Originally Posted by englishspringer
As a "newbie" to Fly Fishing and living in Eastern, MA the Swift is the only game in town in the mid summer. I've been there 4 times since the beginning of July and have learned a few things things. I humbly submit my learnings thus far:
1) There are a lot of great Rainbows (mostly) in the Swift and they are great fighters and a thrill to catch. I hear that there are some really big fish but for me the "good" size Rainbows seem to be 14" to 16".
2) This river sees a lot of fishermen weekends and weekdays. The famous Y pool appears crowded at all times (I've only squeezed in amongst the others there once, and got skunked). The good news is there are plenty of fish and good spots above and below the route 9 bridge, just don't expect solitude.
3) It's crazy how tiny you need to go with flies and tippet! 6X leaders and 7X tippet is apparantly normal but as a rookie with bad eyesight it's hard to tie knots or even see your dry flies on the water. This past Monday I asked a guy who was doing well what he was using and he said "size 30 nymphs and 8X tippet".
4) The fish are experienced and selective; The water is crystal clear and the fish aren't shy, they swim right by you. Unless you have what they're looking for they usually won't hit.
5) using a 9' rod I'm having a hell of time getting fish into my net. Anyone have any tips? It's embarrasing to not be able to land these beauties but with a long rod in one hand and a net in the other it can get comical as I flail around. I try to find the quiet spots so the others won't see me look like an idiot!
I'll have to learn what "normal" trout Fly Fishing is like once the weather cools and I try out some of the closer trout streams near me. I look forward to using bigger leaders/tippet and size 14-16 flies.
Well, I am by no means a trout expert, having spent most of my fly fishing years chasing bass, but here are my thoughts:
1) Yes, the bows are most plentiful, but I've seen (big) brookies as well. I understand there are browns in the Swift, but I've not seen (nor targeted) them. Don't forget the LL Salmon.
2) I agree, there are plenty of fish all over the Swift, but the Y-pool is not always crowded. I've had it to myself in late fall and early spring during the week. Of course, I was skunked both times, but I did get a spectacular Das Boot-style refusal from a LL Salmon on a Chubby Chernobyl once. The fish breached like a submarine and then said "Nah" last minute.
I agree 100% that the Swift is not a solitude-type river, although I have found it to be so occasionally.
3) The guy may have been messing with you. I don't think you have to go below 7x and size 22 nymphs. Now, I did buy some size 26 nymph hooks this year, so...
4) Presentation, presentation, presentation. If it looks like food, they'll hit it. Of course, that's easier if it looks like what they've been feeding on, which is very often something like a size 22 grey scud, or a midge pupa/larva.
5) I'm not sure what troubles you're having, but if I have a fish on the line, I don't mind other Swift River anglers seeing me deal with it! No matter what their expression, I would interpret it as jealousy! Don't worry if a fish comes unbuttoned--it happens to everyone.
Keep at it. I've had good days and bad days on the Swift, but not a one of them was bad, if that makes sense.