November - 2014

Newsletter of the Naugatuck-Pomperaug Chapter
Trout Unlimited

Publisher: Cathy Unger
Contributors: Bob Gregorski, Ernie Ludwig, Bill Leukhardt

Tungsten BH Czech Mate Nymph - Hare's Ear

2014 Meeting schedule - November 5, 2014

Monthly meetings meetings are starting back up on the first Wednesday of the month in the Community Room at the, ION Bank, (formerly the Naugatuck Savings Bank), 87 Church St., Naugatuck, CT.  For further information call Dom Falcone at 860-274-4103 or or visit  Event Info

Loch Water Inversion by Bob Gregorksi

Fall is a season when the surface water temperature of lakes and ponds begins to equalize with the bottom. At that point the entire lake water is isothermal (same temperature); there is no difference between the surface and bottom water temperatures. This phenomenon is called ‘fall inversion’. It is important for anglers to understand the ‘principle of water temperature inversion’. It indicates where fish are more likely to be found year-round.

The density of water (how heavy it is per cubic foot) depends on its temperature. Water is at its heaviest at around 39.2 degrees Fahrenheit. Cold water has a higher density and holds more dissolved oxygen than warm water. Water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. However a unique property of water is that it gets less dense at temperatures 39.2 degrees or less. That’s why the least dense water rises to the surface and freezes due to the air temperature 32 degrees and lower. The water temperature just below the ice remains at 39 degrees or lower.

The densest water will always tend to lie underneath warmer or colder water. When one dives downward in most lakes during the summer, one will eventually encounter cold 39.2 degree water. This is a stable situation. When the water at the surface is cooled (if it’s warmer than 39.2 ) or warmed (if it’s colder than 39.2), it will sink downwards, but once it reaches 39.2, it cannot become heavier, and will stop sinking once it reaches the deep water. If deep water is warmed (or cooled), it will become lighter and tend to float upwards, but it will stop when it reaches water at the same temperature.

Think about a lake in the winter that is covered by ice. The water directly underneath the ice will be close to 32 degrees (the temperature of the ice). Moving down towards the bottom of the lake, the water will become warmer until it reaches 39 degrees.

When ice-out occurs in the spring the lake water is isothermal; there is no temperature difference between the surface and bottom waters. When the wind blows on the lake, it can mix it from top to bottom. Wind mixing is mostly confined to the surface layer. As the top layer begins to warm from continued warming at the surface, a thermocline will eventually form caused by solar heating and wind mixing. Thus that heating and mixing will tend to keep the surface waters separated from deep waters. When the lake can be completely mixed it will result in ‘spring turnover’.

Water that is colder or warmer than 39.2 degrees will be lighter and will float on top. This property of water makes it tend to form into layers in a lake, the interface between those layers will know as a thermocline. Experienced anglers know the species of fish that feed in the thermocline during the summer.

In autumn, the opposite happens, as the days get shorter and the weather cooler, the lake will lose heat from the surface until it is again isothermal, and a ‘fall turnover’ will occur.

Early spring, fall and early winter fishing in lochs can be more challenging because fish can be at any depth. I prefer fish near the surface during those periods because the wind helped add more oxygen to the water near the surface. Fish love high amount of dissolved oxygen! It’s much easier breathing. That’s my hypothesis. It seems to have worked for many years. Last week the surface water of an area lake was 58 degrees. Since the recent evening and day air temperatures have been lower than that, ‘fall inversion’ is in progress.

Knowing what was just said and using an LCD fish finder should help locate fish. However, as most experienced anglers know, locating fish does NOT guarantee hooking them. Remember what I said in an earlier column—fish do NOT feed 24/7. But being out fishing beats doing most other mundane chores. Carpe diem!

Fighting Chance

Connecticut Hatchery Workers Play Role in Regional Effort to Restore the Atlantic Salmon to New England Streams

November 27, 2008|By BILL LEUKHARDT,

BERLIN — Some farmers raise heirloom fruits and vegetables to preserve plants once common in days of old. In a watery way, Al Sonski does heritage farming for the state of Connecticut. Sonski's "crop" is the Atlantic salmon, a premier sea-going game fish that once thrived in New England streams, but disappeared by the early 1800s, a victim of industrial pollution and dams that blocked migration to the salmon's inland spawning grounds. Sonski, 55, manages the state's fish hatchery in Kensington, where the staff raises Atlantic salmon in hopes of restoring a species known in colonial times as "king of the game fish."It's a valid description, says Steve Gephard, a senior DEP fisheries biologist.

"Atlantic salmon are one of the most athletic fish in the world. It can leap over 12-foot waterfalls and muscle its way up incredible rapids and cascades," Gephard wrote in an e-mail. "I've seen footage of the Boston Red Sox legend Ted Williams (a famous salmon angler who was about 6 feet 5) thigh deep in a Canadian river and have a hooked salmon do cartwheels over his head."

This month, Sonski and his crew of four at the state's only Atlantic salmon hatchery stripped female and male fish of eggs and milt (the salmon's sperm) to start this winter's crop of 2.5 million fish eggs. Perhaps 1.5 million of these will survive into the minnow-size fry stocked in Connecticut waters.

"We're making the little fish here," Sonski said, taking two visitors on a  tour of the hatchery, which has a series of well-fed ponds to raise the finny crop. The water, pumped at a constant 1,000-gallons-a-minute into the hatchery, is pure, cold and disease-free. Brown trout and salmon, some the size of Louisville sluggers, swim in separate ponds. The Kensington hatchery is among seven in New England that raise salmon in programs coordinated by the federal Connecticut River Atlantic Salmon Commission. All told, the states in the program stock 9 million salmon fry each year in New England Rivers and streams.

In Connecticut, the goal is to establish an annual spawning run of at least 4,000 Atlantic salmon, the minimum number fishery folks say is required for high-quality sports fishing. But the numbers of fish returning to the Connecticut River from feeding grounds off Greenland remain small. Salmon eggs develop in winter and hatch in early spring. Within two years, the fish weigh about 2 ounces and are 6 inches long. Their bodies then change, enabling them to live in both fresh and salt water. Now silvery and called "smolts," the fish migrate downstream to the ocean.  They live and feed in the sea for one or two years before returning to spawn in what biologists call their "natal streams" - the watersheds where the eggs hatched and the fish developed.

This July, fishery biologists who track spawning runs counted 141 salmon that migrated upstream to the Massachusetts border. In comparison, biologists counted 156,000 returning shad in that time on the same stretch of the Connecticut River. "Numbers of returning adults have fluctuated a lot over the years, from 40 to 530," Gephard said. "But the numbers seems to be slowly increasing again. Numbers plummeted after the early 1990s for reasons that are unclear. But the problem seems to be at sea. Our rivers do a good job of growing young salmon. But they are not coming back at a good rate and this is happening all over the Atlantic Ocean - Canada, Scandinavia, the UK, France and Spain." low returns are disappointing, Gephard said, but the process is slow because biologists are trying to develop a good strain of Atlantic salmon.

"Trout are easier to raise. They're like weeds," Sonski said. "Atlantic salmon are more like roses: difficult and need a lot of attention. They're a high-maintenance fish."

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Free Membership for Women
Expanding TU's Membership Base.

And speaking of new members, do you know any women who enjoy our sport, conservation or both? Well, TU is interested in attracting more women to the organization and for a limited time is offering women free memberships. feel free to share this information with any women anglers or conservationists you might now. Let's all work to expand our influence.

  Membership Renewals:
Recent changes have been made to TU's policy toward membership renewals. Individual chapters no longer receive a portion of each renewal. As such, please send renewals directly to TU national or renew on the web site.

Trout Unlimited's Mission

To conserve, protect and restore North America's cold water fisheries and their watershed.