The year of high water continues! Just as river levels had started coming down we got a nice blast of rain earlier this week and another inch plus expected tomorrow. This will keep area rivers high for awhile.
Freestones like the East Branch of the Westfield, the North and the Green will spike quickly but will also drop quickly. They are at fishable levels right now but I suspect if we get the rain we are supposed to they will get tough in a hurry. But by the middle of next week they should be at decent levels again. The exception is the Millers, which drains an enormous area, and when it gets high, it stays that way for awhile–usually two weeks at least.
Drop in fly tying is back! Starting tomorrow, Oct. 30, drop by on Saturday mornings with your tools and materials after 10:30 and spin up some bugs with your fellow tyers. South Deerfield has no mask mandate, but feel free to come masked if you’d like. We may have to limit the numbers to keep people comfortable. And keep your eyes out for announcements over the next few weeks about some fly tying events in the near future.
The Swift is always an option as it will only spike if water starts to come over the top of the dam at the Quabbin Reservoir. The brookies are on the spawn so do be mindful of the redds and I encourage you to leave the brookies alone to do their business and keep that incredible wild trout fishery going forward. But have at the big rainbows below the redds! These fish can often be taken on eggs patterns and worms.
Don’t write off the Deerfield. While it can be harder to fish, especially wade fish, at higher flows, the fishing can really good when the water is up. Do use extra care when in the water, especially on the upper river. I look for flows at 1200 cfs at the most. Concentrate on the near banks and any places where the fish can get a break from the current like the insides of big bends. I like to fish very heavy nymphs that will get down in the strike zone in a hurry, because the strike zone is a small one! In general, bigger is better as I like to give the fish a good reason to expend the energy to eat. Stonefly nymphs are a good place to start. I use a similar approach with streamers–I fish heavily weighted streamers like a Headbanger and will often fish these on a sink tip line as well.
This is also a terrific time of year to plumb those smaller blue lines for wild brookies and browns. All this rain has kept these smaller streams in really nice shape. They should come down to fishable levels very quickly after a rain. My go to rig is a big Royal Wulff with a size 14 Hare’s ear or Pheasant Tail dropped off it.
Warmwater action is winding down but you can still get bass on the fly right now. I tend to focus my efforts on the later part of sunnier days when the water has had a chance to warm up a bit. I tend to start lower and slower with streamers, but vary it up until you find where and how they want it–they’ll tell you!
We are getting into prime pike season. These are coldwater fish that are at the top of the food chain so big flies will often do the trick. I also vary the depth and retrieve until I find what’s working. One of the pleasures of pike fishing, outside of seeing these sometimes massive fish appear seemingly out of nowhere to absolutely destroy your fly, is that you often get enormous smallies and largemouths eating these big flies too.
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Dries: BWOs in 18 to 24; midges
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 12-16, Sexy Walt 12-16, Gilled Nymph 10-14, Zug Bug 10 to 12.
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