|Spot the rainbow.|
But it also means that its time to check out some rivers that have been on the bucket list.
Destination: Swift River in Ware, Massachusetts.
Ok, so driving to a small town west of Worchester, Mass to go trout fishing seemed a little weird. But the fishing didn't disappoint. For those unfamiliar with the Swift, here is a quick overview.
It's a tailwater, as in a real tailwater, that feeds from 70 feet below the Quabbin Resevoir. The water is Gray Goose Vodka clear and runs Eskimo cold year round below the dam (a.k.a. the "Bubbler"; in Swift River speak that is). The section from the dam to the Rt. 9 bridge is fly fishing only and catch and release. The result is a lot of fish, some really big ones, and some damn well-conditioned fish. In fact, the rainbows are trained professionals. As you wade, they literally stack up below you and feed on the micro-midge larvae that you stir up. The more you kick up, the more they stack up. The crunch of gravel under foot is their version of a dinner bell. We joked about how we all had a little pet rainbow that followed us around the river, and how they made the perfect pets since they needed little in the way of care and maintenence. Just keep fishing and wading, delivering them a steady stream of size 26 midge larvae and they were happy. If you are familiar with the "San Juan Shuffle," well, there is also the "Swift River Shuffle." It's illegal on the SJ; not sure about the Swift.
The bonus was the big landlocks that had dropped down out of the Quabbin for the fall spawn. The salmon needed to be force fed. They would eat, but it had to be right in their grill. Typical spawners. The rainbows... bring your midge box and your 7x flouro; these fish will laugh at your well-tied size 14 Prince Nymph, they have seen it all.
Here is a vid... Go ahead and try to count 'em. You can sight fish on the entire stretch from Rt 9 to the dam. Fish numbers were high on the entire stretch. Catch and release really works, imagine that.
And some stills of those nice salmon...
As a bonus, we found a local who was willing to work as a rod caddy for us... He was quick with a joke and worked for cigarettes and cheap beer. Apparently they all wear camo to get an edge on those well trained rainbows. Photography skills with an iPhone were a bonus.
Bobbing indicators, screeching reels, tight lines, and all that!