Citing documentation of the DRWTU Trout Spawning Studies, MA Department of Environmental Protection has denied the Water Quality Certification to Brookfield Power in the final phase of the relicensing of Fife Brook Dam and Bear Swamp Pumped Storage Facility. DEP will consider a new application that addresses MA Fish and Wildlife concerns regarding the impact of dam releases on wild fish and aquatic invertebrates such as threatened dragonflies.
The following is an email message to telemetry study volunteers from Mike Vito, Chapter President: All, As Governor Charlie Baker is now advising for people to “shelter in place” we will postpone our telemetry study starting today (March 23rd) until April 7th, following the governor’s timeline. I also spoke with a USGS biologist we are working with on this project and they are also suspending all of their own field activities in light of COVID-19. While our own study, being done one volunteer at a time, poses little threat; I would rather be safe than sorry. The biologist also told me that the most recent data he looked at (last week) shows that the fish are still holding in place, likely due to the cold water temperatures. We have plenty of data already collected and with little fish movement expected over the next two weeks, we probably won’t miss any sudden mobility from the fish. . I’m sorry for any inconvenience but health and safety have to come first. If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to me. I will be working on a new schedule that will resume (hopefully) on April 7th. I will send it out the first week in April. Stay safe and healthy everyone, and I will be in touch soon. And again, any questions please send them my way. Sincerely, Mike Vito
Our joint meeting with the VT Connecticut River Valley Chapter scheduled for March 19 has been cancelled due to coronavirus concerns – we’ll try to reschedule for the fall. Trout Unlimited National is asking all chapters to refrain from holding meetings, and meetings of more than 25 people are banned in MA. We’ll resume our third Thursday of the month meetings when possible. Watch for emailed announcements on upcoming meetings.
In the meantime we encourage a cautious approach to all of our members. Social distancing can be observed (and usually is) on the river. If you are isolating yourself out of concern for the health of your family and friends, as many of us are, you might want to take a break from your screens and tie some flies and/or read some fly fishing literature.
Save the date: Tie flies, eat pizza, quaff your favorite beverage and share fish stories Saturday, February 15, 2020 from 10AM to 4PM at the Deerfield Fly Shop annex 8 Elm Street, South Deerfield. The $20 entrance fee covers pizza and drinks, a spot at the tying table, access to some brilliant fly tyers, and gets you in a drawing for the door prize.
Thanks everybody for your support – sold out with half a week to go! This year the Deerfield River Watershed Trout Unlimited Annual Dinner will be held at the Deerfield Inn in historic Deerfield on February 22. Tickets can be purchased through Brown Paper Tickets by clicking here. Tickets @ $40.00 per person include hors d’oeuvres, three course meal and an after dinner presentation on the ongoing Trout Telemetry Study by Ted Castro Santos and Matt O’Donnell – our partners from the USGS Silvio Conte Anadramous Fish Laboratory. There will be a raffle as well as an auction, and a cash bar will be available. This is a great opportunity to support the Chapter, learn about this exciting study, catch up with fishing buddies, win some valuable fishing and non-fishing related items, and acknowledge the conservation efforts of a remarkable individual.
We’ll be presenting the DRWTU Conservation Award to Polly Bartlett, who has worked tirelessly on conservation in the area. Polly has been active in conservation for over 50 years. She founded the Deerfield River Watershed Association in the 90’s.
Seating is limited to 60 people and we are pleased to announce – we sold them all and then some!
Free to DRWTU members! Beginning/Novice Fly Tying Course to be held 6:30-8:30 Wednesday nights at the Floodwaters Brewery at 40 State Street; Shelburne Falls MA. Classes will be held from January 22 – February 12, 2020. Floodwaters is on the Buckland side, just upstream from the Bridge of Flowers and West End Pub and downstream from the Eagles (where we meet every third Thursday for our chapter meeting). If you have a vise bring it, but if you don’t we’ll provide one for you to use. All materials And tools will be provided but please bring your own tools if you’ve got ‘em. Note: At the final class one lucky participant will take home a Regal Vise donated by Don Barnes!
The course will be taught by DRWTU member Steve LaValley, who has taught fly tying to hundreds of individuals over the course of his 30 year career as a commercial fly tier. He has been a featured tier at several regional fly fishing shows. He will be assisted by other DRWTU chapter members including Mike Didonna, Chris Jackson, Jack Shea, Eric Halloran, Kevin Parsons and Randy Prostak.
The chapter is grateful for the use of the Floodwaters Brewery space as the venue for this course. Thanks to Floodwaters owner and DRWTU member, Zack Livingston, who brews some great beer and has been very generous to the DRWTU chapter.
If you are not a member of DRWTU you can still participate in the course. The course fee of $35.00 will cover the cost of materials for the four week course. Alternatively, you can join DRWTU at the special rate of $17.50 for new members and get the course for free.
Register by sending an email to DeerfieldRiverTU@gmail.com. You can sign up for membership at the new member rate ($17.50) here. Or just show up at Floodwaters Brewery on January 22 at 6:30 with cash or check.
On December 14, 2019 Chris Myhrum submitted comments on behalf of the DRWTU Chapter as an intervener in the FERC relicensing process of the Fife Brook Dam and Bear Swamp Hydroelectric project. You can read the document here.
DRWTUthanks 142 ‘unique donors’ for making the fundraising effort a huge success!
Thank you, thank you, thank you! The Deerfield River Watershed Chapter of Trout Unlimited (DRWTU) has been awarded thousands of dollars in prizes from Orvis and Trout Unlimited National because of members efforts to raise funds and because of our generous patrons, through the Embrace A Stream Challenge. The “Challenge” pitted our Chapter against 28 other local chapters nationwide that received Embrace a Stream grants, to raise even more money. Trout Unlimited has more than 400 regional chapters throughout the United States. Last year, DRWTU won the Challenge raising nearly $24,000. This year (2019) the chapter raised just under $11.5K through direct contributions to place second in both number of unique donors and amount of money raised. As a result DRWTU will get several thousand more in matching funds and prizes.
DRWTU started the “Challenge” week with a kick-off partyon Monday, November 4th at 6 pm at Floodwater Brewery, 40 State Street, Shelburne Falls. Free hot dogs and bratwurst were served up by DRWTU volunteers. People attending were encouraged to urge their friends to contribute to the online fundraising via text messaging and email. Matching funds are awarded daily in a host of categories, ranging from having the greatest number of small donations on a given day, to the largest.
“It’s really a lot of fun and a great time,” said Michael Vito, president of the DRWTU Chapter, recalling last year’s event. “Even a $10 donation can stretch a lot further under the rules of this Challenge.” The Challenge starts November 4thand ends on November 11th.
The $2,500 grant and money raised through the challenge will be used to purchase additional radio transmitter “receiver” equipment as part of its Brown Trout Radio Telemetry study which started in early September. Partnering with biologists from the U.S. Geological Survey’s Silvio O. Conte Anadromous Fish Laboratory, in Turners Falls, and the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife DRWTU volunteers have already begun tracking the daily movements of 30 brown trout all previously equipped with transmitters. You can view a map that displays up-to-date data on the trout we are tracking here https://ecosheds.org/dev/tame/ Special attention will now be given to the upcoming spawning season. The data collected will help determine the impacts of daily hydro-peaking – up and down – flows from Brookfield Power’s Fife Brook Dam and Bear Swamp hydroelectric operations on spawning trout. This year-long study is believed to be the first radio telemetry study of its kind in the nation. Check our Facebook and Instagram pages for more information about this important study.
We launch another round of the Fly Tip of the Month with a valuable contribution from Bob Gancarz. The tip of your fly line rig that is – Bob’s Leader Formula. I apologize for not posting this sooner. Build your own leader according to Bob’s specifications in the drawings below.
Click here to see the Tiny Fly Tying Tutorial Bob provided to the Chapter.
If you are following DRWTU here or through local media, you know we are embarking on a two year-long study of thirty radio-tagged brown trout in the Deerfield River. This collaboration already involves scores of volunteers from TU and partner conservation agencies, biologists from the USGS Silvio Conte Anadromous Fish Lab, and MA Fish and Wildlife. What should you do if you catch one of those radio-tagged trout?
Please gently and quickly unhook and release the trout back into the Deerfield. Then when you get within cell phone coverage, please call and report the catch to DRWTU President Mike Vito at 413-320-1521. You are going to want to report the catch to MA Fish and Wildlife using the link on our banner above.
What if you ‘take’ a tagged fish legally or find a dead fish with a radio tag? Well, we would hope you would forego taking a fish out of our study, but if you choose to take the fish we can reuse the transmitter. Please call 413-320-1521 to make arrangements to turn it in.