Winter fishing in the area has been pretty good lately. The recent thaw seems to have gotten the fish active again and has opened up more water. Today’s snow storm will replace much of the snow that has melted and give us more typical winter conditions moving forward: prime days will be when the temperature hits a high of mid 30s. Any warmer and the snow melt tends to turn things off a bit. On colder days, the fishing can be good but fingers and toes may pay the price!
They have been yo-yoing the flows on the Deerfield a bit. Hopefully most of the push of water from the recent thaw has passed through the system by now. I like to look for a few days of consistent releases in the 700 to 900 cfs range as I feel the fish seem to adapt and set up in predictable places. I target slower, deeper runs and pools and really try to get my fly down deep. Nymphs like Pat’s Rubber Legs and other stoneflies as well as smaller pheasant tails and zebra midges can produce. Small winter stones are out and about so having some of these patterns or black hare’s ears in 14 to 16 is a good idea. The junk still works too: mops, eggs and squirmies all can have their moments.
Contact, aka tightline aka Euro style nymphing, can be very effective this time of year as this style facilitates flies getting down deep quickly. If you want to learn more about this style of fishing be sure to sign up for our virtual class with George Daniel on March 24. This is sure to be extremely informative for those new to Euro style nymphing as well as those who have been doing it for years. See the Classes and Seminars section of our webpage for more details.
The streamer fishing can be pretty good, too, especially as it warms a bit and the days get a little longer. Smaller leech-type streamers can work but so will bigger articulated streamers. Low and slow is key as fish generally won’t chase too aggressively.
On the Swift, things stay pretty consistent. Tiny midge nymphs are always good to have in a variety of colors and patterns. Also try dead drifting and then swinging small soft hackles like 16s and 18s. You can get into dry fly action any time on the Swift so also having a good selection of small dries like Griffiths Gnats in 20 -24 or adult midge patterns in 22-26 as well as emergers like RS2s or similar, again in 22-24 or so.
On Saturday mornings starting at 10:30, our drop-in tying continues. Bring your tools and materials and tie some flies with fellow tyers. Also, our Bugs and Beers evening for March has changed dates to March 2 at Progression in Northampton again. Join us at 6:30 as we spin up some springtime dry flies for area waters. Materials will be provided for the patterns I am tying and a beer is included for ten bucks!
And if you want to increase your learning curve about winter fishing, our guides have availability and have been having some good days out there recently. Give the shop a call to find out more and book a trip: 413-397-3665 or email [email protected]