River Report 11/29/2022

Fall got cold in a hurry! After some abnormally warm days early in the month it got back to normal pretty quickly. But we have settled into a good moderately cold weather fishing groove around here and I expect it should last for at least another few weeks before winter really gets here.

The Deerfield has been very up and down as far as flows go, which can make planning a trip aggravating. Stop by the shop and we can help you decipher the flows and forecasts. But overall the river is fishing fairly well.

Please keep in mind that many brown trout are actively spawning right now, especially above the town of Charlemont and up to Fife Dam, so please avoid fishing to any browns on their redds. These are generally found in tailouts on longer pools and in shallower water in side channels. There will be other fish not on the spawn so if you generally avoid the areas mentioned above and refrain from casting to fish clearly guarding a redd, you should be good.

Nymphing will be your best bet for numbers of fish. Go-to patterns include stoneflies like Pat’s Rubber Legs and Terminator Stones and caddis larvae like Rock Worms. It’s also a great time to fish the junk: squirmies, mops, and, especially, eggs are all super effective right now. You can also try leech patterns. I like to concentrate on transitional water–where ever deeper slower water borders faster moving water. And generally you have to get down deep to the fish.

Streamer fishing can also be really good right now.  Woolly buggers and zonkers are a very good choice. If I am after quality rather than quantity, I will fish bigger articulated streamers like Headbangers and Ice Picks.

This is also a very fun time of year to concentrate on smaller streams.  The brookies in these smaller creeks and streams should all largely be done with the spawn. I fished a couple smaller gems Thanksgiving Day and caught many brookies, all under six inches. Most of them ate a small Chubby Chernobyl on the surface!


Pike fishing can be great this time of year and right up until waters ice over. These are cold water fish that do not mind at all the lower water temperatures. I generally fish larger streamers in the 9 to 12 inch range on a fast sinking line. While generally not a numbers game around here, watching a fish in excess of three feet seem to materialize out of nowhere behind your fly is one of the more exciting things you can do with a fly rod in your hand.

The fishing on the Swift River remains good. Please be aware that the brook trout are still spawning. These are wild, not stocked, fish. Avoid their redds when wading through the Swift and please leave them alone when they are on their beds. But go nuts on the big rainbows and browns lurking downstream of those redds picking off eggs knocked out of the beds!

We have a full slate of tying events on the horizon with more to come.

Bugs and Beers resumes Thursday, Dec. 1, and continues the first Thursday of every month through April, at Progression Brewing Company. This month’s theme is Trout Nymphs. I will be tying up some of my go-to nymph patterns for the Deerfield. I will have all the materials available for hte patterns I intend to tie. Just bring your vise, tools and a couple different colors and sizes of thread.

Our new season-long Beginner/Intermediate Class resumes Wednesday, Dec. 21, and continues every third Wednesday of the month through April, at Hitchcock Brewing Company. All materials are provided and I can provide tools if arranged ahead of time.

Drop-in Tying here at the shop happens every Saturday morning starting at 10:30.

Intro to Tying Class is at the shop on Tuesday, Dec. 6 at 5:30.

Bob Olszewski’s Classic Streamer Class is Jan. 15, 2023 (please note the new date).

Stay tuned for more tying classes and events to be announced over the next few weeks for tyers of all experience levels.

Below is information about upcoming meetings for the Pioneer Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited. Their meetings are now held at Abandoned Building Brewery in Easthampton so swing by if you can!

On December 14th, we are truly blessed to have MassWildlife Commissioner Ron Amidon as our speaker.  Ron has broken the mold as Commissioner over the past four years.  He’s an ardent supporter, and member, of TU and has helped to advance our collaboration with MassWildlife to new levels.  The Commissioner will be discussing the agency’s accomplishments of the past 4 years and where he sees MassWildlife heading next.

Our meetings start at 7:00 (but a lot of us show up early to chat and have a fine brew beforehand) and are held at the Abandoned Building Brewery in Easthampton, Mass.  If you like finely crafted cold beer and want to learn more about what’s happening with our cold-water fisheries, you’ll want to attend these two meetings.  Information about the brewery can be found in the attached link.

As further enticement, we’ll be raffling off an Orvis flyrod and reel at or December meeting.

Again,  all TU members across MA are invited to attend.  Spread the word!

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