Each winter, I create a wish list of which Massachusetts rivers and streams I’m itching to fish once the spring flows recede and aquatic insect activity perks up. This kind of thinking, clearly a coping mechanism, helps me through the dark days of winter (especially with today's late season snowfall).
Here are some of the rivers on my fish list, in no particular order. Note my preferences typically hinge on fishing small, wild trout streams sometimes tucked away in the corners of the state or in the midst of the suburbs and most often include rivers that we are helping to restore.
Green River (Leyden and Colrain) – As it flows from the Vermont border, this river is picture perfect. I’m curious to see how Tropical Storm Irene has changed the pool riffle structure since my last trip in 2009. The Department of Ecological Restoration (DER) and the City of Greenfield have been closely examining dam removal options on the lower Green. The other notable Green River in Great Barrington is also a great trout stream worthy of a cast or two.
North Hoosic River (Clarksburg) – Also located near the Vermont border, the river is gorgeous and full of deep pools that hold year-round trout. A plethora of partners, including DER, assisted with the removal of the Briggsville Dam and I’m interested in fishing the restored river reach to see if how it responds to a bead-head nymph.
Schenob Brook (Sheffield) – The Nature Conservancy has focused on protecting land along this meandering river in the eastern shadow of Mt. Everett. The brook is relatively sluggish and low gradient and may not yield many brook trout, but I’m curious to get my waders wet in this stream and see what lurks below the surface.
Amethyst Brook (Pelham) – Smack in the middle of the state, you are only one dam away from the ocean once you step over the banks of Amethyst Brook. As a result you may catch sight of a glass eel burrowing into the stream bottom. This year, the Bartlett Rod Company Dam is planned to be removed, but I’m interested in exploring fishing waters below the dam to see what the habitat looks like prior to river restoration.
Mill River/Ox Pasture Brook (Rowley) – There has been a local effort to revive the sea-run brook trout population here. Reports are that salters, another term for the trout, are utilizing now accessible sections of Ox Pasture Brook since the lower dam was removed in 2010. This spot is close to home so it’s easy to hit after work.
Dozens more streams come to mind including the Weweantic River, Red Brook, Thousand Acre Brook. What rivers are you thinking about this time of year?
The View from Massachusetts posted on Sep 17
While Massachusetts can claim significant success in urban river revitalization, dam removal, cranberry bog naturalization and stream flow restoration, globally there are daunting challenges to restore highly impacted or vanishing ecosystems that will test the acumen of ecologists, engineers and politicians for years to come.
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