Copyright 2016 James Marsh
Fly Fishing The Swift River
The Swift River in Massachusetts is one of the only true
tailwaters in the state in the sense that the water comes
from the cold deep, depths of a lake or reservoir. It is
discharged from water that is seventy feet deep and
therefore, stays cold year-round. You can fish the Swift
River successfully in the hot Summer or cold Winter.
The river contains wild, stream-born trout as well as
From Quabbin Reservoir downstream, the Swift River is
only seven miles in length but trout fishing is excellent
the entire way. In fact some of these trout are as far
down as the Chicopee River at the Swift Rivers
confluence with it.
There's a three mile long catch and release section that
extends downstream from the dam. The first mile below
the dam, downstream to the state highway 9 Bridge, is
fly fishing only. There are other special regulations
subject to change, so make sure you check on them
before fishing. Fly fishing the Swift River in this section is
usually provides a good catch.
The stream backs up slightly in the Blondsville section of
Palmer. Two dams slow down its flow but the water still
remains cold and clear enough to support trout. The
water below these dams isn't fished as much as it is just
below Quabbin Reservoir. That doesn't mean it doesn't
have a good number of trout because it has plenty. It's
just largely overlooked by most anglers. This leads to
overcrowding of the upper section of the stream at peak
There's excellent access along the upper section down
to Blondsville. A grid of public property follow the river its
entire length. There an unpaved road that follows much
of the river below the Blondsville dams that provides
The Swift River has one tributary worth fishing. The
Jabish Brook The stream flows from Pelham for twelve
miles to its confluence with the Swift. Access is provided
along state road 181 and U. S. Highway #202. It has a
good population of brook trout that are stream-born as
well as trout that are stocked by the state.
The Swift River does have a good population of aquatic
insects for a tailwater. The great majority in terms of
numbers are probably midges but there are many more.
Most of the midges are cream and red, or blood midges.
Several species of Blue-winged Olives are present with
Spring and early Summer hatches and early Fall
hatches. Several species of caddisflies are present. The
majority are Cinnamon Sedges and Little Sister Caddis
but there are others. Sculpins are by far the most
important fish species for the trout to eat.
Make sure you have a good Sculpin streamer like our
Perfect Fly Brown Sculpin. There are also some
terrestrial insects, mostly hoppers, ants and beetles.
Fly Fishing Gear, Tackle and Trout Flies
Swift River Massachusetts
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Photo Courtesy Steven Lamb
Recommended Tackle & Gear
4, 5 or 6 weight
Dry fly: 9 ft., 5 or 6X Nymphing: 71/2 ft.,
3 or 4X, Streamers 1-2X
Dry fly: 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 3 or 4X,
Best Fly Rod:
Perfect Fly Supreme Four, Superb Five
or Ultimate Six
For 4/5/6 fly line
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
Loon Floatants, KISS Strike Indicators
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
|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