River Report July 1. 2023

As we roll into summer here in western Mass, the fishing remains really good. A relatively cool late spring/early summer and some timely rains have kept the rivers in good shape and the fish are happy!

We are open 10am to 3pm on Tuesday, July 4–Happy Fourth!

The upper Deerfield has been running pretty high this past week and while this has made things a little tough on wading anglers, it is a good thing for the long term. That said, the fishing can be really good when the water is high. While it is easier to fish the upper river from a boat when the water is up, shorebound anglers can still have very good success. You need to pick your spots a little more carefully and recognize that there is only so much water you will be able to fish effectively from each spot. So you might need to move around some.

I like to fish bigger flies when the water is up. Chubby Chernobyls are a great option and dropping a size 14 or 16 pheasant tail or caddis nymph off that can work well. Larger mayflies like size 10 or 12 Adams can also be effective as can big beetle and ant patterns. For subsurface, larger stonefly nymphs paired with an gilled brown nymph or zug bug can be effective. Pheasant tails, princes, hare’s ears and copper johns in 14 or 16 are also a good bet. along with caddis larvae and pupae in the same sizes.

When the water is down, I stick with the same nymph set up but may rotate in some smaller versions of the same flies and maybe some zebra midges too. For dries, I will still fish terrestrials and Chubbies, but may go a size or two down on these as well.

We are seeing some good summer hatches. Isos are around sporadically through the day as are Cahills in 12 to 16 in the evenings (and some mornings).  You should see some sulphurs still on the upper river. Caddis in 14 and 16, tan and olive, can hatch in the mornings and afternoons/evenings.

The lower river, below the number two dam, has been reaching temperatures in excess of 70 degrees so I am no longer targeting trout down there.

The Westfield is at a great level right now and should fish well for at least another couple weeks. I would target the Gorge section of the East Branch. The above mentioned tactics and flies should produce here as well.

The Swift is fishing great. The sulphur hatch is winding down but other mayflies and caddis are popping. It is also definitely terrestrial season–especially lower down the river. Ants, beetles and hoppers, in smaller sizes, have been taking good fish.

The warmwater bite is terrific right now and should stay that way for awhile. While the lower D is too warm for trout, the smallies are happy as can be down here. Topwater has been effective, especially in the mornings and evenings. Frog and mouse patterns are always a good bet. As we get some warmer weather and the river recedes, I will switch to smaller topwater to imitate the dragonflies and damselflies. Large chubbies and hopper patterns will also work.

Streamer patterns can also be effective. On sunny days I may go a little deeper with these. I switch size and color until the smallies tell me what they are really liking. Crawfish patterns near the bottom are always an effective strategy.

Largemouth are also eating pretty good right now. Again, my preference is topwater. Larger frog patterns can be deadly in the evenings and into the night.

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