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Fishing Deerfield River, Western Massachusetts
April 4, 2003 # 13
by Walt Geryk

Time to reserve your June, July and August dates for wading or special pontoon boat float trips on the Scenic Deerfield River!

The Deerfield River, located in Northwestern Massachusetts, is an outstanding trout fishery consisting of large stockings of Rainbows as well as Browns and Brook trout from state run hatcheries. Flowing out of the Haramon Reservoir located in Vermont, this unique river makes a its journey into Massachusetts before emptying into the Connecticut River, flowing behind The Deerfield Academy Grounds, located in Old Deerfield Massachusetts. The Deerfield is regulated by a series of five dams in Massachusetts. Starting at Fife Brook, you will find waters and fishing conditions to your liking and with plenty of trout throughout.

Depending upon water flows and temperatures, April is generally the start of trout fishing and good fly fishing can be had right into early December. In all sections of the river you can find many nice holdovers and an occasional wild browns and brookie. Rainbows seem to average twelve to sixteen inches with the occasional seventeen to twenty inch fish bending your rod. Trophy Brown trout are definitely there along with many two to three pound class trout.

In the early season you will see many fishermen using spinning gear. As the days grow longer and warmer the fly fishers are spotted in most areas. During the early season, the trout are a little less selective in their feeding habits, but as the season moves on you must use your fishing skills and your fly selection will become more critical.

There are two catch and release areas on the Deerfield and fly fishing in these areas can be outstanding and rewarding. Check all the Fishing Regulations before going out and remember as the season grows longer the fish become much wiser. These trout have seen just about every fly and every possible way to present it, so matching the hatch is important and don't be afraid to try that ugly thing on your hat! These areas can also be very crowded so be prepared to some walking.

The Deerfield is made up mostly of deep runs, riffles, and large still water pools. The riverbed is mostly rock and boulders so cleated waders are recommended to keep your footing. Water conditions on this river can change rapidly (within minutes) with the water releases used for generating power. If you're not familiar with the water, be smart, pay attention, watch and listen for changing conditions. When the dams hold back, the river is fished and waded much easier.

Below Bardwell's Ferry and above Old Deerfield, deep and large mud bottom pools can be found, with Stillwater being a popular one. Stillwater pool is found just above the Rte 91 bridges which cross over the Deerfield.

Below Fife Brook, with a dam just above it, the river flows through pools such as Diamond Pool, Long Pool, Carbis Bend, and Shady Pool. The lower Catch & Release area starts at the railroad underpass, just above where Pelham Brook runs into the Deerfield, and runs for about two miles before it ends at the Mohawk Campgrounds. Access to the river is generally easy. There are numerous designated access points as well as other areas to pull over and fish. Route 2 (Mohawk Trail) as well as Zoar and River Road, which borders the Deerfield all the way to Fife Brook, provide parking and pathways to the river.

Fish an area and move if you're not successful. Massachusetts keeps this river well stocked so finding fish usually isn't a problem. Like all fishing, it may be waiting for the water temperatures to warm enough for them to take and flows to allow for safe fishing. Either way be patient with the fishery. The opportunity is there to hook or catch a good number trout and an occasional trophy in the twenty inch plus class. To protect this wonderful Massachusetts fishery, please catch and release whenever possible.

This year with the major snow pack, the season will most likely start to pick up by the third week of May. Watch my reports page for any changes.

Planning a trip of a lifetime, then give me a call at to reserve your dates early, as the 2003 season is just around the corner when rooms and guided dates fill fast. It's best to reserve your time with me first, then I'll assist you in lodging reservations.

Preserve Your Trophy

Carry a camera and a cloth measuring tape then use the formula, which is fairly accurate, if you'd like to have the weight, (length X girth X girth / 800 = lb.) and this should give all the info needed for bragging rights without over stressing the fish. Once you land that trophy fish of a lifetime, it's your choice to kill and have mounted and no one should condemn you for your decision to do so. You can also send a good photo and measurements to a professional taxidermist where they can make a reproduction of the fish that you released.

Planning on releasing a fish, then handle it as little as possible and return into the water ASAP! When releasing the fish be sure to be facing it upstream in slower moving water, this may require some moving of the fish slowly forwards and back to help the flow of water through its gills, take your time for proper revival, which can take up to 8-10 minutes. You'll know when the fish is ready as it will have good balance and will start on it's own to pull away from your hands.

For more information on this fishery, give me a call and I'll be more than happy to answer all your questions.
Good luck and have fun.

Point & click on "Calendar Page, for the Four Seasons of Fishing" for both New York and Mass., then check out my complete website!

Northeast Flyfishing Guide Service
38 Elm Street
Hatfield, MA 01038
Walt Geryk
New York Licensed
Guide # 955
Ph: (413) 247-5579
Cell: (413) 575-5421
Copywrite 2003