Saturday, March 26, 2011
Brown Trout - Why They Matter!
Backcast 40 years ago when a long haired(me)budding fly fisher began plying sections of the Squannacook River on idyllic Summer evenings for the chance to take a rising trout. That trout, on almost all occasions on every section of that river, was a brown trout. Oh, I caught rainbows and brook trout but I learned quickly that these were the "Spring fish" - dumped in to satisfy the hordes that worked that river to a froth during the first month or so. By mid June those fish disappeared but not the BROWNS!! They stuck around, allowing that piscatorial tug of war, through the Summer and into the beginning of the "dark season". They were the survivors and the saviors. They made me become a fly fisher for trout!! Their legacy continues for over 25 seasons on the Millers - the other species will pull a disappearing act but the browns come out to play during that magical time, the evening hatch!!!! They are the fish that makes the season.
SO WHY DOES THE STATE (MA) CONTINUE TO WASTE THEIR RESOURCES WITH RAISING AND STOCKING OUR FREESTONE RIVERS WITH SO MANY RAINBOWS???? There are a few "official" answers to this. One is that people want to catch (big) trout easily and rainbows fill the bill. But this crowd that is catered to is mostly a seasonal crowd of bait and lure slingers who keep score by the size of the stringers. By early June they're off doing something else. Are season long fly fishers being catered to?? I think not!!
Here are some numbers to cast over: The State of Connecticut stocks browns that equal appox. 53% of the trout that they stock on a yearly basis. The Baystate stocks browns equal to appox. 27% of the trout stocked. The "official" response is that Massachusetts stocks so many more trout than Connecticut BUT they only do BECAUSE they decided to rely on rainbows for the bulk of their stocking. Connecticut stocks far more browns than Massachusetts. Again, why rely on a species that will not survive through the Summer? Does Connecticut have it right? I think so!!
Massachusetts throws clonebows into Jamaica Pond (downtown Boston) and into the wilds of Lake Cochituate (Framingham). So be it. Stock your freezers but that's not trout fishing. Take all of the 'bows that you toss into the Millers and salt those urban angling destinations with those fish. I wouldn't mind. Just put more browns in the Millers and other similar rivers.
Some rivers seem to work well with rainbows through the season. I can't include the Swift because it's a tailwater river, a different breed of river. The EB of the Westfield holds rainbows when other freestone rivers don't but conditions have to be very good for that to happen. I'd like to see more browns in that river. The Deerfield has had a great reputation as a rainbow fishery but the photos on the HARRISON ANGLERS website show something else - photo after photo of steroid browns. I can remember the TU talk twenty years ago that there were few browns in that river. Photos of big browns mean that browns are holding over and/or are reproducing in that river.
The Millers is a brown trout river. So is the Squannacook, the Deerfield, the Nissitissit, the Housatonic and many other stocked rivers in this State.
An Afterthought - The sport of fly fishing continues to grow. I see far more fly fishers during the season than I did 30 years ago. I've seen fewer mobs of stringer fillers over the years on our rivers. The cost of a decent fly line, not to mention a fly rod or fly reel, is much more than a seasons worth of crawlers or power bait or shinners. To the Ma. DFW: Where's your future???
Posted by Millers River Flyfisher at 1:11 PM