2020 at the Swift River

I made my first trip of the decade to the Swift on Saturday. Since the area below Route 9 reverted to catch-and-keep, I focused on the fly-fishing only area.

There were a few cars at the lot at 9:00, but the rain kept the usual crowds at bay. I find that fish bite better during inclement weather, especially during the winter. I’m also a bit of a die-hard. I planned to follow up my last trip by throwing some more “crazy” patterns, and I was excited to throw some new flies.

The first few spots I fished failed to produce. Although I got a few looks, I felt my larger anchor flies spooked fish, and I had several outright refusals. An hour or so later, I gave in and decided to downsize my offerings. It didn’t take long before I had my first take. After a strong fight and tense moments, I had my first fish of 2020 in the net. A nice ‘bow.


Over the next few hours, the bite turned on, and I landed a mix of rainbows and brookies. The top producer for me was a size 22 Rainbow Scud, but small midges and soft hackles also worked. Eventually, the rain got to me, and I decided to work my way back to my car.

On my way back to the car, I talked to a guy who was relatively new to fly fishing. He felt somewhat discouraged from getting refusals, so I gave him some advice and a couple flies. I ended my day swinging soft hackles at a couple spots, but to no avail, unfortunately. Still, I felt content and glad to get a great day on the river.


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14 thoughts on “2020 at the Swift River

  1. Thanks for the report. It was Nice of you to give him a few flies. On one of my first fly fishing trips ever a few years ago I was loaded with steelhead flies that I mostly bought on eBay. I gave quite a few away buy it for found that while most anglers would readily accept flies, very few of any came my way on that or subsequent trips. Found similar results while shad fishing. Always feels good when someone offers you a fly. Maybe it was because I don’t tie my own flys. Nice of you anyways.

    1. Thanks Bob. I went through a similar situation four years ago while fishing the Lamprey river in the fall. I had trouble getting my flies down to the fish and another angler noticed and offered me some split shot. Within 5 casts, I had one brown and then another. That really resonated with me all these years later and I make it a point to help when I can.

  2. Love that you gave away some advice and fly’s. Such a gift to someone! I’ve done that a couple times over the years… The most memorable to a kid who was with his dad and just figuring it out. Gave him some flies, tippet and ideas. We will have another day to fish… sharing info is a heck of a gift and well worth giving!

    Glad you had fun!

    1. Thanks Will, I completely agree. At one point or another, we were all that kid who was just figuring it out.

      1. Hey I’m knew you fishing the Stillwater river , I was wondering if you could give me a location point of where you can start fishing spinning gear and not just fly fishing any way you could point me in the right direction

  3. Props for helping out that fellow, Ashu. I’m glad you got out and connected with some very nice rainbows. I’m glad to hear soft hackles were working being they are my favorite flies to fish. Hoping to get out this weekend, if it is raining, so much the better.

  4. Performed a similar, act of Kindness today. Nymphed Catch & Release, for three hours and caught one Brook Trout. Ran into a Rookie from Boston MA. En route out, gave him two Crystalline Scuds. Free cheers, for paying it forward. Officially been Fly Fishing and Tying, for Fourteen Years. I was that Kid, on Penns Creek years ago. I know that feeling☺️


    William D. Flack

    1. Thank you William. Like you can also attest, it’s the little acts of kindness that encourages newbies to continue fly fishing. A little humanity goes a long way in making the sport seem a little less elitist.

  5. Nice report. And good the new year brought trout to your net. Yes, I’ve given a fly or two many times, especially to youngsters and obvious newbies. One of the regulars on the Swift used to bring his grandson, who became a pretty good fisher by age 12. He bragged to me once that Old Bill gave him a fly earlier that morning. He was so proud that Bill thought enough of him to gift him a fly. I congratulated him. The took my hat off, which I designed with our TU chapter logo, and gave it to him. I said, in the future keep telling how Bill gave you a fly, but Gary gave me a hat!

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