Huge Brown Trout at the Swift

Huge Brown Trout at the Swift

Yesterday I stopped by the Swift with the intention of fishing for colorful brook trout, which is something I always look forward to each fall.  I caught several rainbow and brook trout on both dry and sub-surface offerings.  The surprise of the day goes to a huge brown trout at the Swift.

I was nymphing the riffles below the hatchery pipe when I felt a hit.   I set the hook and initially thought I was snagged until the fish shot off downstream, taking roughly 45 feet of fly line with it in about 5 seconds.  I assumed it was a big and feisty rainbow, and started running down the river as fast as I could to catch up to it.  I can honestly say it’s the largest trout I’ve seen in person on the Swift.

The fish took off from the riffles almost to the end of the pool, and I was finally able to work it into calmer water.  It was clear that I wasn’t going to be able to fit this trout in my net, so I asked if anyone else had a larger net and could help net it while I fought it. Unfortunately, they did not.  Shortly after, the trout bolted while I was putting tension on the line and it snapped right off.  The fish was within 3 feet of me at the closest point, and I can confirm that it is between 24-30″, and looked like it weighed about 7 pounds.  I wish I could have snapped a photo of this fish, because it truly has to be seen to be believed.  It spends its time in a highly fished area, so I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before someone can get that beast to hand.  I only hope someone will snap a photo of it and share it somewhere!  I also lost my net yesterday, and now I’m considering getting a larger one.  If anyone finds a rubber net with a curved wooden handle and blue clip, please let me know at!

After the experience with the brown, it continued to be a great day of fishing.  I fished dries for awhile and caught a tiny rainbow with parr marks.  They don’t typically stock them this size, so I can only assume that it was a hatchery escapee.  It took a size 24 Griffith’s Gnat.

Young rainbow with parr marks

I also caught several rainbow trout in the 15-16″ range, which always put up a good fight.  There were a lot of leaping trout, which is always fun to see (except when they’re breaking your line).  Most of the larger fish were taking my favorite fly .  I also had success on a size 30 that I tie and use as an emerger pattern beneath a dry fly.

A lot of rainbows at the Swift right now

I love the range of brook trout sizes you can catch at the Swift. I took pictures of a few examples of the varying sizes.  A few of the trout barely register as strikes.






8 thoughts on “Huge Brown Trout at the Swift

  1. Wowza, great read. My heart would have been pounding if that happened to me, I’d have to sit down for a few minutes. Must be this guys little brother:

    Was on the lower Swift Saturday AM for about two hours, flow is pretty high. Took two nice sized rainbows and some smaller brookies in the pocket water, all on a hare’s ear. Have not had the opportunity to use your favorite fly, though I have a few tied up. Maybe this upcoming week-end if I can steal away for a few hours again.

    Thanks for posting.

    1. Hi Kevin,

      Thanks. I wanted to collapse into the river after it broke off. I stood and stared at the fish for a bit at the bottom of the pool, dumbfounded. In hindsight, I wish I had taken a photo while it was sitting calmly for those 30 seconds or so. My heart was racing so much, I couldn’t think clearly. I’m not one to exaggerate, and I think there’s a chance that the fish I hooked could be the fish you linked. Even better, maybe there’s two of relatively the same size? It had a surprisingly orange body at the bottom and a massive head. Someone has got to land that thing sooner or later!

      Thanks for the report on the lower swift. I need to check it out when I have some time. Do you know if they stock that section in the fall, or are those holdover rainbows from the spring? I’m going to try to get out fishing again this weekend too. I love fishing in the fall, so I’m going to try to make the most of it.


  2. Hey Jeff,

    I’ve seen some nice size browns cruising up and down around Cady Lane, and heard tales of them. I ran into an old spin fisherman last year who said two monster browns would cruise up past Cady Lane at the same time every evening last year, said you could set your watch by them. But there can’t be too many that size, so it could be the same one.

    Pretty sure the rainbows were recently stocked. I don’t catch rainbows there as often a I do brook trout. That stretch gets stocked Spring and Fall. Masswildlife reports they have been there twice this month, yesterday being the most recent. Only rainbows according to their website.

    Agree with you on fall fishing, maybe I’ll run into you on the river one of these days.


    1. Wow, that’s interesting that you could practically time it. I’m guessing those browns may have had holding spots and then a feeding area. The good news is at least one of those big browns is now in a more easily wadeable area.

      I’ll have to check out the lower swift sometime soon. The last time I was there was in the spring and I fished the stretch beneath the second dam. I’ll be out again sometime soon, so maybe I’ll see you out there. I’m always up for trading flies or sharing info on good spots.

  3. Great story on the huge brown. It has to be nearly impossible to net a fish that size, but sounds like you came darned close to doing it. I would be dumbfounded too had that happened to me.

    Got out for a bit after work on the lower Swift. Nothing doing, though I might have had one hit sub-surface, then again it might have been bottom. Sure seemed like a hit though.


    1. Hi Sam,

      Thanks for the comment. I just bought a larger net, so if it happens again I’ll be more prepared. I was not at all expecting a trout of that size to be there. My guess is that it swam up from elsewhere on the river, and might be moving around this fall. I feel confident that someone will land it, but I hope that person also releases it wherever they catch it. It’s a special fish to have grown to that size on a river like the Swift.

      Glad you were able to get out there. I’m planning to hit the water soon too. It’s always hard to tell when you have a hit on most sub-surface flies, but it’s always worth it to react like it is a hit!


    1. Hi Kevin,

      Thanks for sharing that. I had seen that image, and that’s a pretty incredible fish for the Swift. I couldn’t tell if the one that I had hooked was that large as it was in the deep end of a pool, but it was certainly pushing it. If I had to put a number on the fish I had it was probably between 7-10 lbs.

      I hope someone is able to catch it, and most importantly, whether you’re a spin or fly angler, release it! I suspect there are many more fish like the brown pictured , and it’s more fun for everyone if we can catch one from time to time, instead of removing them from the stream.


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