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.
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.
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.
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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 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