There are three species of trout that live in the Swift. I love all of them but not to the same degree. Let me rank them from worst to first. (I hate saying something is “worst” but it rhymes in a nice way). Number 3 is my least favorite and number 1 is the best.
Number 3 – The Rainbow Trout
“Wow, I just caught a 20 inch rainbow!” We have all heard that statement but what does it mean? I’ll tell you what it means. If you are in Massachusetts or in most of the streams in the eastern U.S. you have caught a hatchery raised rainbow trout. The river that you caught it in probably doesn’t have a ghost of a chance of “raising” a bow of that size let alone one of them holding over through the winter into the next season. The vast majority of rainbows in this country (except the Rockies and Alaska) are the product our hatchery system(s). Massachusetts raises some very big bows and I have clients from New Hampshire who fish this state because “the rainbows are bigger”. It’s not that our rivers are any better it’s just that the hatcheries are and there lies the problem. One day the trout are few but the next day they’re swimming between our legs! There is an artificiality to this reliance on rainbow trout which is a trout that is fairly easy to grow and and grows large but does not reproduce in most Ma. waters.
I’d like to see fewer of them.
Number 2 – The Brook Trout
We are the luckiest anglers in New England. The Swift carries a mother lode of Brook Trout that is hard to duplicate in the northeast. Where else can you catch 8 to 10 inch brookies as a common occurrence? I took 16 this morning. Where else can you have a good chance to nail a 15 inch brook trout without travelling North for 8 hours? 20 inch brookies are caught every year!
Now some may thumb their nose at an 8 to 10 inch brookie and that is too bad for them. I for one would rather catch a 10 inch brook trout than a 15 inch bow ANY DAY. Why?? BECAUSE IT’S WILD and catching them on a 7 foot 3wt bamboo rod just can’t be beat.
Number 1 – The Brown Trout
This is truly the Ghost of the Swift. They are there and in fairly good numbers but they play it safe by hiding next to logs and under cut banks AND avoiding full sunlight.
Our browns can thank the huge brook trout population for their monster size and there is not a brook trout in the Swift that would be safe from the 22 pounder sampled by the DFW last year. I’ve seen them over 10 pounds and have caught one about 5 pounds a few years ago.
It appears that reproduction is low and I’m wondering if some additional browns stocked instead of the clonebows would help.
If you are fishing crowded water and feel that you are being squeezed by other anglers then you have nobody to blame but yourself. Crowded water will always bring out the worst in many people so why be part of the problem. I know that many really relish the “herd mentality” and probably feel safe with people around. I look to avoid them. That’s easy on the Millers and the EB and is actually easy on the Swift except for the kayaks. EXPLORE, EXPLORE, EXPLORE!!!!!