View Full Version : Berry Brook
12-19-2006, 02:07 PM
Just returned 2 hours ago from two weeks in Florida. Not quite the same as catching brown trout up north, but catching spotted sea trout (SPECKS) wading in 70 degree water is not something to complain about.
As far as Berry Brook is concerned, I have given it an occasional try in the fall for 30 years and have caught 1 ( ONE ) stocked brown trout. I confess to not knowing much about this Berry Brook Program - its origin or rational - but here is my opinion for what it is worth: It is time to pull the plug on this incredible waste of money, fish and wishful thinking.
Stocking 12,000 brown trout in the Lamprey and Cocheco Rivers would give us some real fall fishing.
12-19-2006, 08:59 PM
OK here is what I know. Most of this could be wrong.
Berrys does have fish, but you need better skills than I have to catch them. The most successful guys tip toe the marsh and cast from the middle of the marsh with scud patterns just after the turn of High tide.
From what I gather, the fish are released early and head out into the bay. Here I have caught some nice silver beauties while fishing for stripers, and I know of many who have done the same. Now once the time comes for these fish to head back to the river, they go wherever because they did not get imprinted by Berry.
So this makes for a Wiley skittish fish unlike Maine. Maine stocks late and the fish stay in the marsh. 3 years running I have had silly days of as many fish as I cared to catch prior to the first big ocean storm of the year. The fish are in deep marsh pools and for some reason a strong nor’easter blows them out.
I’ve never caught a holdover in Maine, but I do know those who have. All of the searuns I’ve caught in NH and most of the ones I know of have all been holdovers in NH.
Which is better? From my perspective the Maine stuff was less than inspiring and the fish I caught in NH were exciting.
12-19-2006, 09:11 PM
I'd like to see some F&G statistics relating to what is actually taking place in there. Did you say 12,000 trout? I fished that forsaken brook WAY more than I should have this year. The only fish brought to hand was the pathetic specimen I took under the bridge out of a draining tidal pool with my hands. It was released back into the main brook but I'm still debating whether or not I should have allowed nature to take its course for the sake of a better gene pool.
12-19-2006, 09:25 PM
There you have it. That's one of the reasons I feel that it will be so important to find a true native strain of Salters if we can make it happen wit the reintroduction.
You, Out of the Gene Pool. :twisted:
12-20-2006, 05:13 AM
If Bug could not catch them then all hope is Lost. I was going to give it shot but it sounds like I am going to Pass on this one. Spent many winter days on Scorton's creek fishing for these things. With nothing to show for it.
12-20-2006, 07:36 AM
I am a member of the salter restoration program at Red Brook in Wareham Mass. We have worked 10 years on the restoration plan and are jusy now starting to see the wild trout in healthy quantity and quality.
If any of you are interested, I would meet you at Berry Brook and speak with you about restoring a sea run brookie fishery.
First, before we all get gungho, are there any reproducing brookies in Berry? Even if just the cool headwaters. As long as they are there, we can get working on a restoration.
Red Brook had only 50- 100 trout in a four mile length when we started and now it has about 300 per mile.
Let me know if you are interested.
12-20-2006, 08:19 AM
I'd like to take you out to lunch some time. Name the place and time.
12-20-2006, 11:34 AM
I would Like to as well. Would love to get involved in a project like this.
12-20-2006, 02:22 PM
Count me in on this as well. It sounds worth while.
12-21-2006, 04:52 AM
This certainly seems to be a contentious issue. I developed a fascination with the idea of sea run trout earlier this year and set out to read everything i could find (on the internet) about it as it pertains to New England. There are a lot of gaps in the information, tight lips, and general hoodoo about it. Just the kind of thing that piques my interest.
One of the best things i found about salters: http://outdoors.mainetoday.com/fishing/060204brookies.shtml
I also wonder if it might be a bit like the Battenkill back when there was pressure to start stocking it again. They electrofished it, and found fish everywhere, they were wild browns that were more difficult to catch than people wanted. I would think any that survived the seals, stripers etc. then returned to an awfully small by comparison tidal brook they would be a real challenge for even an accomplished fisherman. Aside from the fact that they end up all over the Great Bay as mentioned earlier in this thread.
I guess they could build a hatchery on Berry a la the Salmon River and i'm sure the fish would run every fall. I doubt this will happen. I think it's a case of using the resources they have now to make a stab at it.
Makes an interesting topic to stave off cabin fever though.
12-21-2006, 06:38 AM
To those that are interested, lets pick a time on a Saturday or Sunday in February or March. Foliage still dormant, smaller brookies still in headwaters.
Once proof is available that there are self sustaining brookies, then we can get the regional biologist involved. It took us 5 years to get our regional biologist to admit there were salters in Red Brook.
As to the fishing for salters, the older fish will give any angler fits as they are the smartest trout you will ever fish...............anywhere. The younger fish are a little more gullible but a 12" salter will kick any hatchery fishes butt!
Look forward to meeting and talking to you all. Believe me, if the brookies are in Berry Brook, this will be a very rewarding experience!
Merry Christmas to you all!
PS: wet_fly_action - come down to Red Brook any first Saturday of the month and we will show you around. The only contentious issue is how many you will catch and on what fly! :wink:
12-21-2006, 06:46 AM
First of all, Fish and Game deserves a tremendous amount of credit for the cumulative time, effort and resources invested in Berry Brook for the purpose of establishing a sea run brown trout fishery. In many ways this work is only starting, and it should be continued with modifications as needed. A restoration is not such an easy thing to do, especially in this time of money problems. Shouldn't we be thankful this effort is being made and find ways to augment and enhance said effort insteat of finding ways to supplant said effort? Nobody knows Berry Brook better than Fish and Game and its circle of resources. Nobody.
Others have suggested that the problem at Berry Brook is predators. Yes, predators get some trout, but people have argued that predators are responsible entirely for the lack of fish. If this is so, how can salters possibly exist at Berry Brook? Do the predators have a taste only for browns? And extending this logic, how can sea run fish exist anywhere? Isn't the ocean filled with seals and stripers and blues and shags during warmer months? And don't forget the ospreys and eagles as well. So why bother if predators are going to get them all?
The concept of salter restoration is a good concept in my opinion, and it is further my opinion that predators will get some, but certainly won't get them all.
But doesn't it make the most sense to look for an underutilized or unutilized stream for a restoration project so that a net contribution is made to the overall ecosystem instead of no net gain to the overall system by attempting to replace one species with another? More streams with more fish means more opportunities for anglers overall.
12-21-2006, 07:23 AM
I would be Availible in Febuaray, Just set a Date and Time. I am Planning a Salmon River trip for FEb so the sooner we firm things up the better for me. I have Time to contribute.
12-21-2006, 07:32 AM
Sounds good steve,
What is the best way to reach you?
12-21-2006, 09:01 AM
wet-fly-action: Your comment " Makes an interesting topic to stave off cabin fever though." is exactly what I had in mind since some of the topics have wandered off from the matter of Fly Fishing in NH which is the core subject.
The recommended excellent article by Ken Allen includes the following statement:
" Studies on sea-run brook-trout rivers in Canada show that large estuaries produce the best salters fisheries, so biologists feel estuarian habitat makes a difference in trout size and abundance." End of quote.
Great Bay is an incredible estuary with 7 rivers and countless brooks entering it; some of which still have salters. Would this be a better place to put energies rather than Berry Brook? The Oyster river, for example, has dozens of miles of river and tributaries which are filled with wild trout.
It has a couple of problems; a dam in College Woods and excessive water draw down in the summer by the town of Durham.
12-21-2006, 10:09 PM
12-22-2006, 04:35 AM
truiteman- Next time i hit up Red Brook it'll be a first saturday. We got skunked the first time there but it was good to explore the area a bit and a good excuse to stop at the Bear's Den in Taunton on the way home. When to the fish start getting active again, March maybe?
12-22-2006, 06:52 AM
Thank you for reading my post and offering your point by point post mortem. I understand your perspective, and I share your dissapointment with the situation at Berry Brook as it now stands.
I would be very interested in seeing your evidence that predators prefer brown trout to other trout. The implication here is that other trout, say brook trout for example, would not be preyed upon by all the usual suspects whereas brown trout would be. I am unaware of any study reaching that conclusion based upon gathered evidence, but I am eager to learn, and I don't pretend to have all the answers.
If, on the other hand, predators do not differentiate between brown and brook trout, then brookies would face the same problem now being faced by browns at Berry Brook, a problem that some have deemed without solution, since they attribute the lack of fish to predation.
So to answer one of your questions, no, I am not interested in a seal feeding program, whether the feed is brook or brown.
I will say this much about the difference between brown and brook trout: Brook trout are the harbingers of ecological change, their sensitivity to water quality is higher than said sensitivity in brown trout. Brook trout generally cannot survive in streams to which brown trout may be adaptable.
So now we reach the unfortunate destination of this post: the beginnings of Berry Brook. The headsprings of Berry Brook are located within yards of the infamous Coakley landfill on the North Hampton Greenland border, near Breakfast Hill in Rye. This is a designated Superfund site, polluted beyond hope of active remediation by volatile organic chemicals (VOC's) and heavy metals. Things like methyl ethyl ketone and aresenic and lead. EPA studies going back to the mid eighties have cited Berry Brook as the most likely to suffer watershed.
I have no information about current water testing results for Berry Brook, assuming said test results exist, and I have no special information that is not available to the general public. I have no inforation that the water contains trace amounts of previously mention contaminants that may be affecting the situation. I only know that the circumstantial evidence suggest such a possibility.
12-22-2006, 08:03 AM
This is all a great conversation and it shows the interest in anadromous trout. I have to say that my knowledge of the Berry Brook program is limited to what I read here. A Superfund site at the headwaters does not sound good, but of all the trout species, brookies are actually the toughest. That is why they are an indicator species. And that is why the need to see if there are any self sustaining populations, be they brookie or brown, in Berry Brook before a restoration plan is started.
The Lyman Family, who owned the Red Brook watershed until recently, tried every conceivable method I can think of to restore the salter run. This included bringing in Salter stocks from the Maritimes. When it looked like all was lost, they started stocking brown trout and I believe they even stocked Atlantic Salmon one year. Stocking stopped about 1995 and all that remains today is a thriving salter fishery. As Hal Lyman said so often,"Protect the habitat and the fish know what to do."
There is a common myth in New England that salters are a mystery fish with no data. This simply is not true and so I am just offering to share the knowledge I have accumulated and help share the sources I have learned about.
While I have personal opinions about sea run browns vs sea run brookies, it is just that an opinion. Only those of you that call Berry Brook your home water should decide what you want it to be with your fisheries biologist.
I am fairly familiar with the seacoast area, having lived in Seabrook as a kid. And having spent 2 years at the Whittemore School, I know the Portsmouth area as well. Anyone who has an interest in learning about salters should feel free to join this informal gathering. You all choose a time and a place and I will be more than willing to join you.
If you have specific questions, do not hesitate to PM me. I will do my best to answer your question or point you in a direction that has been successful for us at Red Brook.
12-22-2006, 03:57 PM
From my perspective I would like to see us work at restoring Salters to a number of streams along the sea coast.
I'll start a new link for a gathering.
In the meantime are there any salter links you can share with us?
12-22-2006, 04:08 PM
New Link for the meeting
12-22-2006, 04:14 PM
On 12/21, someone caught a 29 inch 8 lb. brown trout in Berry Brook, according to the yellow survey report cards placed by Fish and Game on the tree near the Bracket Road bridge. Fishermen are asked to fill out a card each time they fish, but most do not, especially if they get skunked.
"Put up a hell of a fight" under the comments section. The adipose fin was clipped, indicating a stocked trout. I have no information regarding when the fish was stocked, i.e. whether it's a returning fish or from a current (this year) stocking.
I know for a fact that a number of fish this size were stocked this fall because I saw at least two on the day after the stocking. Mostly 10 and 12 inch fish were stocked, but some lunkers as well.
12-22-2006, 04:54 PM
After reading your follow up to my post I felt it neccessary to delete mine. Some of what I said was meant to be taken in jest but it could easily have been taken as something negative in nature.
I would believe the fish to be a stockie but would be thrilled to hear otherwise. I fished the brook for a period this fall and saw at least 6-8 other anglers over time, none of them took the time to fill out the card. I'd love to look over the cards from years past. Where does all this information sportsmen need go?
I tried picking someone's brain down there this year and all I got out of her was that the temp. was being taken for the stocking that was to come, like that was all we anglers cared about....like the real info. was off limits or something...I know that sounds crazy.
12-22-2006, 06:14 PM
Thinking back now I can see that some of your comments were in jest and I apologize for misinterpretating what you said.
I also had a conversation with the girl from Fish and Game that you are referring to, and I think it's just that she is young and new to the job, and probably not up to speed on a lot of things and consequently she is defensive.
I have said before and I'll say again... I think Fish and Game is doing a great job there under the circumstances and constraints they face. As far as sharing the content of those survey cards, you can guess what they say for the most part, and I can see why F&G would be reluctant to have that information in the public domain and from there into the hands of people who have an axe to grind against this project.
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