River Report 7/15/20

Mid-Summer Conditions

We are open today, Friday, from 10 am to 6 pm, Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm, Sunday from 10 am to 3 and Tuesday through Thursday from noon to 5 pm. 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 are excited to announce that the Deerfield Fly Shop will be hosting a bass fishing clinic on Saturday, August 15. We are still putting the finishing touches on the details, but the clinic will run about six or seven hours. The first part will be a morning classroom session covering all the basics of fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass, from bass behavior to gear to techniques and everything in between. In the afternoon we will hit the water to demonstrate techniques and then have you put it all this knowledge to use on some solid smallmouth water. The cost will be $150 and the clinic is limited to 6 people. Deerfield Fly Shop owner Brian Comfort and guide Jay Aylward from the Handmade Angler will lead the clinic. Call the shop to reserve your spot!

Conditions have not changed much since the last update. We are in mid-summer mode in area rivers. This means fishing is often best on cloudy or rainy days and in the mornings and evenings. I concentrate my efforts more on faster water, especially pocket water and deeper riffles as the water crashing over the rocks adds some much need oxygen.

Dry dropper rigs in this type of water are very effective. I am partial to Humpies with a Quasimodo pheasant tail dropper, but we are seeing more and more surface eats of bigger patterns like Stimulators, Chubby Chernobyls and PMXs as there are some big stoneflies around. Terrestrials continue to be important and will only become more so as the summer wears on. Beetles and ants are doing work, and the big hopper patterns should increase in importance every day.

The main hatches are caddis (14 to 18) in the mornings or evenings and sulphurs in the late evenings. Patterns that ride a little lower in the water like sedgehammers and sparkle duns and CDC sparkle duns for sulphurs are working best for me. We are seeing fewer cahills but more Isonychia–our CDC Thorax Slate Drake is a great imitation for the dry stage of this bug and Stalcup’s brown gilled nymph is killer underwater. Potamanthus or Golden Drakes are also around in good numbers. Bigger, lighter colored Cahill patterns as well as the yellow Humpy will work for this big mayfly. Yellow Sallies in 14 and 16 are abundant and very effective at times.

The lower Swift is on fire right now and we are running regular floats down there. Here’s Mike with a typical rainbow and happy client.

Nymphing is always effective on the Deerfield and especially so right now. Pat’s Rubber legs and larger golden stones are doing very well as are the usual suspects: pheasant tails, prince nymphs, hare’s ears, caddis larvae and caddis pupae. With the increased Isonychia activity, adding zug bugs in 12 and 14 and Stalcup’s gilled nymphs in 14s into your rotation is a good idea. The olive Stalcup’s gilled nymphs make a good golden drake nymph as well.

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. Jig style nymphs like Frenchie’s and Walt’s worms are designed to get down quick and dirty and the inverted hook decreases snags. 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. Stop in to pick one up for a day and give it a try on the river.

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. At lower water try smaller streamers like the single hook flies Rich tied for us or concentrate on the deeper holes with big flies. Sometimes you’ll find a nice surprise! As always with streamer fishing, vary your retrieve and mix up flies by size, profile and color until the fish tell you what’s working.

Reece continues to find quality carp in area rivers. They can also be found in numerous ponds as well. If you haven’t tried for these fish, you may want to consider it. If you like seeing you’re backing, anyway.

On the lower Deerfield and the Connecticut River, the smallmouth bass fishing continues to be solid. 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! Chartreuse has been a good color on these. We also have some Swingin’ Ds that will help you lure some monsters up from the deeper water around good structure. All of the Catching Shadows streamers will work great on the bass too.

The carp fishing has started to heat up further as most of these fish are off the spawn now. Look for flats in the major rivers and try a fly like the Carpnasty or Montana’s Hybrid to get into these wily, hard-fighting fish.

Shop guide and proprietor of the Handmade Angler Jay Aylward tied these gorgeous Hawg Goblins for the shop. The largemouth bite is on and these beasts will get some big ones to commit!

I would avoid the Millers and Westfield right now for trout, unless you intend on keeping your catch. Water temperatures are too high for trout to survive catch and release fishing. The Millers has great smallmouth fishing throughout, and the lower Westfield also has decent smallie fishing.

As mentioned, the Swift is fishing well right now as it remains the coldest of our area rivers. Sulphurs are hatching in the evenings. During the day, eggs and worms can fool these selective trout.

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, Zug Bugs 12-14, Stalcup’s Gilled Nymph 14, Tan/Olive Mops, damselfly nymphs, Natural/Olive Caddis Pupae/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