River Report 12/23/22

Happy holidays everyone! We sincerely hope that you all have a wonderful time with your families and friends and have a great new year. A quick programming note: the shop will be closed Christmas and New Year’s days, but open on our regularly scheduled hours every other day.

As I write this, it’s 50 something degrees, raining and winds gusting into the 40s. The lower Deerfield River is at 15,000 cfs and rising. Within about 12 hours the temperature will drop into the single digits. Just another normal December day!

Before this event, the Deerfield had been settling into a fairly typical winter mode with generally sustained higher flows in the 900s or so and water temps in the mid to high 30s. As long as the flows stay relatively consistent, the fish tend to stack up in good holding water and feed a bit more regularly. In can be tough, but there is often a bite window or two every day so if you keep at it, you should encounter at least some action. I am generally spending most of my time nymphing softer, deeper pockets of water that are close to some moving water. Big stone fly nymphs and junk flies like mops and eggs are my go to patterns. Fish will chase and even sometimes eat streamers as well. As with the nymphs, I am looking to get the fly deep and move it slowly.

Who knows what this weather event will do to the Deerfield and for how long. For the next couple days at least I would think it’s going to be tough sledding up there. The good news is that the Swift River is almost always fishable. It may be a bit high for the next day or two but should settle into the same old, same old soon enough. Small zebra midges and T nymphs are a good bet. Have a variety of colors and swap them out until you find what’s working. You can also find surface feeding fish any day of the year on the Swift. Generally, they will be on super tiny stuff, like sizes 24 to 30. Downsizing your tippet to 7x or 8x is often required. We have some locally tied versions of the Wicked Pissah fly that work very well as dries and as nymphs.

The Marlboro Fly Fishing Show is back at it’s regular time, January 20 to 22, 2023, and we will be there with bells on! Stop by our booth if you go and say hi. I will be giving a talk on Fishing the Deerfield Year Round each day of the show. The shop will be closed Thursday, January 19 through Sunday, January 22.

In this colder weather, we have been hitting the tying bench hard. We have a full slate of tying events on the horizon with more to come and potentially a rod building class.

Bugs and Beers is on January 5, 2023, and continues the first Thursday of every month through April, at Progression Brewing Company. January’s theme is Striped Bass Flies. I will be tying up some of my go-to baitfish patterns for hitting the local salt. I will have all the materials available for the 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 continues on Wednesday, January 18, 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. While this event has been going on for a few sessions, newcomers are still welcome to join in at any 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, January 10 at 5:30 and Thursday, Feb. 9 at 5:30. Pre-registration is required as space is limited.

Bob Olszewski’s Classic Streamer Class is Jan. 15, 2023 (please note the new date). There are still a couple seats open for this.

The Pioneer Valley Chapter of TU is hosting their annual fly-tying extravaganza at the AmVets Post in Chicopee on Wednesday, January 11 from 7 to 10 pm. We will be there and so should you!

It may be winter, but there will be even more to come so stay tuned!

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