Copyright 2018 James Marsh
Fly Fishing The Deerfield River
This river is a tailwater for certain. It's a series of five
dams in located in the state of Massachusetts that
control the flow of water. The river actually starts at
Haramon Reservoir in Vermont, flows through a section
of Massachusetts and eventually into the Connecticut
River. There are two "catch and release" areas that are
generally the best areas to fish.
Although the river is heavily stocked by the state, there
are some wild brown and brook trout to be found in its
waters. The holdover fish can run rather large. Browns
are occasionally caught over twenty inches long.
Rainbows probably average around twelve inches but
can get as large as 18 inches and even larger.
Fly fishing the Deerfield River can be a little dangerous.
You have to be very careful when wading. The flow of
water from the dams can change the water velocity very
quickly. It's impossible to wade the river when they are
running a lot of water.
Most of the river consist of long runs and riffles between
large pools of water. Some of the large pools have very
slow moving water that appears to be completely still at
times. Much of the bottom in these large pools consist of
mud. The bottom has a lot of rocks with silt over in some
areas of the streams bottom.
The most popular and the best area of the river to fish is
below Fife Brook Dam. The water is more typical of a
trout stream in this section with pools, runs and riffles.
This is a nice looking area with steep hills on each side
of the river as it runs through a narrow valley like area.
The Deerfield River flows from Vermont into the
Northwestern corner of the state of Massachusetts
where is becomes a very good trout stream. It flows
through different types of bottom terrain from rough and
tumble pocket water to smooth flowing, long deep pools.
There are a lot of long sets of riffles and runs in the
Deerflield. There is a lot of cover for the brown trout to
hide under including undercuts banks, deadfalls and
crevices in larger rocks and boulders. There have been
trout over twenty inches caught from the Deerfield.
Some sections of the Deerfield River have slow moving
pools with soft bottoms. The aquatic insect population is
different from prime section below Fifte Brook Dam.
There the water runs over mixture of gravel and rock
bottom and has different types of nymphs and larvae.
This means the strategies you use will vary depending
on the section of the Deerflield River you are fishing.
The holdover trout rapidly become use to eating the
natural food in the river. Although generic and attractor
trout flies work well to some extent, you are far better off
matching the insects that are most plentiful and
available for the trout to eat. They can and sometimes
do feed selectively and it can pay off to have imitations
of what they are eating.
We think the best way to fish the Deerfield River is from
a drift boat. You cover more water and you can choose
your places to fish without having to worrying about
fishing only from public access points.
Deerfield River Massachusetts
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Photo Courtesy of David Knapp Photography
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Recommended Tackle & Gear
5 or 6 weight
Dry fly: 9 & 12 ft., 5 or 6X, Nymphing:
71/2 ft., 3 or 4X, Streamers 0-2X
Dry fly: 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 3 or 4X,
Best Fly Rods:
Perfect Fly Superb Five or Ultimate Six
For 5/6 fly line
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
Floatants, KISS Strike Indicators
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
Fly fishing the Deerfield River is open
For all practical purposes, the season
starts in early April with the hatches of
aquatic insects. Late spring is probably the
best time of the year to fish the Deerfield
T. U. has been successful in coordinating
the releases of water from the dams on a
minimum flow basis during the hot summer
and the fishing can be good throughout the
Fly Fishing Guide to the Deerfield
You can wade, fish from the banks, or float
the Deerfield River. Most anglers prefer
fishing from a drift boat because it allows you
to cover a lot more water.
Fly Fishing the Deerfield River ranges from
easy or difficult, depending on many factors.
The power plant at Fife Brook Dam keeps a
minimum flow of water to keep the trout cool
even during the hot summer months.
When they begin to discharge water it can
rise as much as two feet in a very short time.
The schedule of releases is not set in stone.
You need to keep an eye out at all times
when you are wading for rises in the water.
The best way to do this is to pick out a visible
object above the water such as a weird
shaped rock and note where the water strikes
it. If you notice and change in the level on the
rock, beware and get to the bank until you
can determine the extent of the rise in the
If you are fishing when a hatch is occurring
by all means fish the hatch but that is often
not the case. When you do not observe
trout rising it is more productive to fish a
nymph or larvae imitation. If a hatch is
supposed to occur in the near future, fish a
nymph or larvae that imitate the insect that
is going to hatch soon. They are far more
subject to being eaten by trout than those
that are hidden down under and between
Imitations of midge larvae and pupae are
always a good choice fly to use. They hatch
throughout the year. If the water is slightly
off color due to recent rains, be certain to
try some streamers. They will work anytime
but better anytime the water is slightly
stained. The large brown and rainbow trout
eat baitfish and sculpin so this is always a
good fly selection.
Deerfield River Hatches and Trout
Our information on aquatic insects is based
on our stream samples of larvae and
nymphs, not guess work. We base fly
suggestions on imitating the most plentiful
and most available insects and other foods
at the particular time you are fishing. Unlike
the generic fly shop trout flies, we have
specific imitations of all the insects on the
Deerfield River and in all stages of life that
are applicable to fishing. If you want
to fish better, more realistic trout flies, have a
much higher degree of success, give us a
call. We not only will help you with
selections, you will learn why, after trying
Perfect Flies, 92% of the thousands of our
customers will use nothing else.
Please be sure to consult our "Perfect Fly"
Hatch Chart. It will show you the estimated
hatch times and flies to use for each insect
during the year long season. Probably the
most important of all the aquatic insects is
the Blue-winged Olives. They hatch from
about April through June and then again
from the middle of August until the middle of
October. There are some areas of the
stream where Golden Drakes hatch from
about the last week of June until the first
week or two of July.
From about the middle of May on you will
begin to see hatches of some of the clinger
mayfly nymphs such as the American March
Browns and Eastern Pale Evening Duns.
They will hatch from the faster water sections
of the river.
Blue Quills appear in the moderate sections
and pockets of the fast water about the
same time. Not long after than you will see
Light Cahills that can hatch off and on for
about two months. Sulphurs can be
important from about the middle of June into
the first week or two of July. For a tailwater,
the Deerfield provides a lot of different
species of mayflies.
Little Black Caddis (Grannoms) start
hatching about the middle of April and last
until the first of May. From about the middle
of May and into the month of July, the main
species of caddisflies will be the Cinnamon
Caddis. The Little Sisters will hatch a
couple of weeks after the big sister
Cinnamon Caddis start to come off.
From near the end of June and lasting into
the middle of the month of September,
terrestrial insects become important.
Imitations of beetles, ants, and hoppers
become popular flies to use. Midges are
always very important in most any tailwater.
You can catch fish throughout the winter on
imitations of midge larvae and pupae. The
big rainbows and browns both can be
caught on streamers, especially when the
water is running strong. Carry a good
selection of sculpin, minnow, and baitfish
Early autumn is a good time to fish. The
surrounding woods are beautiful and the
brown trout eagerly attack streamers.
You can fish the Deerfield during the winter
since the dam discharges water that is
suitable for fishing. Trout can be caught on
warm winter days on midge patterns.
(See Bottom Of Page)
Fishing Report Updated
May 11, 2018
Deerfield River Fishing Report - 05/11/18
The discharges and stream levels are down to normal levels and the water getting much
warmer fast. Lots of insects are hatching.
7 Day Weather Forecast: There is a chance of rain from Tuesday through Friday,
otherwise clear for the next week. Highs should range from 63 to 76 degrees and lows from
35 to 52 degrees.
Recommended Trout Flies:
Blue-winged Olives: size 18 and 16, nymph, emergers, duns and spinners
Midges: Blood (Red), sizes 20, larva, pupa and adults
Midges: Cream, size 20, larva, pupa and adults
Black Matuka and Olive Matuka Sculpin, size 4/6/8
Brown Sculpin and White Belly Sculpin, size 6
Quill Gordons, size 10/12, nymphs, emergers, duns and spinners
Blue Quills, size 18, nymphs, emergers, duns and spinners
Little Black Caddis, size 18, pupa and adults
Little Brown Stoneflies, size 14, nymphs and adults
Hendricksons/Red Quills, size 12/14, nymphs,emergers, duns and spinners
Green Sedge Caddis, size 16/14, larva, pupa and adults.
American March Browns, size 10/12/ nymphs, emergers, duns and spinners
Strategies, Techniques and Tips:
Brown Sculpin and White Belly Sculpin streamers will continue to work great. The Black
Matuka and Olive Matuka Sculpin streamers are also good flies to use at this time.
The most plentiful and available food in the streams are Blue-winged Olive nymphs and
midges. Fish the midge larva and pupa imitations rigged in tandem for the best results.
Different species of Blue-winged olives, some of which are bi-brooded, are hatching.
Blue Quills are hatching.
Quill Gordons are hatching.
Little Brown stoneflies are hatching.]
Little Black Caddis are hatching.
Green Sedges are hatching.
Hendricksons and Red Quills are hatching.
American March Browns are hatching.
|Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (firstname.lastname@example.org)
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.
2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.
3. Email us (email@example.com)
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.
All orders are shipped free in the
U. S. Orders over $50 are shipped via
Map of Deerfield River
Discharges and stream levels are
down in good shape and the water
getting warmer. Several new
hatches have started. Conditions
are good and trout are being
caught in good numbers.