- Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
Media Contact for Brown Trout study continues on the upper Deerfield River
Marion Larson, MassWildlife
In 2018, MassWildlife and Trout Unlimited launched a project to study Brown Trout in the upper Deerfield River (Fife Brook Dam downstream to Charlemont). If you fish in this section of the river, you can contribute to the study by completing an online form during or after each fishing trip you take. Since 2018, and for the duration of the study, the adipose fins of all hatchery Brown Trout stocked in the upper Deerfield River will be removed. Beginning in spring of 2019, a number of Brown Trout already in the upper Deerfield River will be captured and marked with individually-numbered external tags.
Please fill out the form every time you fish in this section of the Deerfield River. Data collected from completed forms will show the ratio of wild to stocked Brown Trout being caught, the number of tagged fish being caught, the general locations that Brown Trout are being caught, and the effort expended by anglers in this section of the river.
The adipose fin is a small fatty fin on the dorsal surface (back) of the trout between the tail and the dorsal fin. Research has shown that the removal of this fin is the least intrusive, detrimental, or painful compared to all other fins on the body. Fin clipping is performed by trained biologists, who then stock the fish in their usual locations in the upper Deerfield. Eventually, all hatchery fish in this section will be marked with a fin clip. Anglers should note that for the next few years, there may be holdover hatchery browns in the system that have not been marked.
This project took shape through a collaborative process involving MassWildlife and Trout Unlimited (in particular, the Deerfield River and Greater Boston Chapters 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 data on important population metrics including abundance, mortality, and growth rates of individual fish. MassWildlife will use this information to more effectively manage the upper Deerfield River Brown Trout fishery.