River Report 6/26/20

Summer conditions settle in

Please stop in and say hi. We are open from noon to 5, Tuesday through Sunday. I am often here at other hours so call us at 413-397-3665 if you need something at times outside of our posted hours. Also, we are still more than happy to do curbside service if you prefer. Just give us a call or email brian@deerfieldflyshop.com.

We could use some rain. With the heat, sun and low water conditions, the Deerfield is fishing like it’s mid to late summer. Please fish upriver–above Charlemont– if you plan on releasing your trout. The temperatures in the lower and middle Deerfield are spiking well past 70 during the day so any trout hooked will likely die.

Good days are still being had, but they may require a little more effort than just a few weeks ago. The main hatches continue to be cahills, sulphurs and caddis. The mayflies often come off right at dark, so don’t leave the river too soon! We just received some new cahill and sulphur patterns as well as a re-supply of our other patterns. The more subtle patterns like sparkle duns and CDC patterns can be really effective in this lower water. Spinners are also working well, even when there are not many dead spinners in the water.

During the day, attractor patterns like humpies and Wulffs and terrestrials like ants and beetles get you into fish. There are also some large stoneflies around, too, so some larger stimulators, PMXs, and Chubby Chernobyls may also do the trick, though I would fish these in deeper or faster moving water. Dropping a nymph off the back is always a good idea.

This is a good time of year to try tightline nymphing techniques as the trout tend to burrow down into deeper holes and faster water. They are still feeding on nymphs throughout the day but the takes can be very subtle. Tightline techniques will help you get your fly down to the fish and also register these soft takes. We have a number of tightline nymphing rods available at the shop for free demos. We have Echo’s top end Shadow X in a 10’6″ 3 weight and their mid-range Shadow II in a 10′ 2 weight and 10’6″ four weights.

The meat rack! These morsels of wholesome goodness from Catching Shadows and hand-tied by Rich Strolis himself are now available at the shop. These flies are highly effective on big trout and bass.

The trout can get very fussy on dry flies, especially in low water. Sometimes you need to change your presentation angle–try a downstream presentation to difficult fish–just be sure to throw in a reach mend or wiggle mend on the cast to get a nice drag free drift. You can also try lengthening your leader. I fish mostly 12 foot leaders to 4X or 5X with an additional two feet of tippet. Going down to 6X and 7x on the tippet is also sometimes necessary.

When the water is up on the Deerfield, try throwing some bigger streamers, both single hook and articulated. We stocked up on some great patterns from Rich Strolis at Catching Shadows that are proven big brown catchers. If we ever get a rainy or overcast day again, with some high flows, trout beware!

On the lower Deerfield, the smallmouth bass fishing has really turned on. Give the trout a break and come try for these hardfighting fish. They are some of the best flyrod fish out there! The topwater bite is going strong all day, but especially in the mornings and evenings. We just received an assortment of poppers and sliders at the shop that will get the job done up top! We also have some Swingin’ Ds that will help you lure some monsters up from the deeper water around good structure. Many of the Catching Shadows streamers will work great on the bass too.

Smallmouth fishing on the Connecticut is also very good, with some easy to wade sections behind Turner’s Falls a good place to start. The carp fishing has also been strong on the flats. Patterns like Montana’s hybrid and the Carpnasty will fool these incredible fighters.

This beautiful creature is a young of the year brown trout from the upper Deerfield River, collected by the Mass F and W during their research. It demonstrates that brown trout are indeed spawning successfully on the Deerfield despite adverse conditions created by erratic dam releases.

I would highly recommend leaving the trout in the Westfield and Millers River alone until we get a significant amount of rain. The lower sections of both these rivers support good smallmouth populations though that are well worth a try.

The Swift River is always cold and is actually running higher than average as its release from the Quabbin dam is tied to the levels on the Connecticut–when this is low, more water is released into the Swift to augment flows, or so I’ve been told. Reports say the sulphur hatch on the Swift is on fire right now, which gives anglers an opportunity to put away the tiny 28s and 30s and throw huge, by Swift standards, 16 and 18 sulphurs! Ants and beetles are also a good bet on the Swift this time of year.

Guided trips and lessons available. Call us at 413-397-3665 or email brian@deerfieldflyshop.com.

Dries: Midges, tan and olive Caddis 14-16, BWO 16-20, Light Cahill 12-14, March Brown 12-14, Sulphurs 14-16, Humpies 10-12, Royal Wulffs 10-12, Stimulators 10-16, Yellow sallies 14-16, beetles, and ants.

Nymphs: Pat’s Rubber Legs,  Golden or Black Terminator Stone 8-12, hares’ ears 12-18, Pheasant Tail Nymphs 12-18, Frenchies 12-16, Tan/Olive Mops, damselfly nymphs, Natural/Olive Caddis Puppa/Larvae 12-16, Red/Copper Johns 12-16, Sexy Walt 12-16. 

Streamers:  Woolly Buggers Olive/Black 6-10, White/Olive Sculpzilla 8,Bank Robber 2, Mini Headbangers, Alter Egos, Silly Rabbits, Complex Twist Bugger, Heisenberg Baby Bow/Cowboy/White 6, Sculpin Bunny, Black/Brown Rubber Bugger 4, Olive and Gold/White Mini Drunk & Disorderly.

Water Flows for Fife Brook Dam can be found here

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

For Miller’s River in Erving here

For Miller’s River Bear’s Den area here

For East Branch of the Westfield here

Deerfield River Fishing Report