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Good day in the Pioneer Valley

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I had a little bit of work Saturday morning in the western part of MA and figured on my way home I could hit a small stream out that way that I've been eye-balling on the map for a while now.  Finished up my job at noon and headed to the water.  I pass a tag sale on the way; I see fishing poles and I can't pass without stopping.  Glad I did as I picked up a copy of Art Flick's Master Fly-Tying Guide, a CDL saddle, and a half dozen packs of seal fur for $15. 




I had hoped to come across a little Mom & Pop on the way to snag a quick lunch, as I had left home without eating.  Unfortunately, I didn't come across anything.  Got on the water by one.  Nice little stream.  From the occasional clumps of dislodged knotweed along the banks, I could tell it had been pretty full last week after the rains from the first half of the month.  




Lots of skinny water, a few deeper runs here and there.  First promising place was an old bridge abutment. 




Tied on a 'Slim Jim’ and saw a decent size shadow chase it and turn away. 




A few more casts and landed this Rainbow. 




I figured the ruckus he caused would be the end of getting anything else from that little pool, but decided to try a few more casts, which surprisingly drew another few misses.  I needed something a little more visible, so switched to a John Storey dry fly. 




I've had a two of these in my box for a while now, and haven't tied any on, which was unfortunate as at the 3rd or 4th cast I pulled in a second Rainbow, the same one I landed just a few minutes before, LOL.  Hungry little guy.  




I moved on down the stream to another likely run.  After throwing the dry at the tail of the run, I tied on a heavy soft hackled stonefly pattern I've been playing around with to get the fly down in the faster water.  I was a little surprised to come up empty.  






Swinging the stonefly through the skinny water as I headed down stream to the next run: up against the bank, under the trees.  I picked up a few small Brookies - always an encouraging sign. 




I could see a rooftop through the trees further downstream, and as it's now after three and I'm practically starving to death, I decided to head to the car, try and find a small store for a sammich, and then come back to any streamside pullouts I may have passed on the way.  Of course, I couldn't pass up that old bridge pool, and was surprised to pull out a half dozen small Brookies.  They must have been holding deep when I was throwing the dry.  Unusual for those little guys to not go for a dry.  No sign of my old friend the Rainbow, though.       




Thirty minutes down the country road and passing a few pull-outs that aren't posted, and I still have not come across any food, so I decide to head back to civilization before I pass out.  After getting a packaged sandwich and a coffee in the first gas station I come across, I'm feeling a little better and decide to stop at my usual haunt, the Swift River, before heading home.  


The Swift River really is a jewel, and the flows are well regulated by the powers that be who control the Quabbin Reservoir and Park, created back in the 30's when 4 towns were flooded to create a virtually unlimited water supply for the city of Boston.  It's a bottom release dam, so water temps are cold and constant, and paradoxically, the river's flow increases when our summers are drier, because for some strange reason, the output is inversely tied to the flow of the Connecticut River.    Anyhow, as our July has been unusually wet, its running at 50-60cfs.  


There is a hatch of small mayflies or maybe caddis, too small for me to discern, with an occasional large brown mayfly here and there and the waxwings are having a field day.  I'm still rigged up with the stonefly pattern, which proves just as attractive to these Swift River Brookies as it was to their small stream brethren.  I land a few and lose a few of them as I swing the stonefly, making my way downstream toward the end of the wadable portion of this section.  After losing the stonefly pattern on a submerged log, I switch to a Jennings Iso Nymph, which does just as well as well. 






There are regular rises just past a log jam, but due to the depth of the water and low, overhanging limbs, I can't cast my fly to the area.  The only option is to drift the fly into the area.  I cast as far as I can, quartering down, and the fly and line swing into a straight line, and I'm able to wade and reach our just enough that the fly passes the outside of the log jam, and I start a slow raise my rod tip, let out a foot of line, lower, let drift, raise, let out line, lower, repeat.  It works, the line goes tight as I'm raising the rod, and a big Rainbow breaks the surface.  After a good fight, I'm able to get him in the net.  A stocker, obviously, but a good size one.  




It was good day.  

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I third it. Great day. Start by making money on the job and then fishing two great spots on the way home. Not many of us get to do that.

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