All posts by Eric Halloran

Jim Gariepy Memorial Fly Fishing Tournament Results

The Jim Gariepy Memorial Fly Fishing Tournament was a big success.  Held over the weekend of June 2 & 3, 2018, we had 23 participants.  The weather was beautiful – almost to good for the fishing.  Everyone had a great time with great food and pleasant company.

The first place overall champ was young Jacob Gilbert, who also took first in the Junior Single Fly category.  In the Competitive Angling event, Eddie Esposito took the honors with Nikos Marmaras in second place.  The Senior Single Fly medal was awarded to Richard Quinn, who accomplished this feat at the ripe age of 79.

An honorable mention medal awarded to second place winners in all categories.
Jacob Gilbert Junior and Overall Single Fly Champ.
Young Jacob Gilbert took first place in the Junior Single Fly and had the greatest combined length of trout to win the overall Single Fly Competition.
Eddie Esposito at Pelham Brook.
Eddie Esposito, who took first place in the Competitive Angling event, fishes the beat at the Pelham Brook Confluence.
Nikos Marmaras chases a big rainbow downstream in the Pelham Brook Confluence beat. Nikos placed second in the competition event.
Nikos Marmaras, second place finisher in the Competitive Angling Event, holds the top raffle prize, an Orvis Encounter rod, reel, and flyline donated by Overwatch Outpost.
Randy Prostak and Bill Obear pause for a photo while marking one of the beats: Pepe’s Backyard, which turned out to be pivotal in determining the winner of the competition.

Co-Coordinator Horace Taft Ferguson cooked breakfast on the opening day of the tournament, and that was a big hit.

Volunteers who generously devoted many hours to the event included:

  • Randy Prostak
  • William Obear
  • Tomas Black
  • Sheila Kelliher
  • Dan Sachs
  • Jason Hooper
  • Kevin Kaminski
  • Sean Bresnihan

Thanks to sponsors who donated prizes for the raffle:

  • OverWatch Outpost
  • Swift River Fly Fishing (Rick Tofier)
  • The Deerfield Fly Shop
  • Berkshire Brewing Company (Sheila Kelliher)
  • Pheasant Tail Tours (Brian Lynch)
  • Walt Geryk, The Spey Doctor
  • Fish Tale Fabricators (Eric Halloran)
  • Patagonia
  • Costa Sunglasses

Thanks to Margie Carlson and the other members of Pepe’s family for being there and special thanks to Margie for for helping with the raffle.

And, of course, thanks to Jim ‘Pepe’ Gariepy for leading our chapter, organizing this event in the past, and inspiring many of us to live life passionately and fully.

Jim Gariepy Memorial Fly Fishing Tournament

Former DRWTU President, Jim Gariepy fishing in Charlemont, June 2017. (Photo Credit:

This year, the TU Chapter voted to change the name of the Single Fly event to honor former president Jim ‘Pepe’ Gariepy who passed away in December.  Jim was a powerful force in our chapter and he took responsibility to organize the Single Fly event over the past four years. Last year he was part of the winning team.

This year the event will be held on June 2 and 3 to coincide with free fishing weekend (no license required) in Massachusetts.  Even if you do not consider yourself a ‘competitive’ fly fisher, you should consider entering the event for several reasons:

  • The single fly aspect of the event removes the ever present impulse to change flies.  The impulse can be channeled into trying new ways to present your fly and exploring new locations on the Deerfield.  Your fly fishing skills will be challenged to improve if you actively participate in this event.
  • Guaranteed low flows on the Deerfield (weather permitting).
  • Comraderie:  There will be an opening breakfast Saturday and a closing cookout Sunday where you can share your love of fly fishing with like-minded individuals from all over.
  • Raffle Prizes:  we have already received pledges of rods, reels and other equipment and services from the Swift River Fly Fishing, Deerfield Fly Shop, Overwatch Outpost, Fish Tale Fabricators and more to come.  Everyone who enters the tournament gets one raffle ticket as part of their entry fee.

If you do consider yourself a ‘competitive’ fly fisher, the chapter is putting together a parallel competition on Sunday.  As part of the effort to honor Jim Gariepy, the chapter is integrating a new format for a more formal ‘tournament’ for the four top contenders in Saturday’s portion of the Single Fly.  These four will compete in two sessions on ‘beats’ on Sunday, while all other participants continue with the Single Fly.  Watch this space for more information about this exciting development.

Single Fly rules (for all participants Saturday and most participants Sunday)

  • Catch and release with barbless hooks and safe handling practices for caught fish.
  • Participants are limited to three exact copies of one fly for Saturday and three exact copies of one different fly for Sunday.
  • Participants follow the honor system for scoring fish – tape measures will be supplied.  Your team mate will be asked to confirm your tally.
  • Tournament hours to be announced.
  • Single barbless hook, no chemical scents.
  • Follow all MA fishing regulations.
  • Fishing from watercraft prohibited.

This is a fun event and many other fisher folk will be out for the weekend.  Please be respectful of others by maintaining reasonable space (30-50 feet) between anglers and practicing proper etiquette on the river.

Saturday Schedule:
7:00 AM Set-up; Pre-Registered Participants may obtain tournament materials
8:00 AM Single Fly Saturday Officially begins
8:00 – 9:00 AM Breakfast
8:00 – 11:00 AM Registration open
9:00 AM Spey Day (Also at the Zoar Picnic Grounds) begins
9:00 PM Single Fly Saturday Officially Ends
9:00 – 10:00 PM Submit tallies for the day to enter Competitive Event

Sunday Schedule:
5:00 AM Single Fly Sunday begins
8:00 AM Four Anglers meet at Shunpike to prepare for Competitive Event
8:30 – 11:30 AM Competitive Anglers’ Session 1 at four beats
11:30 – 1:00 PM Competitive Anglers break for lunch
1:00 – 4:00 PM Competitive Anglers’s Session 2 at four beats
4:30 PM Single Fly Sunday Officially ends
5:00 Closing Cookout at Zoar Picnic Grounds
5:15 PM Deadline for submission of Single Fly Tally Sheets (at Zoar Picnic Grounds)
5:45 PM Awards and Honorable Mentions; Raffle
6:00 PM Closing and clean-up

Entry Fees:
TU Members: $25.00
Non-Members: $35.00
Special for Non-Members One Year TU Membership: $17.50 (Entry & Membership $42.50)

Click Here to sign-up for the Tournament.
Click Here for the brochure.

Deerfield River Spawning Study

The DRWTU is in the process of conducting a scientific study to document the spawning activity of trout on the Deerfield River.  This is the first spawning study on the mainstem of the Deerfield.  DRWTU engaged Dr. Michael Cole of Cole Ecological, Inc to coordinate the study. Volunteers from among the members of the DRWTU chapter have been trained to take part in the study and thus far have collected the data on fall spawning activity in the Deerfield. Preliminary results confirm that brown trout and rainbow trout are actively spawning on the mainstem of the Deerfield.  Observations indicate that survival of eggs in the redds (spawning beds) is negatively impacted by the hydropeaking activities practiced by the power company controlling the dam at Fife Brook.  DRWTU has requested that the Federal Energy Resource Commission (FERC) require a comprehensive study of the ecological impact of hydropeaking before renewing the license for operation of the dam to the power company.  The DRWTU has received donations from Thomas and Thomas, the Deerfield Fly Shop, Swift River Fly Fishing, and individual chapter members in the amount of $7,854 towards the study.  As a result of this funding combined with substantial hours of volunteer time on the river, DRWTU is drawing national attention to the Deerfield and the natural reproduction of her trout population.  Anyone who would like to donate can do so through the link on our web page.  Anyone who would like to participate can attend DRWTU chapter meetings on the third Thursday of the month or contact DRWTU though the contact link on our website.

DRWTU members conduct spawning survey on the Deerfield River.

February Fly of the Month: North Country Spider

Thanks to John Shaner for graciously providing an instructional article for tying and fishing North Country Spider flies.  These wingless wet flies are relatively easy to tie and are almost guaranteed to provide exciting times on the river.  There is nothing like the adrenalin rush of a hard take on a wet fly very often accompanied by a simultaneous explosion at the surface.

Click below to access John Shaner’s comprehensive guide.

Spider Fly Resources 2017 Updated-PK2

Flies, Pies, and Lies

DRWTU will be hosting an event called Flies, Pies, and Lies on Saturday, February 10, 2018 from10AM to 4PM at the Shelburne Falls Eagles Club, 52 State Street; Shelburne Falls.

Join us for fly tying, friendship and storytelling (truthful, of course).

The admission price of $20.00 includes lunch (pizza pie) and entry into a raffle for a door prize.  Cash bar is available.

Although not required, please consider donating your creations to the club for future fund-raising efforts.

For more information contact Sean Bresnahan at 413-374-8824 or via email at

January Fly of the Month – X Caddis

The X Caddis is an easy-to-tie dry fly that is buoyant enough to support the nymph of your choice in a dry/dropper rig.  Thanks to guest fly tier Jay Aylward, The Homemade Angler,  for demonstrating the tie.  The recipe for the fly and variation follows:

X-Caddis (brown):
Standard dry fly hook
6/0 brown thread
carded or spooled antron brown
bleached or natural elk hair

Jay’s variation: The  Ex-Caddis Egg Layer:
standard dry fly hook
6/0 thread
carded or spooled antron
ice dub or antron dub bright green
bleached or natural elk hair
barred medium rubber legs

About Jay Aylward:

Jay Aylward of The Handmade Angler is a custom fly tier and field ecologist. Captivated by flowing waters. Inspired by Schwiebert, Whitlock, and Waller. Trained by: Brookies, Browns, Bows, Bulls, and Cutties. Tempered by spring snows, summer thunder storms, and fall frosts.

#handmadeangler #aylsflies #splatpopgulp #batmantiesbugs

Guest Fly Tier off the month, Jay Aylward.

Best Dry Fly Ever

As a featured guest speaker at our October 2017 meeting, Bob Gancarz talked about using small flies.  Now he’s been generous enough to share his fly tying recipe for a midge pattern which he says is ‘The Best Dry Fly Ever’!

The Speck Fly midge pattern. Courtesy of Bob Gancarz.

Well, here it is. The Tiny Black Speck. The diagram shows how to tie it. I can’t say enough about this fly. First of all, I feel like I am letting the cat out of the bag …..but for our TU chapter members it’s worth it. They are a great group, and they WILL catch rising trout anywhere and all year long with this fly. This fly has caught some huge Browns for me on the Farmington River ….. even during a Hendrickson hatch with a size 24! Strange, but true. I started tying this fly when I started fly fishing. I tied it because it was easy to do. Over time, I made a few minor improvements to it. I noticed, time and time again, that I caught more trout with this simple fly than any of the other flies I carried. It has become my favorite. Of course you have to present it correctly, just like any other fly, or you won’t get the hits. Let’s start …….

MATERIALS. Hook: Scud size 18 thru 32, Thread: 8/0 black, Glue/cement: Any good grade head cement will do. I use Hard as Hull.

DIAGRAM #1. You can use hook sizes #18 down to #32 ….all tied the same way. The thread body can be made long and narrower on sizes 18 thru 22 ….to imitate a Dark Caddis, or football shaped like a Simuliam (black fly) for sizes 24 thru 32. The body is just thread, it should sink just under the film and the CDC feathers will be above the film.

DIAGRAM #2. Gather up a small amount of CDC feathers. You can use natural dun, dark or light dun. Sparse is BETTER for this pattern. Remember, it is supposed to be the wings of a fly, not a big dark clump above the body.

DIAGRAM #3. Place the ends on top and onto the small drop of cement. You need the glue to keep the feathers intact for a long time ….especially during hook removal of tiny hooks.

DIAGRAM #4. Cover up the ends of the feathers with thread in order to make the head. Tie off and spread a little cement to the head and underside to make it durable. Now put it aside to dry. If you rush, the feathers might pull out during the next step.

DIAGRAM #5. Push the feathers forward to bend them. They will make the next step easier to do, and they will eventually lay down a little over the body just like a real bug.

DIAGRAM #6. This is the most important step. Trim the feathers like the dashed lines show. I leave them just a little on the long side to start, because they can always be trimmed on the water as conditions require. If the fish take the fly with more feather, then great. It will float better and you can see it much easier. Remember SPARSE is usually better. More times than not, the fly will need to be trimmed a little when on the water to get the hits. To make it sparser, trim the feathers on the approximate angle noted by the dashed lines, shortening the feathers toward the hook eye. You’ll know when you did it right because the trout will start to take it. This trimming thing is very easy once you do it a couple of times.

NOTES …………………. It is a good idea (for any CDC dry fly) to wet the CDC feathers before you make your first cast. I usually dip my fingers into the water and squeeze the feathers a couple of times. Wetting first will allow the CDC powder to stick to the feathers much better and the fly will float for a longer time. The BEST way to apply the powder to ANY emerger fly is to hold the fly between your fingers exposing the feathers ONLY. In this way the powder doesn’t get on the body. You want the body to be below the film and the feathers on top. To save CDC powder, trim the applicator brush to about an eighth of an inch. Stroke the CDC feathers forward, towards the front of the fly. This fluffs up the fly real good.


Spawning Survey


The Deerfield River Watershed Chapter of Trout Unlimited (DRWTU) is conducting a survey of the spawning activity of wild brown trout on the river. Over the past several years redds (trout spawning beds) have been observed in the fall by a number of guides and anglers, but have yet to be formally documented. According to fisheries biologists and hydro electric dam operators, any trout smaller than stocked sizes (5” to 10” or so) caught by anglers on the Deerfield were exclusively the result of fish spawning in the tributaries of the Deerfield and migrating to the main stem. A classic conundrum.

The DRWTU is committing dollars and man-hours to resolve this question. The spawning survey will document and mark the location of individual redds; document the presence of eggs in those redds; and follow-up on the viability of egg-bearing redds in the Spring. DRWTU anticipates the survey will contribute valuable information to the discussion of native brown trout spawning in the Deerfield mainstem. With this information it may be possible to persuade dam operators to modify their releases to enhance the viability of trout spawn and ultimately create a robust native brown trout population.

Survey teams were trained by TU member and professional ecologist Mike Cole. Teams of TU chapter volunteers began locating and mapping redds the week of 11/13/17 in four study areas. Active redds will be revisited and evaluated for success in Spring 2018.

You can help by making a tax deductible donation to the chapter for this effort and/or encouraging your friends and relatives to donate. Please avoid disturbing the fish on the redds when you are fishing the Deerfield. If you have photos of wild browns (Brown Trout under 10” especially), please pass them along to the chapter by emailing to Click Here [ DRWTU_Spawning_Survey_Protocols_10-28-17 ] for the protocols for the survey authored by Michael B. Cole of Cole of Cole Ecological, Inc.


A brown trout redd on the Deerfield River mainstem.
Live eggs from a redd on the mainstem of the Deerfield River.