As your Council Chair, I just wanted to touch base with you all and welcome you to 2019, a year that holds much promise for wild trout in our region. But first, let’s revisit our many successes of 2018.
Council leadership met with representatives of the Franklin Land Trust and the Massachusetts Forestry Alliance – with landowners in the Hilltowns area of Western Massachusetts, to collaborate and provide support for the new “Voluntary Public Access Program”. The VPA meeting was held in Windsor Mass at TTOR’s Notchview Center. This initiative is intended to provide some limited monetary compensation to private landowners to allow access across their property for fishermen.
Former Chair Mark Burton coordinated the Brews Brookies and Brownies outreach event at the Medusa Brewing Company, in conjunction with the Marlborough Flyfishing show. We had 25+ attendees, with presentations by Deerfield and Rhode Island chapters – $900 was raised to support Council coldwater conservation efforts.
The Deerfield River Watershed Chapter convened its first wild trout Spawning Study Symposium at Greenfield Community College, which was attended by top State environmental leaders, including the Massachusetts Secretary of Environment And Energy and the Commissioner of the department of Fish & Game and MassDEP’s regional Director. Based on the encouraging support rendered by State environmental leadership, PVTU founder and current DRWTU director Jim Dowd donated an inflatable raft to MF&G on behalf of TU to help with electroshocking studies statewide. At our annual Indian Hollow campout, the Council voted to further our support to Mass F&G’s wild trout studies by providing $3,500 of funding to the agency to outfit the Dowd raft with a support frame/platform and the purchase of electroshocking equipment. Special thanks to Millers River Chapter member and Regal Vise owner Don Barnes for custom crafting the raft platform.
Our Cape Cod Chapter and Deerfield River Watershed chapters applied for Embrace-a-Stream grants for restoration work on the Childs River, and additional wild trout spawning studies on the Deerfield River.
Our Deerfield River Watershed Chapter was awarded the Golden Trout Award at TU National’s Annual Meeting in California. Kevin Parsons (DRWTU President) and Mike Vito (Council Secretary) flew to California to receive the Award. Kevin and the Chapter are featured in the Autumn issue of Trout Magazine.
A second symposium on the future of wild trout in the Deerfield River was held at the USGS Silvio Conte Laboratory in Turners Falls, on the Connecticut River. TU representatives were treated to a tour of the facility and gained a better understanding of the cold water conservation research being conducted at the facility by federal scientists. Additionally, the day featured the maiden launch of the Mass F&G electroshocking raft. An article featuring the Council’s collaborative efforts with the agency appears on the website for Mass Fish & Wildlife.
Various council representatives have been attending the monthly meetings of the Mass Fish & Wildlife Board to further our collaborative efforts, to keep an eye on the agency’s conservation/fishery priorities and to make our voices heard.
Caddisfly Festival 2019
As you can see, together we accomplished a great deal for trout conservation in 2018. That said, nobody is perfect and one of the things that got missed was securing the Indian Hollow venue for 2019. Not to be deterred, Council leadership has developed an exciting alternative event: our first annual Caddisfly Festival.
This camping and fishing/conservation weekend will coincide with Massachusetts’s free fishing weekend- May 31-June 2, 2019. The Council has negotiated and reserved twenty-seven campsites with CountryAire Campground in Shelburne, Massachusetts, a stone’s throw from the Deerfield, North and Hoosic rivers. Tent sites can accommodate up to 4 people each. RV sites can accommodate up to six people per site (and can be occupied by tenters as well as RVs). For more information about other area attractions – please visit the CountryAire website: https://countryairecampground.com/
Our group has reserved tent sites 58, 59, 60, 61, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67 and RV sites 15 -32 , which include water and electrical connections. Check in is Friday, May 31 after 3:00 p.m. am checkout is 11:00 a.m. Sunday, June 2, 2019. This is not an inexpensive endeavor for the Council and we hope to recoup our costs and raise some funds at the same time for cold water conservation. So, we are asking members to support the Council by paying for the campsites. The cost for a site for the weekend is $70 per site (which can be shared by up to 6 people per site). Sites will be available on a first-come, first-served basis to MA/RI TU members to the first 27 groups sending a check to our treasurer. Please let him know if you’d prefer a tent or RV site:
7 Martin Road
Shelburne Falls, MA 01370
I stay at this campground often. It’s one of my favorites and I can tell you that the fishing on all of these rivers at that time of the year is superb! l’ll personally be guiding two to three of you on the middle to lower end of the North River for oversized rainbows.
Activities planned for this weekend include:
- Guided fishing by local TU chapters on each of these rivers
- Annual Council meeting and barbeque
- A conservation tour of the Crowningshield property in Heath, Massachusetts. This property was preserved in large part by our collaboration and funding to the Franklin Land Trust. This remote and wild section of the North River is home to a wild and robust population of brook trout. Come learn about the land trust’s conservation management of the property and about the woody debris study being conducted by TU National staff from New England.
- Fundraising auction/raffle
I am looking forward to chatting with all of you at this exciting new Council endeavor and to fishing with a few of you as well.
If you want to learn more about this and other Council efforts, please consider attending the next Council meeting on May 5, 2019 @ 10 a.m. at a location to be announced in the Worcester, MA area.
Paul G. Beaulieu
Chair, MA/RI Council