Where Do Brown Trout Go?

While Ted Castro-Santos fine tunes the telemetry receiver, Kris van Naerssen aims a YAGI antenna at a transmitter submerged just downstream of Fife Brook Dam by DRWTU President Mike Vito (out of sight). Board member Bill O’Bear looks on to understand the operation of the directional YAGI antenna.

Finding wary trout and learning their sometimes fussy habits go hand-in-hand with fly fishing, but this year the Deerfield River Watershed Chapter of Trout Unlimited (DRWTU) is going to take that notion to a whole other level. Rather than scouring the river with fly rods and nets, members and volunteers will use electronic equipment as part of the group’s most ambitious conservation project to date. 

​Our local TU Chapter is preparing to commence a brown trout radio telemetry study, which may be the first of its kind on any similar-sized river controlled by hydro-electric dams in the United States. The study is designed to investigate the impacts of daily hydro-peaking flows on trout living in the stretch below Fife Brook Dam in Rowe.  Partnering with biologists from the USGS Silvio O. Conte Anadromous Fish Lab in Turners Falls and the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife, DRWTU is expanding its role as citizen scientists to identify the specific challenges to trout caused by the Deerfield River’s current hydro-peaking flows.

You can contribute to the study through donations of time and or money. If you’re interested in volunteering to take part in our brown trout telemetry study, e-mail DeerfieldriverTU@gmail. com. For updates, visit our website as well as our Facebook and Instagram pages. To donate to our chapter click the donation button below.

Biologist Ted Castro-Santos instructs DRWTU board members on the principles and operation of the telemetry equipment, with support from Jadziah Hanson-Moorstone, intern at the Conte lab and biologist from USFWS.
Biologist Ted Castro-Santos with the help of Matt O’Donnell secures one of DRWTU’s telemetry transmitters onto the anchor line of Chris Jackson’s raft.
DRWTU Board Member and River Guide Chris Jackson volunteered to row his raft in the August 15 trial of DRWTU’s newly acquired telemetry transmitters and receivers.
DRWTU Board Member Chris Jackson tows a radio telemetry transmitter attached to the anchor of his raft through rough water on the Deerfield River. Biologists from USGS safeguard the transmitter and record waypoint data while running a test of the DRWTU equipment. The equipment tested out perfectly, with better than expected reception via vehicle-mounted antenna from the road along the Deerfield.