Super Bowl Sunday at the Swift River

Before the Broncos took their thrashing at the hands of the Seahawks on Sunday, I wanted to sneak in some open-water fishing. In order to do so, I had to road trip the two or so hours to Belchertown, MA. Being a tailwater, the Swift River remains productive throughout the harshest winter weather. The water feeding the river comes from the bottom of the Windsor Dam on the Quabbin Reservoir, keeping it a comfortable temperature for trout, and the things they eat, all year long.

When I got to the river—a little later than I’d hoped—I thought there might have been a Super Bowl pregame party happening at the Y Pool. No less than two dozen cars were parked along the side of the road.

This bright Swift River rainbow fell for a purple Wooly Bugger.

This bright Swift River rainbow fell for a purple Wooly Bugger.

While there was a crowd of fishermen working the fishier spots along the river, there was plenty of room to spread out and plenty of fish to cast to, and within 10-minutes there was a big, colorful rainbow trout dancing on the end of my line.

I could have left right after that, as the next 3 hours produced a couple bumps, a few follows and one small skinny trout that spit the hook before I could bring him to hand.

An underwater shot of one of the many trout that would feed on the microscopic insects I would kick up with my boots while walking between spots.

An underwater shot of one of the many trout that would feed on the microscopic insects I kicked up with my boots while walking between spots.

I eventually made my way to the Y Pool, the most popular spot on the Swift. By the late afternoon the crowd had waned leaving a half-dozen fishermen spread out along the pool. There were trout everywhere I looked, even at my feet, and though many were visibly feeding, they proved experts at picking out a fake. Some trout spooked when my fly drifted past, but most simply didn’t acknowledge it at all.

All things considered, I greatly prefer watching well educated trout in a clear stream to watching tip-ups on frozen lake, so as I left for home—allowing enough time to make the kick-off—I was glad I’d made the trip.

 

  1. ROBERT CLEMENT

    I TOO HAVE GOT TO GET OUT AND TRY THE SWIFT. I THINK I ALSO WILL HAVE A 1 1/2 TO 2 HR DRIVE.
    I BELIEVE I CAN FIND IT. RT 9 AT RIVER RD ? FIND A PATH ALONG THE RIVER NORTH? HOW FAR IS THE WALK?

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  2. Joe G

    We are indeed blessed to have such a fine fishery as that provided by the Swift River outflow from the Quabbin Resevoir. I have fished it and loved every minute, EXCEPT the freezing cold water, even in May!. My issue is this; that water, drawn from the bottom of the reservoir, is ALWAYS very cold and this is a good thing except in the winter. Here in New England we are NOT blessed with highly productive streams like the spring creeks of Pennsylvania and the West. When we catch a trout in winter and tax his energy reserves and cause a build-up of lactic acid he is at a serious deficit that is very difficult to regain. There just ISN’T enough food to go around in these semi-barren streams. Practice catch and release in the warm months and leave the trout in the Swift until warmer weather returns. This isn’t Montana or Idaho even though the weather feels like it.

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