Tag Archives: DRWTU

Embrace a Stream Challenge

DRWTU thanks 142 ‘unique donors’ for making the fundraising effort a huge success!

Click here to donate to the fund drive!

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.

Ted Castro Santos talks about the telemetry study with members and friends of DRWTU at the Floodwaters Brewery for the Embrace A Stream Challenge kick-off event.

DRWTU started the “Challenge” week with a kick-off party on Monday, November 4th at 6 pm at Floodwater Brewery, 40 State Street, Shelburne FallsFree 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 4th and 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. 

Tip of the Month: Bob’s Leader

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.

Tip of the Month: I am posting a leader formula that Bob Gancarz shared with us during his presentation ‘Big Trout Eat Tiny Flies’ at our Chapter meeting in March.
Bob Gancarz torques on a 0 wt custom fly rod during his presentation Big Trout on Tiny Flies in March, 2019.
Bob demonstrates the shock absorbing properties of a 0 weight fly rod.

Click here to see the Tiny Fly Tying Tutorial Bob provided to the Chapter.

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.
Cover photo for the Final Report on the 2018 DRWTU Trout Spawning Study

Spawning Study Final Report

Cover photo for the Final Report on the 2018 DRWTU Trout Spawning Study

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!

Interim Spawning Study Report and Letter to FERC

http://deerfieldrivertroutunlimited.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Spawning-Survey-2019.pdf


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.

DRWTU Annual Meeting/Banquet 2019

Scenic Warfield House – site of the DRWTU Annual Meeting February 23, 2019.

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.  

Attendees including Sheila Kelliher and Sean Bresnahan at the DRWTU Annual Meeting/Dinner.


Trout Spawning Study Update

DRWTU Members sort out reach assignments.
DRWTU Members sort out reach assignments for Identification of spawning redds on December 1.

Members of Deerfield River Watershed Trout Unlimited and friends spent three days identifying and recording data for redds on the Upper Deerfield in November and early December 2018. Blowout flood conditions during the month of October forced a frustrating cycle of scheduling, cancelling and rescheduling survey dates. Despite weather conditions that were less than favorable, 17 volunteers led by Erin Rodgers and Mike Hayden found 30 redds on November 17 and 18. Another 50 redds were recorded by teams led by Mike Hayden under more favorable conditions on December 1.

Embrace a Stream Challenge

You helped the Deerfield River Watershed Chapter of Trout Unlimited win the Embrace a Stream Challenge!  Thanks to our members and friends, DRWTU – one of the smallest of 30 TU chapters all over the country participating – raised $16,415 in donations in the Embrace a Stream Challenge from 252 donors.  These funds will be used to support the expanded trout spawning survey on the Deerfield River Watershed as well as our other conservation efforts.  The Chapter’s outstanding performance in the Challenge means your donations will be multiplied through matching funds and prizes by TU National and Orvis.  The week-long fundraising effort is over but the work of the year-long study is just beginning.  Keep watching this page for updates on the study and opportunities to help us with Phase II of our Trout Study on the Deerfield.

Missed the chance to donate during the challenge?  You can still support our chapter by donating here through paypal (and you don’t even need a paypal account).


National Recognition for DRWTU

Trout fry in the Upper Deerfield

Chris Wood, President and CEO of Trout Unlimited wrote an article that captures the qualities and highlights the philosophy of DRWTU.  Read the article here

The chapter received an Embrace-a-Stream grant in the amount of $6,000.00to support efforts to document wild brown trout spawning in the Deerfield mainstem.  Here’s an article about the award that appeared in the Greenfield Recorder:    Trout Unlimited receives grant for continuation of spawning study


Gold Trout Award

The Deerfield River Watershed Chapter of Trout Unlimited was honored with the Golden Trout Award at the 2018 National Trout Unlimited Meeting.

Our Chapter has been selected by TU National to receive the 2018 Gold 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 has been recognized by TU as its top Chapter for 2018.