Gene Chago: Coldwater fish resources rise in Massachusetts | Sports

Gene Chago: Coldwater fish resources rise in Massachusetts |  Sports

In the 2024 Massachusetts Hunting and Fishing Regulations, you may have noticed a new paragraph titled Cold Water Streams (page 17) and wondered why. It explains what is the cold water fishery resource.

A cold-water fish resource (CFR) is a body of water (stream, river, or tributary) that contains at least one species of breeding cold-water fish (e.g., Longnose Sucker, Slimy Sculpin, Lake Chub, American Brook Lamprey, Burbot, Rainbow Trout, Rainbow Smelt, landlocked salmon, brown trout, brook trout, or lake trout). These fish are sensitive to temperature increases and require cold water to meet one or more of their life stage requirements.

CFRs are particularly sensitive habitats and changes in land and water use can reduce the ability of these waters to support trout and other cold-water fish species. Protecting cold-water habitats is critical to maintaining the overall health of cold-water fish species that are ecologically and, in many cases, recreationally important fish throughout Massachusetts.

Once classified as CFR, a body of water is afforded a greater degree of protection from potential human-caused changes to its health. Conservation/planning commissions, land trusts, consultants, and city open space committees will find this information useful for conservation planning.

A map and list of currently designated CFRs can be found at To get started, search for your city using the search box on the map. CFRs appear in blue, click on the stream for more information. The Department of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW) maintains a list of waters that have been identified as cold-water fish resources.

New streams are sampled and evaluated annually. There are more than 11,000 miles of streams and rivers in the Commonwealth, not all of which have been sampled. CFRs are updated and published annually to reflect the most current current fishery surveys, but CFR listings may be determined more frequently in the meantime.

For information about the latest listings or questions regarding water quality CFRs or development projects (e.g., environmental review, etc.) that may affect CFRs, contact Adam Kautza ( Requests must include GPS coordinates or location description, broadcast name and/or SARIS ID number, city, and a brief explanation of your inquiry.

A person may request that DFW reconsider designating a water body as a CFR or designating a water body as a CFR. Any such request must be made in writing, provide the basis for the request and include supporting biological data and information.

Incidentally, last August Kautza came to the Berkshires and lectured on the subject at the Dalton stationery factory. At that time, there were 1,277 identified wild trout streams in Massachusetts. New DFW finds every year. (While writing last week, he wrote that they now number nearly 1,300.) They try to go back and resurvey the flows about every 15 years, but some of them are surveyed too frequently.

The vast majority of trout are wild trout streams, but there are a fair number of brown trout and a few rainbow streams, he said. No trout were detected in 132 of the 1,277 CFRs, but that doesn’t mean those fish have been extirpated. It just means that the most recent surveys haven’t turned up any wild trout, they could be elsewhere in the river. Some streams do not contain current data.

The native Brook trout is the most abundant species of trout and lives an average of 2 to 3 years, rarely up to 4 years. A 10-inch Brook Trout is a trophy in almost any Massachusetts wild trout stream other than the Swift River or sea stream. Brook trout are relegated to smaller, cooler water. But some rivers, like the Swift River, have year-round cold water conditions (caused by cold water drainage from Quabbin Reservoir) and some wild trout reach 15 to 20 inches.

Brook trout are native to Massachusetts.

Brown trout, which were first introduced to Massachusetts in the late 19th century, have been introduced throughout the state in various bodies of water, but have become established as wild populations only in a few areas, especially in the Connecticut, Housatonic, and Hoosick River basins, but there are also subpopulations Scattered elsewhere. Wild Brown Trout live in warmer streams but this is only related to the temperatures at which they generally find Brook Trout. It’s definitely still cold. In larger streams they can reach 24 to 25 inches in length and can live for 7-9 years.

Rainbow trout were another introduced species and were concentrated in small areas. They are immigrants, and there are allegedly a large number of them at Clayson Brook in Franklin County.

I bet there are a few white-haired people reading this column thinking about the good old days when wild “spotted” trout were found in almost every local stream. I know that in Linux, it was difficult to find a table that didn’t contain it. Some of those streams still do so.

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Banquet

The Bay State Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation will hold a banquet on Saturday, January 27 at 5 pm at the Stockbridge Sportsmen’s Club, 24 West Stockbridge Road, Stockbridge. There are dozens of entrance fee scenarios, but a single ticket costs $90, or tickets for a couple cost $145.00. Dinner is served at approximately 6:30 p.m

Prizes include forearms, bows, premium rides and adventures, handcrafted furniture, limited edition artwork, gifts, gear, and more.

Seats and tickets are limited and you can reserve your tickets by registering online.

For more details, contact Gary D. Johnston at or 413-298-3623.

Hunting and fishing exchange meeting

The Cheshire Rod & Gun Club will hold its third annual Hunting and Fishing Swap Meet on Saturday, February 3 at its club located at 310 Curran Road, Cheshire. Hours are 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. It is open to the public, admission is $3 for adults and children 12 and under are free.

It is an opportunity to buy, sell or trade in new and used fishing and hunting equipment. No weapons, ammunition, household items; Unsold items must be removed.

Breakfast and lunch are available. Table space is still available for $30, which includes a single-person admission ticket. To reserve a table, call Jeff Kruszyna at 413-743-4168.

Truckload of raffle winners for goodies

Cheshire Rod & Gun Club have announced the winners of their Truckload of Goodies Raffle competition. First place winner was Gary Vosburg, second was Phil Heiser, third was Gary Rocheleau, and fourth was Josh Rocca. Congratulations to all!

Winter fly tying

Millers River Special

Fly private miller river streamer.

Justin Adkins, president of the Taconic chapter of Trout Unlimited, recommends saving the dates for some great fly tying gatherings this winter. It doesn’t matter if you’re a new or experienced aviation enthusiast, there’s something for everyone. Insights and materials are provided but if you wish, you can bring your own insights and materials.

Taconic TU fly tying rallies are scheduled to be held at Wild Soul River, 248 Cole Ave., Williamstown on January 21, February 11 and March 16 at 3:30 p.m.

Berkshire Outfitters, located at 169 Grove Street, Adams, will have a fly tying event on February 24 at 6:30 p.m. Anyone interested in attending the event should contact Chris Sampson at Berkshire Outfitters to reserve a place.

In South Berkshire, Taconic TU member Peter Paulson is joining Dean Hutson and the folks at the Berkshire National Fish Hatchery, 240 Hatchery Road, New Marlborough, for some fly tying events including one scheduled for today, January 20. The next two events are scheduled to be linked, and the events will be on February 17 and March 16 (the third Saturday of the month).

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