A Father-Daughter Float on the Swift River

Edit: We fished an area that isn’t accessible from shore due to private property and tough access. And, it is too deep for wading. In fact, we didn’t see any shore-bound or wading anglers. Writing this in case people are concerned that Chris floats the heavily-waded areas of the Swift. He does not.


I don’t really float rivers often. I don’t own watercraft and hiring a guide is most certainly a luxury.

But, when one of your college-aged kids, the one who loves to fly fish, asks for a father-daughter outing, you check the budget, do some math, call Chris Jackson, and pencil in a date. It would take a lot for me to book a float for me. But, for one of my children? An easy decision.

We left the house at an hour that was very early for a young adult. In fact, my daughter said, “I don’t remember the last time I got up this early!” It was a smooth drive, and we met up with Chris at 7 am, eager to fish a river that I’ve never drifted.

Chris knows his stuff, and we quickly oared to some micro spots. It was amazing. All around us, you could see substantial trout glide away as we got closer. The sight of a big brookie nonchalantly cruising and feeding really whet my interest. And, we saw some biggies.

Chris told us where to cast, and, miraculously, we were tight to fish right away. You name it, but we saw them: wild brookies (both bucks and hens), stocked rainbows, and the occasional brown.

Drifting with Chris, which I’ve done before at the Deerfield (post here), is a very pleasant affair. He is a unique person. Someone on social media recently posted this about Chris: “A great guide and an even better human being.” I agree 100%.

He knows his angling, and he is great with people, particularly with younger adults. Chris is even-keel, a great conversationalist, and able to suppress grimaces and groans when you snag branches or tangle your rigs.

Truth be told, there were some tough casts to make, given all the over-hanging tree branches and narrow spots where fish would hold. We didn’t cast perfectly all the time. But, we did hit enough spots, and that resulted in quite a few fish. I think we were well over a dozen fish landed in just a few hours. We landed some substantial trout and bounced others. A 12″+ wild brookie is, to me, one of the best salmonids to target.

The action was steady all morning, but by 12 noon, fish activity ground to a halt. We fished just one fly pattern for the entire outing, as Chris knows what the trout want to eat.

In the ninth inning, we drifted through a very fishy spot. My daughter set the hook well, and an enormous rainbow jumped out of the water. It was a wily fish, and we could see it wrap the leader around a large branch before it took off and popped off the fly. But, what a fish to behold. I suppose there’s a reason why some fish get big. They know how to maneuver.

My daughter is older now. Normally, she would be doing a summer job in another state, but the virus had other plans. But, she rebounded quickly and lined up some awesome virtual internships with Trout Unlimited and the TRCP. Today’s younger generations know the impact of climate change. I believe that the future of cold-water fisheries is in their hands.

At mid-day, we oared back to the put-in spot, gave our earnest thanks to Chris, and drove back home. Fly fishing is always great. But, fishing with my children comprises some of the best life experiences I’ve ever had.

Thank you, Chris, for a great outing!

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9 thoughts on “A Father-Daughter Float on the Swift River

  1. I was fishing the Swift below the Hatchery when your guide comes towing his boat with 2 sports right thru the area I was fishing. It put down every fish I had been working and they didn’t come back. The Swift is not a float river, not like the Deerfield or the Miller’s. The guide never offered an apology, but suggested that I might want to hire him. Stupid ass!

    1. Wow, that sucks! Are you sure that was Chris? He is putting in well below that area and is at areas that aren’t wadeable from shore. In fact, we didn’t see another fly angler all morning due to the area’s tough access and surrounding private property.

      When did this happen? Can you describe the boat?

      Last, there are some snarky guides out there. Chris is definitely not one of them.

    2. I received a text from Chris. He doesn’t float the section of the Swift where you were.

      And, I think I know which guide floated by you. He has a mixed reputation, unfortunately.

      1. Then I apologize to Chris. It makes sense to fish those areas less accessible. The photo you posted made me think it was him. Thanks.

  2. The other drift boat guide did same to one of the regulars couple years ago at the Pipe Pool Couple weeks later he walked his drift boat through the Pipe Pool and a bunch of us stood across the river and wouldn’t let him pass.

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