This week brought some warmer weather to the Swift river so obviously I had to stretch my legs and head out. The river is pretty low right now and the fish are lethargic and spook easily. Its hard fishing but its worth it. The beavers have declared war on the surrounding trees lining the banks just past Candy Lane. Its amazing what these little guys are doing and its making some great cover for the fish to hide from the many birds overhead. As I was fishing a Great Blue Heron glided right in front of me when I was in the water. I could feel the wind from its wings as it flew by only six feet from my face. Not soon after that I spotted a Bald Eagle on patrol, flying up and down the river. Winter is a great time to see these beautiful predators hunting. Its amazing.
I tried all my usual flies but nothing seamed to be working. I’ve found that in the winter months trout either want something crazy small – like size 22 / 26 or the total opposite, a big fluffy bugger. I finally caved in after seeing fish after fish reject my flies and tied on a San Juan Worm. I don’t really like fishing with San Juan Worms but sometimes they do the trick. First cast out. Bam! So when all els fails tie on one of these bad boys and give it a shot. I caught five fish total, which I’ll take in late January! The last fish of the day was 17” and caught on an olive bugger in fast water. Good end to a good day.
ps: Its not over yet. The Swift still has fish kicking around and the freeze might not happen until mid February! Get out and catch some fish!
Here is a video to get you through the snow. Every year in some rivers of North Patagonia this wasp larva eat on willow tree leaves falling on huge amounts to slow crystal clear pools and creating great sight fishing situations. Enjoy.
The snow has finally stuck and most of the rivers here in Western Massachusetts have mellowed out. The fish have begun their lathargic feeding pace and its time to slow down and regroup – tie some flies and sip on some bullet rye whiskey by a warm fire. Maybe in two weeks…
The Swift is still on. I headed out there last weekend and had one of the more productive days I’ve had in a while. This time of year is not for the faint of heart. It requires a lot of patience and moving around to find the larger rainbows that are still eager to take a fly. If you’re going to head out this month bring the right gear. Just a little discomfort can make your trip miserable if you don’t plan accordingly.
The trout are also very picky this time of year. I find that most of the fish in the Swift go for flies with brighter colors in the winter months. Orange cone headed flies and anything with some red or pink tends to get their attention. The brook trout especially dig those patterns, they are hard to find but worth the search. If you tie your own flies get creative and tie up some Wet Red Tags with a gold beaded head. Soft hackle is your best friend on this river especially olive hackle. Grouse flies work as well, use orange and pink floss for the body and you’ll do just fine.
We have some more time to play on this river before the freeze of winter sets in. Lets make the most of it. See you out there!