Swift River: 8x and 9x

Off and on, I’ve been working on throwing size 30 dries while at flat water.

I’m avoiding quick currents and trying to see if I can get fish to take up top at slow or still water, even when there isn’t a hatch going on. The trout can eyeball the flies for a long time.

I’ve gone a few times. I’m getting a fish or two for every few hours on the water. On occasion, I am skunked.

It hasn’t been easy. One morning, I had four takes while fishing upstream of the trout…and, set too soon each time.

I’m good with all that. For more fish, I always can go back to tightlining the Farmington, Deerfield, or Millers (in the spring and fall, when it isn’t too warm).

At times, I’m throwing 8x with my H2 #4, which requires a gentle hook set. I’m finding that, once fish are on, the rod does a great job of quickly taming them. I usually fish small dries with my #000, but I really like the extra reach from a nine-foot fly rod.

Recently, I have been pairing five-weight fly line with my 11-foot Sage ESN #3 to throw dries on a Euro rod (HT to Andy Lyons for inspiring me) and a 12-foot Harvey Slackline leader.

The last time, I used 9x. I switched over to it after not getting takes and watching a Swift “ol’ timer” land fish after fish. He mentioned that he was throwing 9x. Some regulars there have 10x on-hand, just in case.

The flexible Euro rod did a great job of absorbing a trout’s surges and head shakes. The fly rod’s length also gave me tremendous reach. I managed to land a few fish, but lost the biggest one of the day when I tried to horse it in. It’s three spectacular jumps were scintillating to watch, though!

So, something a little different to mix it up a bit and keep things fresh and interesting. What do you do for a change-up?


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10 thoughts on “Swift River: 8x and 9x

  1. Wow, an 11’ESN fishing dry’s! Doable but that’s a horse of a rod for that much casting IMHO.That said I do fish a Hardy 10′ 5wt and the weight of the rod does wear one down as compared to a lighter 4wt designed for dries. It sure makes mending easier though! My 10’ESN 3wt does a decent job with a Cortland Sylk WF when fishing drys.

    My changeup this year was trying slip-strike indicators for still water up in Maine. It enables me to fish to a depth of 25′ with balanced leech patterns (see Phil Rowley), and keep the fly in the strike zone longer with less casting/retrieving. It showed lots of promise, and produced one Salmon, but windy conditions made it difficult to fish this method. A work in progress.

  2. BTW, is 10x really needed? Thought that Harvey leaders allowed larger tippets. The smallest I regularly fish is 6x which is rope compared to 10X. I do sometimes use 7X but only about a foot or so to keep twisting to a minimum. But only fish to 26’s not those 30’s!

    1. I have 10x and have never fished it. I usually fish a 6x or 7x. Only lately, as I wrote, have I ventured to 8x and 9x, but with the very limber 11′ ESN #3.

      One angler, who does very well at the Y Pool fishing only small dries, tells me that going down to 9x or 10x sometimes is required, if you’re targeting the slower water.

  3. I fish my 11footer more and more. It’s a #4 CZN from Cabelas – not sure who makes the blank “for real” so to speak. I love that length. Sure, it’s nice to manage current, but the leverage when fighting fish is fantastic – helping shorten the battle and minimize some of the stress on the fish.

    I’ve never fished lower than 7x flouro or mono on the swift. I’ve actually been going the other way with solid luck of late, fishing 4-6x flouro almost exclusively. Works great for all but the smallest of flies that I fish.

    Do you find the landing duration is really long on the lighter tippets? Given those fish likely get caught many times a year, I have always figured the less I stress them with a long battle the better… Modern lines have really changed though, and I’d not be shocked if modern 8x is the 6x of even 5 years ago durability wise…


    1. No, I play the fish very quickly. I did break one off as I was horsing it in very fast. The 11′ does a great job of fighting, with its five-weight-like butt. The #4 is just as good.

      FWIW, there are three dry-fly anglers at the Swift who seem to catch the most fish; they all use very light rods, fish down to 8x/9x (at times, 10x), and bring in fish extremely quickly. Very impressive. I don’t know how they do it!

      1. That must be the guys with the 0, 00, 000 weight rods. That is amazing. I’ve found, the past several years, I go the other way… at least in summer. The more guys are catching on #30’s, the more I want to toss a #4 neon looking Chernobyl or other giant hopperish pattern 🙂

        I’m just a contrarian at heart I guess – ha ha ha!

  4. I fish the 7X and 8X regularly in the Y-Pool with my 1 wt. Sage and do very well. This morning the Y-Pool was tough. Scattered rises. No real hatch. Dropped 3 nice ‘bows with my foam ant. Then put on the new fly design, a meal worm pattern fished wet. Hooked and landed a 20” ‘bow. A Beauty. For change up the last month and half, I’ve been fishing for shad on a fly in both Chicopee River and once in Connecticut River. Hooked into a bunch of nice fish and netted quite a few, plus the occasional large bluegill and small mouth bass. No stripers this year, but got a schoolie last year. But my arm and shoulder taxed throwing 9” 5 & 8 wts. so this week back to the 1wt.

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