River Report 4/28/23
Well, spring is here and that means some high water, stretches of good water levels, some cooler days, some warmer days and, most importantly, more bugs!
Just as the runoff was subsiding last week and the rivers were getting to really nice levels, we got a big blast of rain. Just as that is wearing off, we are scheduled to get dumped on Saturday and Sunday. That’s spring I guess! The Deerfield has been on the higher side but often fishable. I suspect the rain this weekend will make fishing tough here. But I also think it will come back down and they will cut flows fairly quickly early next week. And maybe we won’t get as much rain as forecast. When flows from Fife are in the 800 to 1000 range the upper river can still fish well. For the lower river, I look for flows below 1200 or so for best fishing 0pportunities. Wading is limited but the fish are also often found along the edges of the river. In this scenario, nymphing is productive–lots of weight to get flies down quickly as the fish will often be in small pockets of current relief surrounded by much faster moving water. For fly selection, a bigger stonefly like a Terminator or Pat’s Rubber Leg with a size 12 or 14 pheasant tail is a good place to start. Other good flies: copper johns, hare’s ears, caddis larva and smaller stones.
Streamers are also very effective this time of year as the fish are getting more and more active. As with nymphs, I like a heavily weighted fly or fish a sink tip line to get the fly down into the strike zone quickly.
This time of year floating the river is often the best way to get at more fish. Our guides are booking up but we still have some dates available so give us a call if you want to fish the river from a boat.
The bug activity has been good and will only get better. There are lots of caddis in 14 to 16, still some smaller stones in 12 to 14 kicking around and the prime spring mayflies have started and will only get more prevalent. Scattered reports of Hendricksons on the Deerfield and other area rivers are coming in. Quill Gordons and Blue Quills are also around. Look for BWOs on cloudy cooler days.
While you may very well find some pockets of it, steady dry fly action on the Deerfield might still be a week or two away. For more consistent dry action right now I would look to area freestones like the North, Green, Ware and Westfield Rivers. These streams also tend to come down to better fishing levels faster after rain. The Miller’s River had been down to decent levels but with the rain and more to come I suspect it will be up for a couple weeks.
This is also a good time of year to hit smaller streams for wild and stocked trout. They fish better at higher levels and come down fast. They should also provide good, steady dry fly action.
The Swift is fishing very well right now. Hendricksons have been hatching in the later afternoons and BWOs have been steady in the lower stretches. Midges, of course, are effective. Wicked Pissahs in 26 to 30 have been ringing the bell. The suckers are also spawning right now so sucker spawn patterns have been taking some nice fish as well. Size 18 to 20 Adams have been good on top and size 20 to 22 pheasant tails have been effective below the surface.
The warmwater bite is really good right now. I get some of my best smallmouth bass in this pre-spawn period over the next month. Bottom crawling patterns in black work as do much larger swimming patterns in brighter colors like white or yellow. The fish will be in eddies and other places where the water is a bit slower. Largemouth are eating pretty good too. Streamers and small minnow patterns have been effective. Pink was a good color for me the other day.
Carp have been feeding pretty good as well. The usual buggy patterns like Wabbit Worms and Hybrids have been getting some fish to net. Look for warmer water.
May 3 and 17–Free Beginner Casting Introduction
June 9-10–Beginner’s Fly Fishing Retreat
July 7-8– Women’s Fly Fishing Retreat