Dusk at the Millers River
It’s rare that I make it over there, but about a month ago I made a stop at the Millers River. It’s a little out of the way for me, but I really enjoy fishing it in the spring and early summer once the flows level out. I just checked back in my records and the last time I fished the Millers was in June! One of the reasons I enjoy fishing this river is because 50% of the time I go there, I have the river to myself or there’s only a handful of people. As another benefit, I’ve never encountered a disgruntled angler at the Millers. I often offer up my productive spot when I see another angler, and I’ve had others do the same for me.
On to the report!
My first stop was at Bridge Street, and the water levels were fairly low. I tried the area where the riffles flow under the bridge first, as I usually have quite a bit of luck there. Nothing. Not even a hint of a strike. I moved downstream and tied on an emerger and cast to the bank on the opposite side. Drift after drift, and I didn’t have a hit. I tried a dry with a dropper on the opposite bank, and there was still nothing. I swung a couple of soft hackle and emerger flies in the film, and worked my way down the pool with no luck. It was very strange for this section of the river.
I’ve always been curious about a log pile on the far side right at the tail out of the pool, and while looking at it; I saw a rise. And then another. I noticed with the lower water levels, I could wade out a bit further than normal and have a solid chance at a drag free drift, so I decided to give it a shot.
The first cast had me mending and trying to keep the fly in the zone as long as possible. I felt that amazing sensation that all fly anglers feel when you’ve just placed the perfect cast, and you’re intently watching the fly and waiting for a strike. Too bad, there was nothing again. I repeated the same perfect cast, mended, and watched the fly float into position.
This time it happened! I saw an explosion of water, set the hook, and felt the weight of a fish. As it got closer, I realized from the fight that it was not the trout I was hoping for, but a panfish. It was a nice size and I quickly released it. I gave the log pile another chance, and caught another panfish. After catching two, I decided I’d continue my trout quest at another location.
The second spot I tried was on the left side of a small bridge that is out of service right off of route 2 between Orange and Wendell Depot. As dusk started to approach, browns began surfacing like crazy in that area. If you’re headed to the Millers, I’d highly recommend checking it out around dusk and giving yourself time. The place seemed to really come alive, and I was kicking myself for not being able to stay. I tight lined the section with success on a couple browns, but if you fished the surface film with an emerger, I think an angler would see plenty of success. As an added bonus, the only person there was a guy standing on the bridge and watching me fish. Anyways, pro-tip: go at dusk for maximum trout action on these warmer days!
To be honest, I’m no expert on the Millers. I tend to focus my efforts in areas near bridges, because I believe those are the areas that often get stocked and hold fish year over year. A few years ago, I drove up and down route 2 stopping at many bridges, spots I saw anglers, and well worn road pull offs. I tested several locations and remembered the most productive spots for trout. If you don’t know a river, I always find that this is the easiest way to get a primer other than asking around and talking to your fellow fishers.