Consolation Prize, Caveman-Style

I awoke early this morning and checked the gauges. With time limited to fish, it was tough to know where to go, given the intense rain that had fallen and was still falling.

But, something caught my eye: the Swift River flows at 1,500+ cfs, which I believe is an all-time high. I just had to see it.

Moreover, I rarely fish that river these days, as I think better fish and fishing are available at other places, and the Swift River crowds deter me.

But, with a hard rain and high flows, I assumed few would be out. Plus, for a while, I’ve wanted to see where the Swift trout go when water is really churning out of the dam. There’s a particular stretch that I thought could hold them, and I wanted to see if my guess was right.

Unsurprisingly, I didn’t see anyone else when I got to one of the parking areas. You could hear the river from far away, a distinctly low rumble of powerful water, sounding both ominous and sonorous.

Paths were flooded, side braids existed where none did before, and the landscape was waterlogged and looked entirely different.

Then, I got to the river. It was quite a sight. White water, waves, and submerged banks. Some tall and regal trees were now mini-me versions of themselves, so high was the water.


I walked slowly and kept my eye on the water’s edge, looking for short slicks that exist away from the main and powerful current. This was a stretch of the river that I thought could shield some fish during high flows.

Soon, I saw the a fish (in the middle of the pictures below).

A trout in such a context is amazing to behold. As the world around it churns and chaos reigns, a fish can sit placidly in a cushion of soft water, lazily finning.

I edged towards the bank but access was tough. Trees were all around. But, I started to work the water.

I threw all sorts of flies in all sorts of ways but couldn’t get a take. Periodically, I would see more fish along this particular stretch, but in all cases, it was tough to reach them.

I threw with both my #6 tightlining rod and my #7 switch rod, which was paired with a double-tapered line, making for easier roll casts. I lost a lot of streamers and nymphs.

At one point, I slipped into the water, but thankfully it was only a partial dunk. Of course, there was cold rain and wind, too. This kind of fishing definitely was not for the faint-of-heart.

But, it was nice to see fish where I thought they would be, although this was a “you can look but you can’t touch” outing.

I hit a few other spots but didn’t see any other fish. So, by mid-morning, I reeled up and decided to head to BT’s for some ribs.

When I arrived at 11.30 am, the line was already to the door. Thankfully, I snagged a seat at the counter amidst a line of other guys. And, there we were, all silently eating ribs with our hands in a silent and communal caveman-like ritual.

Hey, I love catching fish as much as anyone, but a good session at BT’s is a tremendous consolation prize.

Leave the dry flies at home, folks. More rain is coming the next few weeks.


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6 thoughts on “Consolation Prize, Caveman-Style

  1. Was on the Swift twice last week: shut out on Wednesday with 879 cfs and caught two nice rainbows on Monday with 700 cfs. Only fly that has worked for me in this high, rushing water have been Woolly Buggers, especially in sparkle olive and sparkle black, though two weeks ago wade-fishing in the Spillway with 411 cfs I caught several, including a salmon, on a #12 Hare’s Ear Wet Fly, drifting and swinging the fly. With the river almost twice as high and fast, I’m not surprised there were no fish in your net. Casting from the banks is getting harder with tree limbs overhead, just waiting for your fly, and I did leave some shiny decorations in a couple branches.

    1. Haha. Well, you’ve always been a giver by nature, and some of my own decorations are on some currently-submerged sticks!

  2. I am gonna have to get to BT’s for some of those ribs. Those look mighty tasty.

    Also, that video of the Swift is at finally letting the river live up to it’s name. Geez! Next time you are interested in the Swift I will take to some less populated spots! Especially in the middle of the summer I have some ringers.

    Sorry you didn’t get anything, but at least you got to see some sights and fish!

  3. The fact that the caveman references related to the eating of BTs and were not related to you wading in and hoisting that big fly immune fish out of the river with your bare hands left me sorely dissapointed! ;). We took a family outing to Doane’s falls in Royalston with no rods in tow. Pretty impressive today.

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