- Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
Media Contact for Brown trout study begins on the upper Deerfield River
Marion Larson, MassWildlife
MassWildlife has launched a project to study brown trout in the upper Deerfield River. This spring, all 1,000 hatchery-raised brown trout stocked in the upper Deerfield were marked by clipping their adipose fins. The adipose fin is a small fatty fin on the dorsal surface (back) of the trout. Research has shown that the removal of this fin is the least intrusive, detrimental, or painful compared to all other fins on the body, and this work is performed by trained biologists with a specific research need. These marked fish were stocked in their usual locations from Buckland to the Fife Brook Dam. This is the first phase of the project that will eventually mark all hatchery-raised fish in that section of the river. Marking of hatchery fish, together with other elements of the Deerfield River Brown Trout Study, will continue for several years. Anglers should note that for the next few years, there may be holdover hatchery-raised browns in the system that have not been marked.
This project to learn more about both the hatchery-raised and wild brown trout populations took shape through a collaborative process involving MassWildlife, Trout Unlimited (in particular, the Deerfield River Chapter and the Massachusetts-Rhode Island Council), and included input and assistance from a number of other interested parties and individuals from UMass Amherst, US Geological Survey, local Deerfield River fishing guides, and local watershed groups. The study will yield important population metrics including abundance, mortality, and growth rates of individual fish. MassWildlife will use this information to better manage the upper Deerfield River brown trout fishery.