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.
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)
Click Here to sign-up for the Tournament.
Click Here for the brochure.
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:
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.
Update: We had a great night at the Annual Meeting/Dinner. Over $2,000 were raised through the auction and raffle and will be applied to Franklin Land Trust’s planned acquisition of riparian land adjacent to the Crowningshield property on the West Branch of the North River.
Original Post: Join us at our Annual Banquet on February 23, 2019 at the Warfield House, Charlemont, MA. Cocktails at 5:30, dinner 6:30, guest speaker and auction/raffle. $35 fee for dinner. RSVP required by email Deerfieldrivertu@gmail.com or call/text Kevin Parsons 413 522 5200.
We will be honoring Rich Hubbard, retiring Executive Director of the Franklin Land Trust (FLT), with the Bob Anderson Conservation Person of the Year Award.
Our guest speaker will be Will Sloan Anderson of the Franklin Land Trust who will discuss FLT’s conservation efforts and how the impact on riparian interest of TU, as well as the history of the TU/FLT relationship at Crowningshield and elsewhere.
All funds raised in this event will go to FLT toward acquiring and protecting land adjacent to the Crowningshield property in Heath, Ma. The Crowningshield project is a joint endeavor with our Chapter, the MA RI Council of Trout Unlimited, and FLT.
Come join us to celebrate our incredible year past, honor Rich Hubbard, and raise needed funds to protect critical riparian lands along this most important wild trout headwater.
Update: The event was a big success – drawing in scores of fly tyers, young and old, beginner to expert. Three participants joined TU as new members. Dozens of flies were donated to DRWTU for the raffle/auction at the annual meeting. There were fish stories in abundance – many of them seemingly true! Pizza and refreshments, also in abundance, were top-notch. If you missed it, be sure to join us next year. For a taste of fly tying come early (5:30) to one of our DRWTU meetings every third Thursday at the Eagles Club in Buckland, or join the tyers who gather Saturday mornings at 10:00 at the Deerfield Fly Shop. Thanks to Mike Didonna at the Deerfield Fly Shop for hosting the event and to Sean Bresnahan for organizing.
Original Post: Join us for some fun at the Deerfield Fly Shop and Deerfield Fly Shop Annex on Saturday, February 9, 2019 from 10 to 4. We’ll be tying flies, eating pizza pies, and telling fish stories. All are welcome. The entry fee of $20.00 gets you admission to the event, pizza and other refreshments, and a raffle ticket. This event is open to non-members as well as members. Bring your friends! There will be a wide range of fly tiers, from beginners to experts. Extra vises, tools and materials will be available, so plan to be there even if you’ve never tied a fly and have no equipment. DRWTU members are very generous about sharing their skills and introducing new tiers to the art. Think of it as making tiny sculptures for the appreciative eye of a fish! No advance registration required – just show up at the Deerfield Fly Shop. Come by at any time, and leave any time – you do not need to be present for the raffle. Besides telling amazing but true 😉 fish stories, we would happy to share information about the chapter’s conservation efforts and progress with the spawning study on the Deerfield.
DRWTU member Jim Dowd donated a raft to MA Division of Fish and Wildlife. The raft was modified and enhanced through donations by other TU chapters and the MA/RI council of TU to be used for surveying fish on rivers including the Deerfield. Read about it in the attached article here:
What follows are President Kevin Parsons’s comments about the award:
That is right. Our Chapter has been selected by TU National to receive the 2018 Golden Trout award. This prestigious award is awarded annually to the Chapter which has “taken innovative and thoughtful approaches to build and expand community and advance TU’s conservation mission”. Of the 420 Chapters, DRWTU is being recognized by TU as its top Chapter for 2018.
It was only 8 years ago when we started our Chapter. Jeremy McGeorge called me and said we needed to get the Deerfield Chapter up and going as it had been defunct for a number of years. I agreed. We started the process of forming our Chapter in October, 2008. The rest is history.
At first we had no idea what we were doing. Most of us never were part of a TU Chapter. Some like me joined TU for this purpose. Then in a few months we were dealing with Hurricane Irene devestation to our watershed. We started with a small group of volunteers doing river cleanup on the North, restoration projects on the Chickley and South, and otherwise found our way figuring out what a TU Chapter was about. A couple years later we began dealing with a FERC relicensing process with no experience or knowledge of what this meant. From the start we recognized the importance of having relationships with other similarly minded conservation organizations, other Chapters, TU MA/RI Council, and State and Federal Agencies, and legislators. We knew early on with limited resources and small membership that to be effective we had to foster working relationships and partnerships with others who shared in our mission to make our watershed better.
Undoubtedly our spawning study has made a dramatic difference. This project was typical of who we are. We knew we had to prove spawning in the main stem. Despite beliefs to the contrary, and FERC repeated denials of MF&W and our requests for spawning studies, we decided we would just do it. And we had no idea how to do it or pay for it! In a couple months we figured it out, got out on the water….and then…wow. Now things are happening.
Our watershed is better as a result of all this rewarding hard work. To now be recognized by TU National is humbling and exciting at the same time. From a bunch of folks who got together just 8 years ago with hardly any idea of what it meant to be a TU Chapter, we have done well. And it is our members that have made the difference. We roll up our sleeves, figure it out, ask for help from others, and we just get it done. Yankee ingenuity and work ethic perhaps.
VP Mike Vito and I will be going to the TU Annual meeting in Redding, California on September 21 to receive this award. We are very excited to be appearing on behalf of our little Chapter that is making a huge difference.