7 posts

Brook Trout

Brook Trout Study Identifies Top Climate Change Pressure Factor

Brook Trout
Courtesy UMass Amherst

The results of a 15-year study of factors affecting brook trout survival show that the biggest issues are higher summertime temperatures and “extreme rain” events. Due to climate change, these trends are probably going to continue.

Co-author Ben Letcher, fisheries biologist at the U.S. Geological Survey and adjunct faculty in environmental conservation at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, says, “It took years of sampling four streams and tracking more than 15,000 individual fish, but we feel we can account for about 90 percent of the yearly variation in abundance. The bottom line is that high summer temperatures are bad. That is unfortunate because summer air temperature is expected to increase with climate change and extreme rain is also expected to increase, especially in the spring when vulnerable eggs are hatching and fry are emerging.”

Brook trout may evolve, if given enough time, to adapt to these changing conditions. Unfortunately, these changes may outpace this kind of evolution.

Join the Sea Run Brook Trout Coalition Today

The Sea Run Brook Trout Coalition is doing a membership drive right now. Sign up for an annual membership and you’ll automatically be entered into a drawing to win a James Prosek salter print. As you may know, the SRBTC is fighting to restore habitat for wild sea-run brook trout in southeastern Massachusetts and other parts of coastal New England where this sub-species of brook trout is hanging on.

Early Springtime and Earlier Fishing This Year

I’m filing this under Fishing Reports. This is not a fishing report per se, but it’s relevant…

Due to a winter that never really arrived, the Mid Atlantic states are experiencing an early spring. Everything has been happening sooner this year. In my yard, the crocuses started blooming over two weeks ago and they’re fading now. That is at least two weeks early. Daffodils are flowering all over, again, two weeks earlier than usual. Following these botanical cues are the bugs, the hatches, and of course the fish. Fishing season is coming sooner this year for sure.

Reports are confirming all of this. Douglas Dear from Rose River Farm in Syria Virginia reported this past week that Quill Gordons have started hatching — two weeks early. Murray’s Fly Shop reported Quill Gordons coming off the water yesterday afternoon in Shenandoah National Park as well. Bryan Kelly at Kelly’s White Fly Shop in Shepherdstown, West Virginia sent an email yesterday about smallmouth bass fishing around Harper’s Ferry on the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers: “We are starting to guide this month. The fish are moving out of their winter patterns towards pre-spawn behavior.  Spawn will be early, and summer patterns will be early… You need to be early…” If this pre-spawn behavior is starting now, that’s closer to three weeks earlier than last year in my neck of the woods along the main stem of the Shenandoah. Incidentally, he goes on to mention that the cicadas will be emerging along the northern section of the Blue Ridge this year, so tie up some big cicada patterns.

So this could be shaping up as a phenomenal early season for us. Hopefully it’s not going to mean that the hot, low clear water conditions come early and stay longer, too. Perhaps we’ll see a nice stretch of cool rains in mid to late spring to break us out of this warm dry pattern we’ve gone through this winter.


Mill Pond Dam on Martha’s Vineyard and Sea Run Brook Trout

From an article last month in the Martha’s Vineyard Times about the Mill Pond dam and its effect on native fish:

The town of West Tisbury is currently investigating what should be done at the site of the town-owned Mill Pond, the last of seven manmade impoundments in the Mill Brook before it empties into Town Cove of Tisbury Great Pond less than a half mile to the south.

What to do, what to do. They’re still in the evaluation stage and it’s unclear (to me) if dam removal is on the agenda or if it would even affect the herring and native sea-run brook trout that inhabit the area. Something to keep an eye on.


Sea Run Brook Trout Coalition

Salter - Brook Trout

Just got notified that the Sea Run Brook Trout Coalition in Massachusetts is accepting dues and payment for limited edition artwork on their website:

Hi Folks, The Sea Run Brook Trout Coalition website is now set up to accept Paypal for annual dues and sales of the limited addition James Prosek print of the Red Brook salter. Please visit the SRBTC website for more information.

They also indicate on their website that they are “actively seeking sponsors and members.” It’s a good cause if you are interested in conserving this wonderful strain of brook trout, which run to and from the ocean and get quite large for brookies.

Orvis News: Bringing Back the Salters

Salter - Sea Run Brook Trout

The salters? Yes, the saltaahs! An update from Orvis News about efforts to restore sea going brook trout (aka. “salters” that’s right) on Red Brook, a 4.5 mile spring creek that feeds into Buttermilk Bay on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

The Sea Run Brook Trout Coalition as well as Trout Unlimited are leading this effort. These sea run native brookies are hanging on thanks to these organizations.

Good stuff.