An Orvis-Endorsed Fly-Fishing Guide in Leverett, Massachusetts

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Jay Aylward

Orvis-Endorsed Fly-Fishing Guide


Phone icon413-454-8925 Email iconjay@handmadeangler.com Link iconhandmadeangler.com
160 Rattlesnake Gutter Road
Leverett, Massachusetts

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The Story

Go fly fishing in Massachusetts and cast with the help of Orvis-endorsed guide Jay Aylward. Western Massachusetts is home to large trout, big pike, and trophy small and largemouth bass. With the conservation ethic that has been adopted by the communities here, we have deep canyons and lakes and ponds with no development, lending this area to grant explorers with a wilderness experience. The flip side to this is not all remote places hold big fish, and destinations are determined by clients' desire for solitude and the type of fish that is pursued.

For a remote day on the water pursuing trout, the Deerfield River and Westfield River are hard to beat. Both have long stretches with few access points and are located in deep canyons, topped with dense forest cover and a plethora of wildlife. These rivers and their tributaries make for some fun and exciting trips, chasing browns, bows, and brookies.

If you are looking for a technical experience for large trout in gin-clear water, the Swift River is your game. Big browns, bows, and brookies cruise the clear water, eating a diverse selection of sub-surface creatures. This river can have epic hatches of BWO's and midges when the conditions line up. Come and see why this is one of the most challenging rivers in New England.

Bass, bass, and more bass. Pursuing bass with a fly rod is super fun and exciting. Our pre-spawn smallmouth bite can be nothing short of epic, with big females chasing down streamers early season. Once the smallmouth spawn is in full swing, we turn our attention to the largemouth pre-spawn. These females can be caught just off of spawning zones with streamers and topwater poppers. We give the largemouth a break during the spawn and once mid-July hits, these big females are moving back into their summer rotation into the shallows for evening food. These fish are targeted in the evening with big poppers, tight accurate casts, and precise retrieves. Our biggest largemouth are usually caught during this time. The onset of fall moves us back to the rivers in pursuit of smallmouth with streamers as these tanks put on the feed bag for the upcoming winter.

Pike are pursued on both rivers and still water and are typically chased spring and fall with flies. If you are up to throw big flies with big rods, and sinking lines to connect to a true monster, we should talk.

Season:

Trout can be pursued year-round and our tail waters do provide banker's hours winter fishing.

Bass are best pursued during the spring, summer, and fall.

Pike are chased during the spring and fall.

Species:

Trout: Targeted year-round. January through December. Heaviest daytime action happening in May and June. Biggest fish caught during the fall streamer bite. We have good dry-fly opportunities spring through fall, especially later in the day.

Smallmouth bass: The big fish are targeted spring and fall. Heaviest action for big ones is early season. Day-long action for small ones all summer. Biggest fish usually caught in the spring.

Largemouth bass: Pre-spawn fish are targeted in May/June. Largest fish are caught at last light in late July and August.

Northern Pike: Spring and fall. Largest ones we catch are typically during the fall.

Region/Terrain:

Western Massachusetts is a combination of the large sweeping Connecticut River valley to the smaller rivers located in the steep, rocky slopes of the Berkshire Mountains. Fishing destinations can be a combination of hike-in spots where you are likely to have the river to yourself. They can also be off the road if you don't want to brave the intimidating terrain.

Typical Weather:

Winter: Fishing in the winter is done during the middle of the day when temps are at least in the mid to upper 20s F.

Spring: Can be cold to warm, typically wet.

Summer: Can be hot to warm, dry and wet summers exist, Massachusetts is typically humid and being in the mountains this time of year can provide some relief to hot city life.

Fall: Warm to cool with stunning foliage with a little rain.

Rates:

Rates start from: $175.00
You can find all pricing information at: handmadeangler.com

What is Provided:

Fishing gear can be provided (rod/reel, wader, and boots).
I will have flies and tippet for the day and will have a snack and seltzer.

Gear Recommendations:

For a typical trout day, 9' 5 and 6 wt. are standard, with a reel loaded with a floating line and a 9' 4X leader.

Waders and good boots are a must, since our rivers are typically very slippery and boulder-strewn.

As you all probably know, cotton kills, so please wear appropriate synthetic layers, and bring a rain coat.

What to Bring:

Polarized sun glasses
Massachusetts fishing license
Extra layer
Rain coat
Bug spray
Sunscreen
Head lamp
Water bottle
Backpack

Other:

Do I need a fishing license?
Yes, you need a Massachusetts fishing license.

Do you supply food?
I supply a snack for half-days (usually granola bars) and lunch for full-day trips (bar, chips, sandwich, and seltzer). I do work with a chef to prepare an array of fancy lunch options, if desired. Please ask for details.

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