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

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Item #26GN0000
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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.

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Super knowledgeable guide for all levels My fiancé and I recently went on a half day float with Jay on the Swift River. We got there a few minutes early and he was already all set up and ready to go. We didn’t have our own rods or equipment but he provided everything, which made it super easy on us as we were traveling from out of state for the day. One of us was a beginner and the other an intermediate and he was greatly helpful and attentive to both of us, making sure we each knew what to do but tailoring his feedback according to our levels. We had nice cool weather and the water was crystal clear. All in all we caught (and released) five fish and had about eight more that slipped the line, despite Jays best attempts to coach us at setting them and keeping the lines tight. Jay was fun and relaxed but super knowledgeable and pushed us to learn more and apply it. Would definitely recommend booking a trip with him! He also took great photos on a nice camera that he sent us afterward
Date published: 2021-05-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great experience! We had an awesome time with Jay for 8 hours on the Swift river. I know absolutely nothing and my husband has some experience and Jay was able to toggle between the two of us perfectly. He was super patient, knowledgeable, funny, flexible, and certainly knows where all the fish are! I've already recommended him to my family and friends. We look forward to booking another trip with Jay asap!
Date published: 2021-05-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A great experience My son and I went on a guided trip for trout fishing with Jay. I requested that Jay work with my son who is 6 yrs on fly casting. Due to the weather during the week, it was difficult to find a good fishing location for us to go trout fishing rivers on the day of the trip so we ended fishing on the lake. Jay had great patience to work with my son on his casting technique and making him comfortable since this was my son's first time fishing on a boat. Jay worked tireless (trolling, cashing risers) to put a catch for my son. Although he did not land a catch, I really appreciate the effort and the dedication that Jay has in teaching my son the casting techniques and making him feel right at home on the whole trip. I would highly recommend Jay as a guide for introducing fly fishing to young kids.
Date published: 2021-04-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful day on the Deerfield We were lucky enough to spend a day with Jay as our guide on the Deerfield river. My mom and are true beginners to fly fishing and could not have asked for a better experience. Jay was incredibly helpful and patient and with his help our technique and understanding saw a vast improvement over the course of a few hours. It was obvious that not only is Jay an accomplished guide with incredible depth of knowledge of fishing in the area, but that he also loves to teach others and to share his love of fishing with his clients. We found Jay through our friend who is in his own right an accomplished angler who consistently books trips with Jay to work on shoring up his technique and gaining greater knowledge of the best spots in the area. If you are planning a trip to the Deerfield area you should absolutely book a day with Jay, whether you are new to the sport or an old hand looking for local insight and expertise! You will not regret it.
Date published: 2021-04-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Jay Aylward is a great guide and a real trooper Hard rain, strong winds and a chilly 45F day (April 15, 2021) did not keep Jay from repeatedly rowing us up and down a nice stretch of the Deerfield so as to give me as many chances as I wanted to land (and release!) some really nice rainbows (not so lucky with the browns). He was knowledgeable about the river and where to fish it, what the fish would be eating, the flies and tackle that would be best to use. He was an observant but kind critic of my casting and my general fly fishing technique (he taught me a lot). He was attentive to my physical health in view of the ambient conditions and my mental health in view of the number of my "Set!" misses. Great guide, great guy, real trooper. I was exhausted watching him pull on the oars against the current and winds. Will be back on the rivers with him again soon.
Date published: 2021-04-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Jay is the man! My father and I were lucky enough to book a last minute float trip with Jay on the Deerfield River this week where he really showed his outstanding knowledge of the craft as well as a very positive attitude. My father who has never fly fished before was able to hook up and land a beautiful Rainbow on the first drift of the day after Jay showed him the proper technique. We were so happy with Jay's guiding skills and will absolutely be scheduling more trips with him in the future!
Date published: 2021-04-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from As fishy as it gets Jay has to be one of the fishiest guys in all of Massachusetts. I had an outstanding full day experience with him in Central MA and would love to go out with him again. He worked hard, communicated well, and was fun to be around. We used beautiful flies that he tied and he let us use his tackle as well. I'm excited to explore more places in the Bay State with him.
Date published: 2021-04-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A great däy Jay was great! Friendly, knowledgeable, and hard working. He made sure I knew the kind of fishing we'd be doing - early spring trout in New England are large, cagey and reclusive. "Trophy hunting is not for the faint of heart," he said. That said, we set out to drown some flies. It was a "New England" warn day (low 50's) and a bit rainy. But, as Jay said, that made it athe harder for the fish to spot us, than for us to spot the fish. We spent the day floating down the river, seeing a few large trout, who showed only a passing interest in our fare. When the hit came, though, it came fast and hard. That fish was NOT happy, and she let me know it. Launching out of the water 3 time as I pulled her in. Wow! Finally, if briefly, on the boat was a 20 inch rainbow. Beautiful pink stripe down her side. A great day! Hope to do it again!
Date published: 2021-03-19
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