Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A little time on the Swift

Played hooky last night.  Rosemary had taken the kids to the beach, so, looking at a mound of work for the next 3 months, and knowing this may be my last shot to get to the Swift, I took a shot and went out.

Opted to use my long rod.  The flow's are up on the river which sometimes lends itself to high sticking with a worm anchor and tiny nymph suspended above... So the 11ft 4 wt was my choice.  I can throw big dry's on this stick, and that's a major bonus given August/september is an awesome time to fish large terrestrials here.  It's a river known for #18-24 nymphs and #20-32 dry's.  Its a river, who's upper reaches are basically sand or a bit of moss.  It's BWO's, small ones... Midges and some caddis or other mayflies like sulfurs.  But August and September is the fisherman's revenge..  You can drop the 7-8X tippet, and tie on a Chernobyl ant on a #6 streamer hook and catch fish consistently.  Nothing like seeing an 18" rainbow that for months would only look up at a #28 puff of thread and cdc drifted perfectly... Now attacking a 2" long foam bug like a pike to a 2/0 deer hair slider :)!  FUN.

So, I set up with my midge / larva box at the ready, but with a beetle on a #10 as the first option.  Had a few attack it and I missed... So, time to go bigger, because these fish were looking up :)

I'd tied up these chernobyls recently (below).  Two were given to a friend, and two dropped in my bag... Some how, I'd forgotten my box full of them... so I had two on the day.  Probably caught 5, missed several others and had two break me off - which stunk.  one was a poor knot to the fly on my part, the other a poor knot to the micro ring I was trying rather than tying leader to leader.  Ugh.  Out of big dry's, I tried a few small nymphs and caught one.  then a small black hackled dry with a bright orange body that I learned about in a Brittish fly fishing mag last year.  That was just a totally random "what the heck lets try it" deal.  I finished up back to the beetle and caught a couple more and missed several by setting to soon.

The pic was taken with my phone, in a sandwich bag.  Considering that, it came out pretty good I think :)... This fish was about 18" long, he's flexed nicely in there.  The fish were fat and all in the 16-19" range I'd suspect.  Big, fat, and strong fighting in the low 50's degree water that flow's here.


On the way in, I'd noticed a car I suspected belonged to a local guide / fly fishing "celebrity" who's got a book and last year had a nice write up on her series of flies based on one created on the Swift she named the Jail Bird.  Her name is Marla Blair.  When I got back to the truck, she was packing up to go, so I grabbed a little bug that I've had luck with that's a hybrid of the Jail Bird and another larva I like.  I brought it over, introduced myself, thanked her for the great article in Fly Tyer last year and gave her a bug.  She was real appreciative and friendly, and I headed back to the truck to pack up.

Then I look up, and here comes Marla, and she graciously gave me a Jail Bird she tied.  Very cool to see it tied by the originator.  Thanks for the kind gesture Marla (if you ever bumble into this post :)), I really appreciated it!

One final point.  Matt Grobert always wraps up his great blog Caddis Chronicals (http://www.caddischronicles.com/) always signs of noting to sharpen your hooks.  Ill agree, but suggest checking your knots.  I thought i'd done well, but, clearly had not.  And it cost me some nice fish... So, tie good knots when you fish!

Keep well


  1. Those swift river rainbows have so much more color than our CT ones do, nice fish.

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    1. RM, they are really bright. That's actually how you see them sometimes - the water is so gin clear, you just see bright red sitting behind a rock or along a shadow line. It's a unique stretch of water for sure!

  3. Very nice to find cool water this time of year !

    1. Mark - agreed. I was doing the "dip your hat to keep cool" repeatedly until the sun sunk behind the hills. It's coming out of the Quabbin Reservoir, bottom release style. So it's surprisingly cool in the summer, and it's relatively warm in the winter - despite very gradual flow's all winter, rarely does it freeze. Outside this time of year, it's a real technical river - small flies and long leaders. But these few months... fun with the big stuff for sure :)