Wild Rainbow Trout Study
Anglers have been catching juvenile rainbow trout in the Deerfield River mainstem
for years. As noted by the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, these
are NOT stocked fish. They are truly wild fish that have spent their entire lives in
the Deerfield River Watershed. MA Fisheries & Wildlife records indicate that wild
rainbow trout have existed in at least five Deerfield River tributaries, as well as the
mainstem, since 1937.
Our chapter has found historic/scientific evidence that these wild rainbows existed
even earlier. Are the juvenile rainbow trout we catch in the river today part of that
same strain of rainbow trout first stocked over 80 years ago? In 2022, Chapter
volunteers will again team up with biologists from the Conte Fish Lab and the
Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife to capture and sample these
juvenile trout for DNA analysis. We will try to determine whether these fish belong
to an older strain of rainbow trout that have managed to survive. A thorough DNA
analysis will solve this mystery and may put us on a path to additional projects.
Volunteers will help capture fish and collect their individual DNA samples.