Over 80,000 trout to be stocked statewide this fall


Some 74,100 trout, comprised of 66,100 rainbows and 8,000 browns will be stocked in Massachusetts water bodies.  The fish from various hatcheries range in size from about 12 inches to more than 14 inches.  Trout have been allocated equally to each of the five MassWildlife Districts and stocking has already begun.


The following waters have already been stocked or were scheduled to be stocked last week:  Ashfield Pond, Deerfield River in Charlemont and Florida, Littleville Lake, Norwich Lake, East Branch of the Westfield River in Chesterfield, North Pond in Florida, Pontoosuc Lake, Laurel Lake, Lake Buel, Windsor Lake, Big Benton Pond, Otis Reservoir, Onota Lake, Richmond Pond, Stockbridge Bowl, Goose Pond and Windsor Pond. *****


The Taconic Chapter of Trout Unlimited will be having its first meeting of the fall on Thursday, October 15. They will meet at the Bass Water Grill on Route 8 in Cheshire. The Social Hour will be from 5:30 to 6:30 and will be followed by a short membership meeting.


The featured speaker is Mike Cole, known statewide as “the bug guy”.  Arguably one of the most knowledgeable around, he will be able to tell us about the insects we can encounter on local rivers throughout the various seasons.  For two years the Housatonic Valley Association (HVA) and volunteers collected macro-invertibrates to determine the health of the Housatonic River.  All of those little “bugs” were forwarded to Mike at UMASS for identification.  He truly knows his stuff. *****


Regarding the HVA, I received a solicitation letter from them recently and they recapped the things that they, with volunteer and membership support, have accomplished in the Berkshires just last year alone.  They have:  Completed 16 new river assessments that show the condition of the Housatonic River and her tributaries and what needs to be done to improve their health; conducted 4 clean-ups to remove litter and trash from the River in Pittsfield, Lenox and Great Barrington; conducted 5 free public paddling trips putting more than 75 people on the river; hired a local engineering firm to design a river access site in Stockbridge on Park Street;  hired a local engineering firm to develop plans for river access sites in Sheffield, Great Barrington and Pittsfield (West Branch); reached more than 500 students in the Berkshires through 33 watershed education programs in nine schools; added pre-school programs at the Becket Library.


Teachers in the region now use HVA’s lesson bins to teach students about storm water runoff, water cycle and rivers.  In the next year or so, they will be launching a new Riverside Trail Coalition to create riverfront trails and a trail guide; fix pollution problems town by town across the region as their river assessments reveal them; teach more children with pre-kindergarten programs for schools; protect more rivers through RiverSmartMA! – a campaign to help residents protect rivers and streams, and they plan to create two more river access sites in the Berkshires.  Berkshire County Director Dennis Regan and Berkshire Outreach Program Manager Alison Dixon are doing a fantastic job as is the entire organization.


You might want to make a donation to this most worthwhile organization.. *****

The Hoosic River Watershed Association’s (HooRWA)’s 17th annual State of the River Conference will be held on Saturday,  October 17, at 10 a.m. at the First Congregational Church in Williamstown.   Kelly Nolan, senior aquatic taxonomist of Watershed Assessment Associates, will report on the encouraging 2014 assessment of the Hoosic River in Massachusetts, Vermont and New York, and early indications from the 2015 assessments.


Williams College Chemistry Professor David Richardson and students Linda Shin and Matthew Gross will present their work on PCB accumulation in brown trout. After decades of tracking PCBs in the  Hoosic by studying crayfish, for the past two summers the students  have turned their attention to brown trout, and the question of whether  PCBs, left over from Sprague Electric Company operations in North  Adams, remain a sufficient threat to limit fish consumption. *****


Recently, Civitan of Pittsfield held a Special Olympics Fishing Derby at the Dalton American Legion Pond.  Participating Athletes were from Riverbrook Residence for Women, BCARC, and LETR.  Dawn Giftos, who is on the Board of Directors for Civitan and Co Chair of the event stated that “Civitan, which is a community organization  and who has been serving people with disabilities of Berkshire County for over the past 58 years, is very excited to bring back this great event after a five year absence”.  Giftos thanked all the groups of volunteers who made this possible, Berkshire County League of Sportsmen, MassWildife Angler Education volunteers, USF&W and Western Mass-Bass.  Mark Jester, President of the BCLS stated “We had a great day for the event, unfortunately the fish were not so cooperative.”    Myron Sayers, Co-Chair and Western Mass Bass representative said that there were some fish that cooperated. Ella Bassi and her brother Jake caught a few perch, but none of the 350 stocked brook trout were caught.  There were about 30 folks who participated.   Civitan is already planning for next year’s event in May.


Many thanks go to Jester, Giftos, Sayers and others for the information.  Unfortunately, I missed the event as I was on a self-imposed assignment to the Owl’s Nest in the Green Mountains in Hancock, VT.  Next weekend, I will  write about the Owl’s Nest.


I’m sure the local hunters are aware of the many hunting seasons that are opening in the next week or so and don’t need a reminder from me.  Hunting seasons such as:  Wild turkey,  pheasant, quail,  grouse, archery hunting for deer, cottontail rabbits, snowshoe hares, coyote, ducks,  regular goose and woodcock (already started). Hunters should check the regulations for the particulars of each season.

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