The Deerfield River lit up this week with dry fly action. Especially on the upper river, reports of dense caddis hatches came in all week, with focused activity in the evenings. Try standard patterns like elk hair caddis in 14 and 16 but if they are not working sometimes you need a fly that will sit a bit lower in the surface film. Also, try pulling your dry fly under the surface at the end of the drift and letting it swing or swing soft hackles. Look also for March Browns (Sizes 12 to 14) and the lighter colored mayflies like Cahills (12 to 14), Pale Evening Duns (14-16) and Sulphurs (14 to 16 to start, smaller as the hatch progresses) to start appearing throughout the system.
Flows remain on the lower side in the Deerfield, making for ideal wading conditions but with the bright sun and heat, sometimes midday has been tough. Look for cloudy days and the edges of the day for the best fishing. Water temps in the lower river are hitting the high 60s so keep an eye on that when targeting trout but game on for shad, which are abundant throughout the lower river, and smallmouth bass, which are starting to get on their beds. In the upper river, water temperatures are perfect for trout.
When the trout are not rising, nymphs continue to work, especially pheasant tails in sizes 12-14, hare’s ears in the same sizes, bigger stoneflies like Pat’s Rubber Legs and Buggy Stones, and caddis larvae and pupae in size 14, both in olive and tan. Working some smaller size 16 nymphs that imitate sulfurs (smaller copper johns and pheasant tails will work) is a good idea as they become active even before we start seeing the adults. The usual suspect streamers will work as well. When the water comes up, the junk–mop flies and squirmies–can be very effective.
The Millers River is at ideal wading levels and it is fishing really well right now. Look for caddis in the mornings and afternoons and mayflies at dusk, especially as the river continues to drop. I even ran into a decent flying ant hatch the other night and took many fish on a size 18 ant pattern. When ants are around, trout can’t seem to resist them. Size 14 on the caddis and light mayflies in 12 to 14, with Light Cahill patterns and lighter colored parachutes likely to be successful.
The Westfield continues to fish well and is at prime water levels. The same nymphs as above will produce as will smaller streamers. A shop customer reports that squirmies are still hooking bigger rainbows too. And of course be on the lookout for caddis and mayfly hatches.
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Dries: Midges, tan and olive Caddis 14-16, BWO 16-20, Light Cahill 12-14, March Brown 12-14, Sulphurs 14-16
Nymphs: Pat’s Rubber Legs, Golden or Black Terminator Stone 8-12,14-18, Pheasant Tail Nymphs 12-18, Frenchies 12-16, Tan/Olive Mops, Natural/Olive Caddis Puppa/Larvae 12-16, Red/Copper Johns 12-16, Sexy Walt 12-16.
Water release schedule for the next day is posted after 5pm. Check again before you head to the river. Minimum Flow 130 CFS (Cubic Feet/Second). Ideal for wading and Dry Fly Action. Normal Release 800-1,000 CFS