Man, could we use some rain! After last summer’s record high rainfall, this summer has definitely regressed back toward the drought conditions that seem to be the new normal. Combined with some scorching temperatures, this lack of rain has definitely impacted most river fishing in the area.
If you are fishing for trout, and plan to release them, please consider fishing only at the Swift River until we get significant amounts of rain and/or much cooler temperatures. Even the uppermost stretches of the Deerfield in Mass have been registering water temperatures in the mid-70s. If you really have to fish the Deerfield, I would do it when they are releasing from Fife Dam and fish close to the dam or maybe at first light–but bring a thermometer and please leave the trout alone if the water is 70 or higher. We have a remarkable wild trout fishery in the upper sections of the Deerfield, but these fish are not built for water temps we are seeing now. Please give a thought to the long term health of this fishery when deciding whether it’s worth it to fish for a day right now. Conditions can change so please give the shop a call or stop by to get the latest info.
The better news is the bass fishing can be quite good right now. Here at the shop, we are all warmwater fanatics. If you are new to pursuing warmwater species on the fly, drop by the shop and we’ll be happy to get you up and running. While six, seven and eight weight rods and specialty fly lines can be helpful, a typical trout set up will do the trick with a couple of tweaks.
From Bardwells Ferry downstream to the confluence with the Connecticut River, the Deerfield is loaded with bass. The Bardwells area is perfect for a four or five weight and small poppers or streamers–you can be into smallish bass all day long. The same holds true for most of the Millers River. An eight to ten inch smallie often fights harder than a 14 inch trout!
As you get further downstream on the Deerfield, the fish can get larger and six and seven weights may be helpful to get bigger offerings to these smallies (but smaller poppers and woolly buggers thrown on a five weight will also work). Big Chubby Chernobyls, dead drifted with a twitch here and there can be super effective. Crayfish and other bottom dwelling patterns can also work well during the day. I would concentrate on moving water–riffles and runs. You can swing a crayfish or woolly bugger through these areas much like you would for trout and end up with some decent smallies on the line. These fish can get a little fussy in these low water, high sunlight conditions so be prepared to lengthen your leader a bit and maybe drop down to 3x tippet.
In the early mornings and late evenings, bigger bass poppers and sliders can get fish on the surface. Or during overcast or rainy days (if we ever get one again!).
Jim Dowd and Eric Halloran will be offering a Spey Casting Clinic on Saturday, August 27, at 10 am. This two plus hour clinic will cover basic Spey casts for both double- and single-handed rods. Cost is $60. We will have Spey and Switch rods for you to use or you can bring your own. Call the shop or email [email protected] to register.
Our area largemouth ponds have also been fishing quite well. I would concentrate my time in the early mornings or evenings into dark for the best fishing. Surface poppers and sliders are best at these times. Fish along the weed beds and among the lily pads for best results–weed guards are very helpful! You can also try fishing through the weeds with an intermediate line and a fly with some buoyancy like a slider or a Drunk and Disorderly type fly. The up and down action on this set up can really entice some ferocious strikes.
The carp fishing has also been quite good. These fish are very hearty and can withstand exerting energy in these higher temperatures. They are most available to those of us with a fly rod when they are feeding in shallow flats. But they are also very skittish when they are in this skinny water so delicate presentations are key. Carp feed on small crayfish and various nymphs, among other things, and can be found rooting around the mud flats looking for them. A small crayfish pattern like the Carpnasty is an effective fly to try. Bright, sunny, cloudless days with little breeze–basically the worst days for most every other kind of fishing around here–are the best days for carp fishing. This is a very visual game so abundant sun and no wind make that easier.
We are very excited to announce that the Deerfield Fly Shop will be offering its first ever hosted trip this fall! Come join us October 10 to 13 in the remarkable waters around Charleston, SC, as we hunt for tailing redfish on the flood tides. The trip will include lodging, local transportation and three full days on the water with some of the Charleston areas best fly fishing guides and their flats boats. Please call the shop or email [email protected] for more details.
If you want to increase your learning curve about fly fishing, our guides have availability and have been having some great days out there recently. Give the shop a call to find out more and book a trip: 413-397-3665 or email [email protected].