The fishing right now in western Massachusetts is excellent.
Our trout streams are loaded with fish and lots of bugs for the trout to feast on. The Deerfield is seeing consistent hatches of Cahills, Sulphurs and caddis. There are also Yellow Sallies and March Browns scattered around here and there. The surface action in the evenings can be outstanding.
Freestones like the Millers and Westfield are at really nice flow levels and fishing quite well. Same hatches as on the Deerfield.
Shad are now all throughout the Connecticut and up into some of the bigger tributaries like the lower Deerfield and the Chicopee Rivers. Stripers can be found below the Holyoke Dam.
Pre-spawn smallmouth fishing has been nothing short of fantastic. We have been taking some truly memorable smallmouth from the lower Deerfield over the past several weeks. Topwater has even started working.
For trout, the best dry fly activity is in the late evening, but the morning should be seeing caddis hatches and spinner falls. On cloudy and cooler days, the evening hatches can happen all day long. I don’t leave home without an assortment of Cahill patterns in sizes 12 and 14, sulphurs in 14 and 16 and caddis in 14 to 16 to match these hatches. I want to have duns, emergers and spinners on hand.
If you don’t see fish actively feeding on the surface, prospecting with dry flies can still be very effective. I like Humpies, Yellow Sallies and small stimulators as my prospecting flies but Klinkhammers, bigger Elk Hair caddis and parachute Adams can all also be effective. Dropping a small nymph or soft hackle off the back makes it even better.
Nymph fishing right now is also terrific. Fish are feeding all day long on nymphs. I start with a larger stonefly pattern and a size 12 or 14 pheasant tail. I will rotate through some caddis larvae and pupae as well as hare’s ears, squirrel nymphs and prince’s in sizes 12 down to 16 until I find what is working best.
The Deerfield River Watershed Trout Unlimited is hosting its Third Annual Jim Gariepy Fly Fishing Tournament on June 4 and 5, which is also free fishing weekend in Massachusetts and low flow scheduled for the Deerfield. This is gonna be a great event. The folks at the DRWTU have been doing amazing work proving to the powers that be that we have a substantial wild trout fishery on the Deerfield and other rivers that needs to be protected. They deserve our support and this is a really fun way to show that support. More info here.
For smallmouth, a lot of big Connecticut Rover fish have moved up into the lower Deerfield, Millers and other large tributaries to spawn. Some of these fish are on their beds–please leave these fish alone. They are literally protecting the future of this incredible wild fishery. But there are plenty of smallies not on beds–target faster, deeper water. I have had most success down towards the bottom with crawfish type patterns with dumbbell eyes, but they are actively chasing swimming flies in mid-column and I have heard reports of fish being taken on topwater. So, basically, it’s game on.
These are the days we dream about all winter. Get on out there!
Beginner Fly Fishing Retreat June 24-25
Women’s Fly Fishing Retreat July 22-23
Bass Camp August 12-14
If you want to increase your learning curve about spring 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.