We are very excited to be able to share the final report of the Second Deerfield River Trout Spawning Study. The pdf is available to read or download here. The report authored by Erin Rodgers, PhD, with contributions from Mike Hayden, was submitted to TU National on July 13 as part of the final Embrace a Stream grant report. Thanks to the efforts of our members and the friends of DRWTU who participated in this study, we have been able to demonstrate that brown trout spawning on the mainstem of the Deerfield is not an anomaly. The Deerfield River is a wild trout fishery!
TU National supports new legislation coming out of congress called Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA) and you can too. Read all about it here. Then, contact your congressional representative and urge them to vote for this bill.
The Second Annual Jim Gariepy Memorial Fly Fishing Tournament and Single Fly Event saw beautiful weather, fantastic hatches, and many happy anglers. Good food and good company were in abundance.
Senior Single Fly Champ: Roger Blair
- Jim Gariepy Tournament First Place: Eddie Esposito
- Jim Gariepy Tournament Second Place: Brian Miner
- Senior Single Fly Champ: Roger Blair
- Single Fly Champ: Eric Halloran
- Junior Single Fly Champ: Jacob Gilbert
- Single Fly Winning Team: Roger Blair and Zack Turner
- Pepe Award (largest Trout): Eddie Esposito
Thanks to our generous sponsors:
- Berkshire Brewing Company
- Deerfield Fly Shop
- Overwatch Outpost
- Concord Outfitters
- Swift River Fly Fishing
- Hilltown Anglers
- Shelburne Falls Coffee Roasters
- High Hook Wines
- Pheasant Tail Tours
- Walking Cloud Farm
- Fish Tale Fabricators
- Jack Shea
- Larry Poirier
- Sean Breshahan
Thanks to our Team of Volunteers
- Randy Prostak
- Bill Obear
- Horace Taft
- Kevin Kaminsky
- Jim Krupa
- Sheila Kelliher
- Sean Bresnahan
- Larry Poirier
- Jack Shea
Read all about it here: https://www.mass.gov/news/brown-trout-study-continues-on-the-upper-deerfield-river
Wild Brown Trout Want YOU to report your catch – any trout in the section of the Deerfield below Fife Brook Dam and above Shelburne Falls (#4 Dam). Click —>Here<—- to report
In 2018, the Deerfield River Watershed Chapter of Trout Unlimited voted to change the name of the Single Fly event to honor former president Jim ‘Pepe’ Gariepy who passed away in December, 2017. Jim was a powerful force in our chapter and he took responsibility to organize the Single Fly event over the four years prior to his passing. In 2017, he was part of the winning team.
This year, 2019, the event will be held on June 1and 2 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 Concord Fly Shop, Deerfield Fly Shop, Overwatch Outpost, Fish Tale Fabricators, Fly Fish the Deerfield, Pheasant Tail Tours, 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.
- Single Fly hours from 8:00AM to 9:00 PM Saturday and from 5:00AM to 4:30PM Sunday
- 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.
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 PM Single Fly Saturday Officially Ends
9:00 – 10:00 PM Submit tallies for the day to enter Competitive Event
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
TU Members: $25.00
Special for Non-Members One Year TU Membership: $17.50 (Entry & Membership $42.50)
Update April 25: MA Division of Fisheries and Wildlife and US Fisheries and Wildlife Service both cited the DRWTU Trout Spawning Studies in comments filed with Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MADEP) (See links below).
DRWTU Attorney Chris Myhrum has filed two official documents on our behalf intended to impact the relicensing of Fife Brook Dam and the Bear Swamp Project.
What we are asking for in the FERC arena:
- Increase winter minimum flows in winter to 350 cfs to keep redds adequately covered
- Ramping up and ramping down to protect young of year fish
- Earlier in day recreation releases to provide for cold water relief during hot days
- Reducing disparate hydropeaking events
In the MA DEP arena we are advocating for all the same stuff as the FERC venue, but we are also asking MA DEP order Brookfield to conduct an Instream Flow Assessment (IFIM) study now, as well as at the time the Great River license comes up for renewal so we can assess hydropeaking impacts on spawning and young of year fish, and other river ecological damage resulting from Brookfield operations. This IFIM has already been requested in the FERC process multiples times by our agency partners. Brookfield has offered to conduct a 7 mile stretch survey, however, we want the entire 17 mile stretch done.
Board Members Chris Jackson, Sheila and Eric Halloran attended a meeting at the invitation of the Connecticut Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited in Wilmington VT last month. The meeting previewed a more formal presentation of the plan for the US Forestry Service conservation project on a section of the Green Mountain National Forest that includes the headwaters of the Deerfield River in Southern Vermont. TU Biologist Dr. Erin Rodgers also presented at the preview meeting. At the end of the meeting the local TU chapter put out a call for volunteers to get involved in conservation activities and citizen science projects in support of the Forest Services project. We expressed interest in helping out on behalf of the DRWTU Chapter.
We presented our summary of the Proposed plan at the DRWTU Chapter meeting on March 21. Timelines were tentative at that point but now the timelines are set, the public notice has been issued, and the public comment period is open. Follow the link below to see the public notice in the Rutland Herald.
This letter(<—- Click Here) from the Forest Service announces an Open House to be held at the Manchester Community Library on April 11 from 4:30 to 7:30. It also provides details on several options to comment open the plan. Please Note: Only entities that comment on the plan have the option of submitting an objection in response to the final draft of the proposal which is projected to be at the end of the calendar year..
Here’s a link to the US Forestry Service’s slideshow about the project:
As co-chair of the DRWTU Conservation Committee, Kevin Parsons has submitted a letter along with the interim report from the second year’s spawning study on the Deerfield River to the Federal Energy Resource Commission. Click Here to see Parsons Letter.
At this month’s DRWTU Chapter meeting, Bob Gancarz shared his extensive repertoire of strategies and techniques for catching Big Fish with Tiny Flies. He was very generous with the members in attendance handing out hundreds of flies via a raffle. He was so very generous in sharing this pattern for a midge dry fly imitation. This is the hand-drawn instruction sheet and it is broken down by step below.
Bob Gancarz will be the featured speaker at our next chapter meeting on March 21 at the Eagles Club in Shelburne Falls.
Gancarz, of Chicopee, is well known and highly regarded in local fishing circles for tying and presenting tiny midges – down to a #32 hook – to big trout using light-weight rods, thin tippet (down to 10X in winter) and tiny midge imitations that often dominate a trout’s diet.
Gancarz also captures the tiny insects on area rivers, placing them in glass vials filled with alcohol-laced hand sanitizer. This preserves the bugs in a state of suspended animation for clear viewing, so he can easily copy their distinct features up close — which commercial fly tiers often miss — on his fly-tying vise. He will bring some of his light rods (down to a custom-made, Triple-0 weight), an assortment of tiny flies he’s made and uses, as well as vials of midges he has caught and copied into his own fly-tying patterns. He will also be giving away his collection of store-bought flies that he no longer uses.
Gancarz, a retired design and industrial engineer, will offer his own tips to successful midge fishing and looks forward to a good dialogue and answering any relevant questions about midges and light-tackle techniques.
A co-inventor of the AccuTrigger, that he developed for Savage Arms in 2002, Gancarz has been spending his retirement perfecting the fly-fishing skills he first learned as a boy, fishing on the upper Deerfield River in the early 1950’s.
The meeting will be held on Thursday, March 21st upstairs at the Eagles Club, 52 State Street, Shelburne Falls, MA starting at 6:30 pm. The public is welcome to attend.