NEWSREEL

June - 2013

Newsletter of the Naugatuck-Pomperaug Chapter
Trout Unlimited

Publisher: Cathy Unger
Contributors: Bob Gregorski, Glenn LaFreniere


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Upcoming Events

Monthly meetings are at 7:00 PM in the Community Room at the, Naugatuck Savings Bank, 87 Church St., Naugatuck. For further information call Dom Falcone at 860-274-4103 or dafalcone@snet.net or visit www.tunaugpomp.org. The guest speaker for June 5th will be Tim Barry, DEEP Biologist. The June meeting will be our last meeting until September.


President's Notes

I recently took a few moments to visit River Bend in Beacon Falls, it was May 7 ...9:30 am the park was spotlessly clean and as I sat with the spirit of 'Will' on the bench I watched an angler switch from fly to fly and as success seemed out of reach he swapped to spinning gear and as if the water woke watched large 15 and 17 inch trout pulled from the water....I could only hear the birds in their awesome homes designed by the scouts and placed along the river's edge whisper to me that poor chap should have had a Falcone fly with Peterson custom fly rod and he could have enjoyed truly the catch....



KINNEYTOWN FISHWAY Naugatuck River/Seymour as of   5/15/13  
Reported by Bob Gregorski

Fish passed to water above the Fishway:

AMERICAN SHAD --5
ALEWIFE -- 70
BLUEBACK HERRING –0
GIZZARD SHAD --44
STRIPED BASS --0
SEA LAMPREY --123
SEA-RUN TROUT --2
AMERICAN EEL – 0

Note: The old camera housing at Kinneytown Fishway was wooden, dilapidated and unsecure.  Tim Wildman DEEP Fisheries Biologist designed a new one which was fabricated out of aluminum and Tim installed it with assistance from Anel- North America, the hydro operator.

“In the Connecticut River section I mentioned seeing more white perch at Leesville than in recent years.  We are also passing more at Kinneytown, Greeneville, and StanChem. Still passing white suckers at many locations (e.g. 463 at Kinneytown and 466 at StanChem) and Greeneville has passed 21 Atlantic salmon broodstock (for the fishery) and Kinneytown has passed 3.” – Steve Gephard

This is a report generated by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection/ Inland Fisheries Division- Diadromous Program.   For more information, contact Steve Gephard.


Pomperaug River Fishery in Jeopardy.

Recently I took these 3 photos.  The section of the Pomperaug through Three Rivers Park has gotten worse. It may be a few years before there is no fishery there.

Here’s the article I published in OUTDOORS       September 30, 2006    Bob Gregorski

Trout Rivers in Jeopardy

Recently I fished a section of the Pomperaug, Nonnewaug and Weekeepeemee Rivers. They are not the good trout fisheries they once were.  My focus in this opinion piece is the stretches of each river from Route 47 in Woodbury south, but much of what I say holds true for more sections of these rivers. For those not familiar with this trio, the Nonnewaug and Weekeepeemee Rivers form the Pomperaug River about 100 yards south of Route 47 (Washington Road).  I know it well; I’ve fished the three rivers since 1963. Here’s a brief overview of my opinion of what population growth in the greater Woodbury area has done to these once fine fisheries.

In the early sixties following a moderate rainstorm, the water level of the Pomperaug River would rise a few inches and the water became cloudy.  Those conditions lasted for a few hours after the rain stopped. In some sections, the banks of the three rivers had canopies of trees and were lined with bushes.  Deadfalls and branches of bushes rested in the rivers which slowed the current during high water and gave fish a safe haven from predators. Shade helped keep the waters cooler in the summer and the roots of bushes and trees that lined the banks aided in retarding erosion. Then the rivers were deeper and there were many more pools that held trout. 

These rivers had large areas of gravel for river beds; excellent conditions for spawning trout to create their redds (nests where eggs and milt were deposited).  A good flow of oxygen up through the small gravel was necessary for the trout eggs to grow.  There was good flow provided by the gradient in the rivers that created more oxygenated water as it flowed over rocks and deadfalls absorbing oxygen from the air.

In the 60’s, a section of Sprain Brook was designated as a spawning area for trout and was posted to NO FISHING.  In the late 70’s, that section was channelized by heavy equipment because it was prone to flooding.  Much of the gravel bed and bank cover was removed.  The section in essence became an open drainage channel.

Anglers had access to much of the rivers through agreements the Department of Environmental Protection had with landowners.  The fishing was good for most of the year.  Waters closed the end of February and reopened the third Saturday in April.  I fished the waters during every month of the open season and caught decent size trout.

Since the 1960’s, the number of new houses, paved driveways and streets and storm sewers increased significantly.  That translated into more posted land along the three rivers and a significant run off after a moderate to heavy rain.   The more roof tops, paved driveways and roads means more water and faster run off into brooks, streams and rivers.  The amount of road sand and salt or chemical that was spread on roads during the winter increased.  Much of those undesirable road coverings are washed into storm drains or directly into waterways. Add the erosion of sand and gravel river banks and the result has been a layer of sand and silt covering much of the once gravel river bottom.

Over the years, high waters overflowed the bank and washed away soil holding the roots of trees and bushes.  When waters receded, the roots were exposed to the sun and rain.  More soil washed with each subsequent rain.  Trees and bushes died or fell into the waterways.  After banks collapsed into the rivers, they became wider.  The result was much wider and shallower rivers. There was less shade with trees which once lined riverbanks gone.  Water can heat up to temperatures in the low 80’s.  Conditions that is not good for the rivers or its inhabitants. Only a few trout survived the summers when water became too hot.

Since the late 1990’s after a heavy rain water levels in these waterways rose by at least one foot, sometimes 3 to 4 feet.  The Pomperaug River received all the run off water from the Nonnewaug and Weekeepeemee Rivers in addition to the storm drains that emptied directly into to it. The rivers were not fishable for days.  There has been more erosion resulting in banks, trees and bushes caving into the river.

My recent fishing of these rivers motivated my writing this analysis. Most of the good pools and long deep glides have been filled with sand/silt.  Now there are only few pools to hold trout year round. Much of the gravel river bottom is covered with sand/silt.  There is likely to be little spawning of trout.  The water level is low most of the time.  Dozens of trees are destined to fall into the river in the near future leaving some sections of banks tree barren.  It is advisable not to fish some sections when there are strong winds. 

One needs to wade the river to observe the devastation that has resulted from population growth.  It’s a shame that the conditions of these rivers have not been addressed.  I hope the Pomperaug River, once a good recreational resource (angling, canoeing, wildlife observation) and its tributaries do not become unsightly, open drainage ditches that has little or no recreational value.  The challenge is—who will step up to the rivers and save them.

 

Erosion of East bank of the Pomperaug River in Three Rivers Park (TRP).

East bank- the head of what was one of the best holding pools for trout in TRP and bottom end. 

River channel has moved about 30 feet from the West bank to the East bank and continues from the section in the photo for about one hundred yards, then shifts to the West bank for about one hundred yards, then shifts to the East bank.  It changes channel several times before reaching Judson Avenue Bridge.  The river has become much wider and shallower, thus exacerbating thermal pollution and trout habitat.



FARMINGTON RIVER DIDYMO REMINDER

The highly invasive freshwater alga, Didymosphenia geminata, known as “didymo” or “rock snot”, is currently “blooming” (undergoing rapid growth) in the West Branch Farmington River between Route 20 and the confluence with the Still River (Riverton area). Monthly surveys have been on-going since the first documentation of didymo in March of 2011. Since that time, many other algae been observed blooming at different times of the year throughout the river, but expansion of didymo has not been noted.
Anyone recreating in the river and who comes in contact with didymo can potentially transport didymo to other waters. The microscopic cells can easily cling to fishing gear, waders (felt soles can be especially problematic), boots and boats, and remain viable for months under even slightly moist conditions. For more information including precautions that should be taken to prevent the spread of didymo to additional waters, visit www.ct.gov/deep/invasivespecies.

We would like to hear from you if you suspect you have found didymo outside of the Riverton area. Please remember that didymo is typically found in cold, shallow streams with rocky substrate. The microscopic didymo cell produces a stalk to attach to the substrate. Under ideal conditions, blooms of didymo can form thick mats of stalk material that feel like wet wool and are typically gray, white and/or brown, but never green in color. Please contact the Inland Fisheries Division at 860-424-Fish or email a photo and location of the observation to deep.inland.fisheries@ct.gov. If you would like to participate in a citizen monitoring program for didymo observations please see detail on www.threerivers.edu/didymo.

 

  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.