terminator Stone 8-12, hares’ ears 12-18, Pheasant Tail Nymphs 12-18, Frenchies 12-16, Zug Bugs 12-14, Stalcup’s Gilled Nymph 14, Tan/Olive Mops, damselfly nymphs, Natural/Olive Caddis Pupae/Larvae 12-16, Red/Copper Johns 12-16, Sexy Walt 12-16. 

Streamers:  Woolly Buggers Olive/Black 6-10, White/Olive Sculpzilla 8,Bank Robber 2, Mini Headbangers, Alter Egos, Silly Rabbits, Complex Twist Bugger, Heisenberg Baby Bow/Cowboy/White 6, Sculpin Bunny, Black/Brown Rubber Bugger 4, Olive and Gold/White Mini Drunk & Disorderly.

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

Rich Strolis Streamer Seminar

Ready to take your streamer game to another level? Then don’t miss this opportunity!

Renowned fly tyer and streamer fisherman Rich Strolis will be bringing his big bag of streamer knowledge to the Deerfield Fly Shop for a two-part Streamer Seminar on Oct. 16 and 17, 2020.

Rich will address a vast array of topics, which will give students the tools to leave the class with the ability to go out on their own and have a system in place to effectively fish streamers in a variety of situations. The class has a presentation/open classroom component and an onstream, in-person component with an open atmosphere encouraging participation. Rich will share the insights he has gained through decades of tying and designing highly-effective flies and chasing trophy fish all around the world, including:

  • Proper equipment, species specific, not just trout
  • methods utilized for the wade and float angler 
  • techniques and methods employed
  • fly selection, building a sound fly selection 
  • lines and leaders, what is used for the applicable situations
  • points of interest, reading the water
  • choosing the right fly for the situation you are approaching
  • water conditions, devising a plan based upon the prevailing conditions
  • breaking down the water column
  • seasons and prevailing approaches
  • fly lines, leaders, rods, reels etc.

Part of our classroom portion will be on the water where Rich will demonstrate to the class how he would approach and pick apart a specific stretch of water and discuss what key things he may be looking for, areas to target, fly selection etc. He will also discuss how this particular piece of water might look under a variety of condition changes. It is encouraged that all students bring their gear with them so that we can get them not only set up to go out on their own, but also to pinpoint any areas in their gear that might need attention or additions to their arsenal for success on the water. Reserve your space now as these have a tendency to fill up fast.  

Rich Strolis Streamer Seminar at the Deerfield Fly Shop

Friday, Oct. 16 at 7 pm for the Zoom session

Saturday, Oct. 17 at 10 am for onstream portion, meet at the shop

$100 per person, limited to 8 

Contact the shop to register and reserve your place:

phone: 413-397-3665

Email: brian@deerfieldflyshop.com

From right down the road in Connecticut, Rich Strolis honed his craft as a guide on the Farmington and Housatonic Rivers and then shifted to commercial fly tying as his streamer and other patterns started to gain national attention as consistent big fish producers. He has fished his patterns all over the world and continues to torment the big browns of the Housatonic and Farmington! He is a signature designer for the Montana Fly Company and is on the pro staff at Thomas and Thomas as well as Regal Vise. The author of the well-received book Catching Shadows: Tying Flies for the Toughest Fish and Strategies for Fishing Them as well as numerous articles in the fly fishing magazines, Rich is a sought after tyer and educator, so we are very pleased to have him here at the Deerfield Fly Shop. We carry a wide selection of Rich’s streamers and will be restocked for the fall!

Spey Casting Clinic

Deerfield Fly Shop’s Introduction to Spey Casting with Eric Halloran and Jim Dowd

Been hearing a lot about Spey casting–even for trout!–and always wanted to give it a shot? Here’s an opportunity to learn the basics of this beautiful, and highly effective, way to cast a fly. This on-the-water class is a very basic introduction to Spey casting. Eric and Jim will take you through the fundamental principles of how Spey casting works and how to safely choose casts depending on wind direction and your position on the river. They will then demonstrate a few different casts with some time at the end for you to try these casts under their guidance. From the roll cast to the switch cast to the Single Spey, Double Spey, Snap T and more, Eric and Jim will give you a solid start to your Spey journey!

Cost for the session is $35 per person. The class will last about an hour and a half.

Class is Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020. Meet at the Deerfield Fly Shop, 8A Elm St, South Deerfield, at 10 a.m. and head to the river from there. Bring your wading gear, sunglasses, sunblock and appropriate clothing.

Pre-registration is required, either call the shop at 413-397-3665 or email brian@deerfieldflyshop.com.

River Report 9/12/20

Bring on the fall! Cooler temperatures have the rivers heading into prime fall conditions. A little rain would help but at least the water is cooling down. Look for the fishing to keep improving as we get deeper into September.

The best trout fishing is still on the upper Deerfield from Shelburne Falls upstream and the Swift. On the Deerfield, we have seen hatches of Tricos some mornings (spinner patterns in 20 to 24 are usually most effective) and BWOs (18 to 20) on the cloudier cooler days. Look for Isonychias in 12 to 14 the afternoons with spinner falls into dusk as well. Cahills should be making a resurgence again soon in about a size 14. Tan and olive caddis are always on the menu, from 14 to 18. October caddis should be around as well, so big caddis patterns are good for searching up top and larger nymphs with some orange in them can be killer this time of year.

There are some exciting things coming up at the shop, including some specialty technique clinics and some fly tying events, so stay tuned to our website, Facebook, Instagram and newsletter for announcements to come!

Also, our friend Cynthia Harkness at Fearless Fly Fishing is hosting a screening of the latest Patagonia film Public Trust, which explores the challenges and dangers facing the 640 million acres of public land so valuable to us as anglers and outdoors folks. The viewing is September 28 at 7 pm. It is free, but donations to the US Women’s Fly Fishing Team, so they can compete in Norway next year, are accepted and encouraged. Contact Cynthia directly at czharkness@gmail.com to RSVP for the film and learn how to donate to the women’s team. Cynthia is also hosting a trip to North Carolina to fish the Smokies for trout that has a few openings left so contact her for that if you are interested as well!

Terrestrials and attractors continue to fish well. Hoppers are a great choice, with Chubby Chernobyls, PMXs and more traditional hopper patterns all doing well. I will often drop an ant pattern in size 12-14 off the back of my hopper if I am seeing fish come up to look at the big bug but not committing.

Shop regular Justin Tyler had to work hard for it but got this tank of a smallie on the Connecticut

Look for ant hatches this time of year. They come in swarms, often on muggy days, and when they arrive they often blanket the surface of the water and the trout go nuts for them. The fish can key in on size and color, so make sure you have patterns in both black and cinnamon from 14 to 20.

Nymphing, as always, is working. Bigger stonefly patterns like Pat’s Rubber Legs, coupled with a smaller fly to imitate the bwos like a size 18 or 20 pheasant tail, can get it done. The usual suspects like pheasant tails, Frenchies, Princes, Hares Ears and Zug Bugs have also been effective. Try soft hackles a swell, either dead drifted or on the swing. Orange is a good color.

The Swift is still fishing well. BWOs and midges will be the best bets for hatches. Small Frenchies and orange soft hackles have been effective here. Attractors are effective as well, with hoppers, ants and beetles working at times.

Area freestones like the Westfield and Green are still far too low, but the temperatures are getting back into the sixties on the cooler days. Check the flows and if they start to get back into normal range a visit to one of these streams could prove fruitful.

Reece celebrated Labor Day by working this solid pike!

On the lower Deerfield and the Connecticut River, smallie fishing has been tough but should improve with the cooler temperatures. Water temps are now in the low 70s which should get the smallies feeding more aggressively again. The Connecticut is loaded with small shad so try white streamers from 3 to 6 inches in length. Largemouth fishing on area lakes and ponds also continues to be solid.

Pike fishing is back in play with these cooler temperatures and will only get better as the fall progresses. Reece got into a nice pike (see picture) on the Connecticut with a large black bucktail game changer streamer. Look for them in deeper water along drop offs and channels. Stop and go retrieve on the fly. Reece reminds us to be sure to have the proper gear: a big net, wire or heavy fluoro bite guards, long nosed pliers, at least an eight weight rod. Despite their ornery look, these are fragile fish and we are still at the very high end of their comfort zone. Get them in as quick as you can, handle them with care and send them back to get even bigger and meaner!

The carp fishing is still going strong and should be solid all month. Look to the flats of the Connecticut River, the canal in Turner’s Falls or the flats of lakes and ponds for these hard fighting fish. Montana Hybrids and Carpnastys have been getting it done.

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

Dries: Midges, tan and olive Caddis 14-18, Orange caddis 12, BWO 18-22, Light Cahill 14, Isos 12-14, Humpies 10-12, Royal Wulffs 10-12, Stimulators 10-16, Yellow sallies 14-16, beetles, and ants.

Nymphs: Pat’s Rubber Legs,  Golden or Black Terminator Stone 8-12, hares’ ears 12-18, Pheasant Tail Nymphs 12-18, Frenchies 12-16, Zug Bugs 12-14, Stalcup’s Gilled Nymph 14, Tan/Olive Mops, damselfly nymphs, Natural/Olive Caddis Pupae/Larvae 12-16, Red/Copper Johns 12-16, Sexy Walt 12-16. 

Streamers:  Woolly Buggers Olive/Black 6-10, White/Olive Sculpzilla 8,Bank Robber 2, Mini Headbangers, Alter Egos, Silly Rabbits, Complex Twist Bugger, Heisenberg Baby Bow/Cowboy/White 6, Sculpin Bunny, Black/Brown Rubber Bugger 4, Olive and Gold/White Mini Drunk & Disorderly.

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

River Report 8/28/20

We are open Friday, from 10 am to 6 pm, Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm, Sunday from 10 am to 3 and Tuesday through Thursday from noon to 5 pm.

Don’t forget that this weekend is the Massachusetts state tax holiday! No tax on any purchases Saturday and Sunday at the shop.

We have finally gotten some cooler temperatures with more to come in the forecast. The intense rain that battered this area yesterday only gave a modest bump to river flows that has already dissipated. The good news is more rain is on the way–if it comes, coupled with the cooler temperatures, the fishing should improve dramatically across the region.

The best trout fishing is still on the upper Deerfield (above the town of Charlemont) and the Swift. On the Deerfield, we have seen hatches of Tricos some mornings, but terrestrials and attractors have been the most consistent producers up top. Hoppers are a great choice, with Chubby Chernobyls, PMXs and more traditional hopper patterns all doing well. I will often drop an ant pattern in size 12-14 off the back of my hopper if I am seeing fish come up to look at the big bug but not committing.

Look for ant hatches this time of year. They come in swarms, often on muggy days, and when they arrive they often blanket the surface of the water and the trout go nuts for them. The fish can key in on size and color, so make sure you have patterns in both black and cinnamon from 14 to 20.

On the cooler, overcast days BWOs are definitely a possibility and as September gets here, look for Isos as well as caddis in 14s through 20s.

Nymphing, as always, is working. Bigger stonefly patterns like Pat’s Rubber Legs, coupled with a smaller fly like a size 16 red Copper John, have been working. The usual suspects like pheasant tails, Frenchies, Princes, Hares Ears and Zug Bugs have also been effective. Try soft hackles a swell, either dead drifted or on the swing. Orange is a good color.

The middle section of the Deerfield in the Shelburne Falls area should be at fishable temperatures for trout again soon if not already. The dry fly action in this area in the fall can be really great.

The Swift is fishing great now. We have seen BWOs and still some Sulphurs hatching in the lower stretches. Small Frenchies and orange soft hackles have been effective here. Attractors are effective as well, with hoppers, ants and beetles working at times.

Area freestones like the Westfield and Green are still far too low, but the temperatures are getting back into the sixties on the cooler days. Check the flows and if they start to get back into normal range a visit to one of these streams could prove fruitful.

When the water is up on the Deerfield, try throwing some bigger streamers, both single hook and articulated. We stocked up on some great patterns from Rich Strolis at Catching Shadows that are proven big brown catchers. At lower water try smaller streamers like the single hook flies Rich tied for us or concentrate on the deeper holes with big flies. Sometimes you’ll find a nice surprise! As always with streamer fishing, vary your retrieve and mix up flies by size, profile and color until the fish tell you what’s working.

On the lower Deerfield and the Connecticut River, the smallmouth bass fishing will improve with the cooler temperatures. Water temps are now in the mid 70s which should get the smallies feeding more aggressively again. The Connecticut is loaded with small shad so try white streamers from 3 to 6 inches in length. Largemouth fishing on area lakes and ponds also continues to be solid. We just received an assortment of poppers and sliders at the shop that will get the job done up top! Chartreuse has been a good color on these. We also have some Swingin’ Ds that will help you lure some monsters up from the deeper water around good structure. For other subsurface flies black has been a good color. All of the Catching Shadows streamers will work great on the bass too.

The carp fishing is still going strong. Look to the flats of the Connecticut River, the canal in Turner’s Falls or the flats of lakes and ponds for these hard fighting fish. Montana Hybrids and Carpnastys have been getting it done.

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

Dries: Midges, tan and olive Caddis 14-16, BWO 16-20, Light Cahill 12-14, March Brown 12-14, Sulphurs 14-16, Humpies 10-12, Royal Wulffs 10-12, Stimulators 10-16, Yellow sallies 14-16, beetles, and ants.

Nymphs: Pat’s Rubber Legs,  Golden or Black Terminator Stone 8-12, hares’ ears 12-18, Pheasant Tail Nymphs 12-18, Frenchies 12-16, Zug Bugs 12-14, Stalcup’s Gilled Nymph 14, Tan/Olive Mops, damselfly nymphs, Natural/Olive Caddis Pupae/Larvae 12-16, Red/Copper Johns 12-16, Sexy Walt 12-16. 

Streamers:  Woolly Buggers Olive/Black 6-10, White/Olive Sculpzilla 8,Bank Robber 2, Mini Headbangers, Alter Egos, Silly Rabbits, Complex Twist Bugger, Heisenberg Baby Bow/Cowboy/White 6, Sculpin Bunny, Black/Brown Rubber Bugger 4, Olive and Gold/White Mini Drunk & Disorderly.

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

River Report 7/31

Still Mid-Summer Conditions!

We are open Friday, from 10 am to 6 pm, Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm, Sunday from 10 am to 3 and Tuesday through Thursday from noon to 5 pm. I am often here at other hours so call us at 413-397-3665 if you need something at times outside of our posted hours. Also, we are still more than happy to do curbside service if you prefer. Just give us a call or email brian@deerfieldflyshop.com.

On August 8, FFF-certified casting instructor Jim Dowd will lead a free beginner’s casting clinic from 9 to 11 am. Please call or email to pre-register for the class, which is limited to 6 people.

Do you like watching hard-fighting fish destroy topwater flies? So do we.

Join us on Saturday, August 15, 2020, to learn more about fishing for smallmouth and largemouth bass. The Deerfield Fly Shop Bass Clinic will cover all aspects of fishing for these warmwater beasts–the perfect antidote to the mid-summer trout doldrums. The morning session will cover all the basics of fly fishing for bass, from habitat and behavior to the flies and gear you need to the techniques you will use getting the fly to the fish and the fish to the net. Then we will head outside where FFF certified casting instructor Jim Dowd will show us the primary casts you will want in your arsenal. Then it’s game on as we hit the water and put all this knowledge to use for a few hours.

Fee for the clinic is $150. Call the shop at 413-397-3665 or email brian@deerfieldflyshop.com to reserve your spot now! The class will be limited to eight. DFS guide and proprietor of the Handmade Angler Jay Aylward and DFS owner Brian Comfort along with the aforementioned Jim Dowd will lead the clinic.

Not much to report since the last update as conditions remain similar and what’s needed to catch fish remains similar! We could use a bunch more rain and a break from this heat. But until then, early mornings and evenings remain your best bet for trout. I would also target faster moving water and deeper water.

The good news is larger attractor patterns are working, with Chubby Chernobyls, PMXs and Stimulators doing well along with Humpies, beetles and ants. Hatches have largely tapered off, though some evenings you may run into some sulphurs or smaller caddis and Isos are still around.

I got out tagging fish last week on the Upper Deerfield with Adam Kautza from Mass Fish and Wildlife. We found many wild browns like this one, further proving that the river has a healthy population of wild brown trout. Check out the Deerfield Watershed chapter of Trout Unlimited for the great work they are doing to preserve and protect this incredible fishery.

This is a good time of year to try tightline nymphing techniques as the trout tend to burrow down into deeper holes and faster water. They are still feeding on nymphs throughout the day but the takes can be very subtle. Tightline techniques will help you get your fly down to the fish and also register these soft takes. Jig style nymphs like Frenchie’s and Walt’s worms are designed to get down quick and dirty and the inverted hook decreases snags. We have a number of tightline nymphing rods available at the shop for FREE DEMOS. We have Echo’s top end Shadow X in a 10’6″ 3 weight and their mid-range Shadow II in a 10′ 2 weight and 10’6″ four weights. Stop in to pick one up for a day and give it a try on the river.

When the water is up on the Deerfield, try throwing some bigger streamers, both single hook and articulated. We stocked up on some great patterns from Rich Strolis at Catching Shadows that are proven big brown catchers. At lower water try smaller streamers like the single hook flies Rich tied for us or concentrate on the deeper holes with big flies. Sometimes you’ll find a nice surprise! As always with streamer fishing, vary your retrieve and mix up flies by size, profile and color until the fish tell you what’s working.

On the lower Deerfield and the Connecticut River, the smallmouth bass fishing continues to be solid. The topwater bite is going strong all day, but especially in the mornings and evenings. Largemouth fishing on area lakes and ponds also continues to be solid. We just received an assortment of poppers and sliders at the shop that will get the job done up top! Chartreuse has been a good color on these. We also have some Swingin’ Ds that will help you lure some monsters up from the deeper water around good structure. For other subsurface flies black has been a good color. All of the Catching Shadows streamers will work great on the bass too.

The carp fishing continues to excel, as anyone who follows Reece’s Instagram feed is well aware! Look for flats in the major rivers and try a fly like the Carpnasty or Montana’s Hybrid to get into these wily, hard-fighting fish.

Shop guide and proprietor of the Handmade Angler Jay Aylward tied these gorgeous Hawg Goblins for the shop. The largemouth bite is on and these beasts will get some big ones to commit!

I would avoid the Millers and Westfield right now for trout, unless you intend on keeping your catch. Water temperatures are too high for trout to survive catch and release fishing. The Millers has great smallmouth fishing throughout, and the lower Westfield also has decent smallie fishing.

The Swift is fishing well right now as it remains the coldest of our area rivers. Sulphurs are hatching in the evenings. During the day, eggs and worms can fool these selective trout as can beetles and ants.

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

Dries: Midges, tan and olive Caddis 14-16, BWO 16-20, Light Cahill 12-14, March Brown 12-14, Sulphurs 14-16, Humpies 10-12, Royal Wulffs 10-12, Stimulators 10-16, Yellow sallies 14-16, beetles, and ants.

Nymphs: Pat’s Rubber Legs,  Golden or Black Terminator Stone 8-12, hares’ ears 12-18, Pheasant Tail Nymphs 12-18, Frenchies 12-16, Zug Bugs 12-14, Stalcup’s Gilled Nymph 14, Tan/Olive Mops, damselfly nymphs, Natural/Olive Caddis Pupae/Larvae 12-16, Red/Copper Johns 12-16, Sexy Walt 12-16. 

Streamers:  Woolly Buggers Olive/Black 6-10, White/Olive Sculpzilla 8,Bank Robber 2, Mini Headbangers, Alter Egos, Silly Rabbits, Complex Twist Bugger, Heisenberg Baby Bow/Cowboy/White 6, Sculpin Bunny, Black/Brown Rubber Bugger 4, Olive and Gold/White Mini Drunk & Disorderly.

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

Deerfield River Fishing Report

River Report 7/15/20

Mid-Summer Conditions

We are open today, Friday, from 10 am to 6 pm, Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm, Sunday from 10 am to 3 and Tuesday through Thursday from noon to 5 pm. I am often here at other hours so call us at 413-397-3665 if you need something at times outside of our posted hours. Also, we are still more than happy to do curbside service if you prefer. Just give us a call or email brian@deerfieldflyshop.com.

We are excited to announce that the Deerfield Fly Shop will be hosting a bass fishing clinic on Saturday, August 15. We are still putting the finishing touches on the details, but the clinic will run about six or seven hours. The first part will be a morning classroom session covering all the basics of fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass, from bass behavior to gear to techniques and everything in between. In the afternoon we will hit the water to demonstrate techniques and then have you put it all this knowledge to use on some solid smallmouth water. The cost will be $150 and the clinic is limited to 6 people. Deerfield Fly Shop owner Brian Comfort and guide Jay Aylward from the Handmade Angler will lead the clinic. Call the shop to reserve your spot!

Conditions have not changed much since the last update. We are in mid-summer mode in area rivers. This means fishing is often best on cloudy or rainy days and in the mornings and evenings. I concentrate my efforts more on faster water, especially pocket water and deeper riffles as the water crashing over the rocks adds some much need oxygen.

Dry dropper rigs in this type of water are very effective. I am partial to Humpies with a Quasimodo pheasant tail dropper, but we are seeing more and more surface eats of bigger patterns like Stimulators, Chubby Chernobyls and PMXs as there are some big stoneflies around. Terrestrials continue to be important and will only become more so as the summer wears on. Beetles and ants are doing work, and the big hopper patterns should increase in importance every day.

The main hatches are caddis (14 to 18) in the mornings or evenings and sulphurs in the late evenings. Patterns that ride a little lower in the water like sedgehammers and sparkle duns and CDC sparkle duns for sulphurs are working best for me. We are seeing fewer cahills but more Isonychia–our CDC Thorax Slate Drake is a great imitation for the dry stage of this bug and Stalcup’s brown gilled nymph is killer underwater. Potamanthus or Golden Drakes are also around in good numbers. Bigger, lighter colored Cahill patterns as well as the yellow Humpy will work for this big mayfly. Yellow Sallies in 14 and 16 are abundant and very effective at times.

The lower Swift is on fire right now and we are running regular floats down there. Here’s Mike with a typical rainbow and happy client.

Nymphing is always effective on the Deerfield and especially so right now. Pat’s Rubber legs and larger golden stones are doing very well as are the usual suspects: pheasant tails, prince nymphs, hare’s ears, caddis larvae and caddis pupae. With the increased Isonychia activity, adding zug bugs in 12 and 14 and Stalcup’s gilled nymphs in 14s into your rotation is a good idea. The olive Stalcup’s gilled nymphs make a good golden drake nymph as well.

This is a good time of year to try tightline nymphing techniques as the trout tend to burrow down into deeper holes and faster water. They are still feeding on nymphs throughout the day but the takes can be very subtle. Tightline techniques will help you get your fly down to the fish and also register these soft takes. Jig style nymphs like Frenchie’s and Walt’s worms are designed to get down quick and dirty and the inverted hook decreases snags. We have a number of tightline nymphing rods available at the shop for FREE DEMOS. We have Echo’s top end Shadow X in a 10’6″ 3 weight and their mid-range Shadow II in a 10′ 2 weight and 10’6″ four weights. Stop in to pick one up for a day and give it a try on the river.

When the water is up on the Deerfield, try throwing some bigger streamers, both single hook and articulated. We stocked up on some great patterns from Rich Strolis at Catching Shadows that are proven big brown catchers. At lower water try smaller streamers like the single hook flies Rich tied for us or concentrate on the deeper holes with big flies. Sometimes you’ll find a nice surprise! As always with streamer fishing, vary your retrieve and mix up flies by size, profile and color until the fish tell you what’s working.

Reece continues to find quality carp in area rivers. They can also be found in numerous ponds as well. If you haven’t tried for these fish, you may want to consider it. If you like seeing you’re backing, anyway.

On the lower Deerfield and the Connecticut River, the smallmouth bass fishing continues to be solid. The topwater bite is going strong all day, but especially in the mornings and evenings. We just received an assortment of poppers and sliders at the shop that will get the job done up top! Chartreuse has been a good color on these. We also have some Swingin’ Ds that will help you lure some monsters up from the deeper water around good structure. All of the Catching Shadows streamers will work great on the bass too.

The carp fishing has started to heat up further as most of these fish are off the spawn now. Look for flats in the major rivers and try a fly like the Carpnasty or Montana’s Hybrid to get into these wily, hard-fighting fish.

Shop guide and proprietor of the Handmade Angler Jay Aylward tied these gorgeous Hawg Goblins for the shop. The largemouth bite is on and these beasts will get some big ones to commit!

I would avoid the Millers and Westfield right now for trout, unless you intend on keeping your catch. Water temperatures are too high for trout to survive catch and release fishing. The Millers has great smallmouth fishing throughout, and the lower Westfield also has decent smallie fishing.

As mentioned, the Swift is fishing well right now as it remains the coldest of our area rivers. Sulphurs are hatching in the evenings. During the day, eggs and worms can fool these selective trout.

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

Dries: Midges, tan and olive Caddis 14-16, BWO 16-20, Light Cahill 12-14, March Brown 12-14, Sulphurs 14-16, Humpies 10-12, Royal Wulffs 10-12, Stimulators 10-16, Yellow sallies 14-16, beetles, and ants.

Nymphs: Pat’s Rubber Legs,  Golden or Black Terminator Stone 8-12, hares’ ears 12-18, Pheasant Tail Nymphs 12-18, Frenchies 12-16, Zug Bugs 12-14, Stalcup’s Gilled Nymph 14, Tan/Olive Mops, damselfly nymphs, Natural/Olive Caddis Pupae/Larvae 12-16, Red/Copper Johns 12-16, Sexy Walt 12-16. 

Streamers:  Woolly Buggers Olive/Black 6-10, White/Olive Sculpzilla 8,Bank Robber 2, Mini Headbangers, Alter Egos, Silly Rabbits, Complex Twist Bugger, Heisenberg Baby Bow/Cowboy/White 6, Sculpin Bunny, Black/Brown Rubber Bugger 4, Olive and Gold/White Mini Drunk & Disorderly.

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

Deerfield River Fishing Report

River Report 7/3/20

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth everyone! Hope you all can get out and celebrate the holiday and maybe do a little fishing as well. We are open today, Friday, from 10 am to 6 pm, Saturday the Fourth from 10 am to 5 pm, Sunday from 10 am to 3 and Tuesday through Thursday from noon to 5 pm. I am often here at other hours so call us at 413-397-3665 if you need something at times outside of our posted hours. Also, we are still more than happy to do curbside service if you prefer. Just give us a call or email brian@deerfieldflyshop.com.

We needed some rain desperately and that’s just what we got this week! Along with some cooler temperatures, the rain has injected some energy back into local rivers. The main hatches are still cahills in 12-14, sulphurs in 16 and caddis in 14 to 18 (tan and olive are the best colors). We are also seeing more Isonychias, as well as healthy smatterings of yellow sallies in 14 to 16 and some much larger stones dropping eggs in the evenings.

The best dry fly action is at dusk and into dark. Bring a headlamp and be prepared to stay til 9:30 or so if you want the most consistent activity on sulphurs and caddis. Early mornings also see some bugs hatching and the occasional sulphur spinner fall. During the day and into the late afternoon/early evening, larger attracters and terrestrials have been producing. Try humpies, beetles, ants, PMXs and Stimulators. As always, a nymph dropped off the back doubles your chances!

The meat rack! These morsels of wholesome goodness from Catching Shadows and hand-tied by Rich Strolis himself are now available at the shop. These flies are highly effective on big trout and bass.

Nymphing is always effective on the Deerfield and especially so right now. Pat’s Rubber legs and larger golden stones are doing very well as are the usual suspects: pheasant tails, prince nymphs, hare’s ears, caddis larvae and caddis pupae. With the increased Isonychia activity, adding zug bugs in 12 and 14 and Stalcup’s gilled nymphs in 14s into your rotation is a good idea.

This is a good time of year to try tightline nymphing techniques as the trout tend to burrow down into deeper holes and faster water. They are still feeding on nymphs throughout the day but the takes can be very subtle. Tightline techniques will help you get your fly down to the fish and also register these soft takes. Jig style nymphs like Frenchie’s and Walt’s worms are designed to get down quick and dirty and the inverted hook decreases snags. We have a number of tightline nymphing rods available at the shop for FREE DEMOS. We have Echo’s top end Shadow X in a 10’6″ 3 weight and their mid-range Shadow II in a 10′ 2 weight and 10’6″ four weights. Stop in to pick one up for a day and give it a try on the river.

When the water is up on the Deerfield, try throwing some bigger streamers, both single hook and articulated. We stocked up on some great patterns from Rich Strolis at Catching Shadows that are proven big brown catchers. At lower water try smaller streamers like the single hook flies Rich tied for us or concentrate on the deeper holes with big flies. Sometimes you’ll find a nice surprise! As always with streamer fishing, vary your retrieve and mix up flies by size, profile and color until the fish tell you what’s working.

Big flies=decent bass. That’s a seven inch Swingin’ D that this respectable Deerfield River bass inhaled. Sometimes bigger is better.

On the lower Deerfield and the Connecticut River, the smallmouth bass fishing continues to be solid. The rain has rejuvenated the bass too! The topwater bite is going strong all day, but especially in the mornings and evenings. We just received an assortment of poppers and sliders at the shop that will get the job done up top! Chartreuse has been a good color on these. We also have some Swingin’ Ds that will help you lure some monsters up from the deeper water around good structure. All of the Catching Shadows streamers will work great on the bass too.

The carp fishing has started to heat up further as most of these fish are off the spawn now. Look for flats in the major rivers and try a fly like the Carpnasty or Montana’s Hybrid to get into these wily, hard-fighting fish.

Carp fishing is really good right now as most of these fish are off the spawn and hungry. The shop’s own Reece McDowell has been finding fish like this on the flats and inspecting a lot of his backing!

This push of water should bring the Westfield River back to life for a bit in the Gorge area. I would still stick to early mornings and evenings for the best action with the least impact on the fish. The tactics and flies discussed above should do well here too.

I would still avoid fishing the Millers for trout. Though some may argue otherwise, I feel this river is really a spring/fall deal as it just warms up too much. There are simply better places to catch trout right now that have less potential to harm the fish. The bass fishing, on the other hand, can be great here, particularly down lower where it nears the Connecticut.

The Swift River is always cold and is actually running higher than average. Reports say the sulphur hatch on the Swift is on fire right now, which gives anglers an opportunity to put away the tiny 28s and 30s and throw huge, by Swift standards, 16 and 18 sulphurs! Ants and beetles are also a good bet on the Swift this time of year. And of course, the tiny stuff will get it done both on top and subsurface.

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

Dries: Midges, tan and olive Caddis 14-16, BWO 16-20, Light Cahill 12-14, March Brown 12-14, Sulphurs 14-16, Humpies 10-12, Royal Wulffs 10-12, Stimulators 10-16, Yellow sallies 14-16, beetles, and ants.

Nymphs: Pat’s Rubber Legs,  Golden or Black Terminator Stone 8-12, hares’ ears 12-18, Pheasant Tail Nymphs 12-18, Frenchies 12-16, Zug Bugs 12-14, Stalcup’s Gilled Nymph 14, Tan/Olive Mops, damselfly nymphs, Natural/Olive Caddis Pupae/Larvae 12-16, Red/Copper Johns 12-16, Sexy Walt 12-16. 

Streamers:  Woolly Buggers Olive/Black 6-10, White/Olive Sculpzilla 8,Bank Robber 2, Mini Headbangers, Alter Egos, Silly Rabbits, Complex Twist Bugger, Heisenberg Baby Bow/Cowboy/White 6, Sculpin Bunny, Black/Brown Rubber Bugger 4, Olive and Gold/White Mini Drunk & Disorderly.

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

Deerfield River Fishing Report

River Report 6/26/20

Summer conditions settle in

Please stop in and say hi. We are open from noon to 5, Tuesday through Sunday. I am often here at other hours so call us at 413-397-3665 if you need something at times outside of our posted hours. Also, we are still more than happy to do curbside service if you prefer. Just give us a call or email brian@deerfieldflyshop.com.

We could use some rain. With the heat, sun and low water conditions, the Deerfield is fishing like it’s mid to late summer. Please fish upriver–above Charlemont– if you plan on releasing your trout. The temperatures in the lower and middle Deerfield are spiking well past 70 during the day so any trout hooked will likely die.

Good days are still being had, but they may require a little more effort than just a few weeks ago. The main hatches continue to be cahills, sulphurs and caddis. The mayflies often come off right at dark, so don’t leave the river too soon! We just received some new cahill and sulphur patterns as well as a re-supply of our other patterns. The more subtle patterns like sparkle duns and CDC patterns can be really effective in this lower water. Spinners are also working well, even when there are not many dead spinners in the water.

During the day, attractor patterns like humpies and Wulffs and terrestrials like ants and beetles get you into fish. There are also some large stoneflies around, too, so some larger stimulators, PMXs, and Chubby Chernobyls may also do the trick, though I would fish these in deeper or faster moving water. Dropping a nymph off the back is always a good idea.

This is a good time of year to try tightline nymphing techniques as the trout tend to burrow down into deeper holes and faster water. They are still feeding on nymphs throughout the day but the takes can be very subtle. Tightline techniques will help you get your fly down to the fish and also register these soft takes. We have a number of tightline nymphing rods available at the shop for free demos. We have Echo’s top end Shadow X in a 10’6″ 3 weight and their mid-range Shadow II in a 10′ 2 weight and 10’6″ four weights.

The meat rack! These morsels of wholesome goodness from Catching Shadows and hand-tied by Rich Strolis himself are now available at the shop. These flies are highly effective on big trout and bass.

The trout can get very fussy on dry flies, especially in low water. Sometimes you need to change your presentation angle–try a downstream presentation to difficult fish–just be sure to throw in a reach mend or wiggle mend on the cast to get a nice drag free drift. You can also try lengthening your leader. I fish mostly 12 foot leaders to 4X or 5X with an additional two feet of tippet. Going down to 6X and 7x on the tippet is also sometimes necessary.

When the water is up on the Deerfield, try throwing some bigger streamers, both single hook and articulated. We stocked up on some great patterns from Rich Strolis at Catching Shadows that are proven big brown catchers. If we ever get a rainy or overcast day again, with some high flows, trout beware!

On the lower Deerfield, the smallmouth bass fishing has really turned on. Give the trout a break and come try for these hardfighting fish. They are some of the best flyrod fish out there! The topwater bite is going strong all day, but especially in the mornings and evenings. We just received an assortment of poppers and sliders at the shop that will get the job done up top! We also have some Swingin’ Ds that will help you lure some monsters up from the deeper water around good structure. Many of the Catching Shadows streamers will work great on the bass too.

Smallmouth fishing on the Connecticut is also very good, with some easy to wade sections behind Turner’s Falls a good place to start. The carp fishing has also been strong on the flats. Patterns like Montana’s hybrid and the Carpnasty will fool these incredible fighters.

This beautiful creature is a young of the year brown trout from the upper Deerfield River, collected by the Mass F and W during their research. It demonstrates that brown trout are indeed spawning successfully on the Deerfield despite adverse conditions created by erratic dam releases.

I would highly recommend leaving the trout in the Westfield and Millers River alone until we get a significant amount of rain. The lower sections of both these rivers support good smallmouth populations though that are well worth a try.

The Swift River is always cold and is actually running higher than average as its release from the Quabbin dam is tied to the levels on the Connecticut–when this is low, more water is released into the Swift to augment flows, or so I’ve been told. Reports say the sulphur hatch on the Swift is on fire right now, which gives anglers an opportunity to put away the tiny 28s and 30s and throw huge, by Swift standards, 16 and 18 sulphurs! Ants and beetles are also a good bet on the Swift this time of year.

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

Dries: Midges, tan and olive Caddis 14-16, BWO 16-20, Light Cahill 12-14, March Brown 12-14, Sulphurs 14-16, Humpies 10-12, Royal Wulffs 10-12, Stimulators 10-16, Yellow sallies 14-16, beetles, and ants.

Nymphs: Pat’s Rubber Legs,  Golden or Black Terminator Stone 8-12, hares’ ears 12-18, Pheasant Tail Nymphs 12-18, Frenchies 12-16, Tan/Olive Mops, damselfly nymphs, Natural/Olive Caddis Puppa/Larvae 12-16, Red/Copper Johns 12-16, Sexy Walt 12-16. 

Streamers:  Woolly Buggers Olive/Black 6-10, White/Olive Sculpzilla 8,Bank Robber 2, Mini Headbangers, Alter Egos, Silly Rabbits, Complex Twist Bugger, Heisenberg Baby Bow/Cowboy/White 6, Sculpin Bunny, Black/Brown Rubber Bugger 4, Olive and Gold/White Mini Drunk & Disorderly.

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

Deerfield River Fishing Report