Saturday, September 19, 2015

Angling History, The Lyman Cottage

The Lyman Cottage
On our recent visit to Red Brook we were invited to take a tour of the Lyman cottage on the grounds of this reserved property. We were hosted by Warren Winders, of Trout Unlimited, Geoff Day, of the Sea-Run Brook Trout Coalition, Megan Duffy, and Brittany Morford, I hope I got everyone's name spelled correctly. They were very gracious and informative and I hope to convey their words to you.

The Lyman family bought several acres of land that bordered Red Brook. They were enamored by the sea run brook trout that called this stream home, and in future times were to be a force in getting this wonderful stream and land protected. Hal Lyman knew that doing this would require the help of others and so Warren Winders was there to answer his request. Along with TU, the Mass. Fish and Wildlife, and others the project was started. The result of endless hours of volunteer work on the brook and the land, planting native plants, trees, helping to stabilize the stream banks, and the removal of several dams. They also reached agreements with the major cranberry grower in the area, to purchase land to protect Red Brook all the way to where it starts.


Our tour of the cottage was a walk back in history. Although wealthy, the Lyman's cottage was modest and it was laid out to be a simple retreat from the rigors of everyday life.


The concept of catch and release was not used in the early days of Red Brook. Here on the wall were wood cut-outs of the fish from Red Brook, these were impressive brook trout. Most of these fihs were to be fine table fare in the cottage for supper. I could see the menu....baked sea-run brook trout, fried potatoes, baked beans and bread, wish I were there at the supper table.


The Lyman's kept journals of their catches. Here is a metal tag on one of the wood cut-outs.


Almost unbelievable the size of the sea-run brook trout that swam in the brook.


"Simplicity"......one of the reasons I love this place.


One of the streamer flies that were kept in the plaques. I determine it was either an Edson Tiger Light, or the Dark Version, maybe a "Wardens Worry". The "Muddler Minnow" was also a popular fly.


I would like to thank these wonderful people for taking the time to show Jeanette and I this beautiful piece of angling history. From left to right...Warren Winders, Geoff Day, Megan Duffy, Brittany Morford. Not in the picture but also deserving much credit in the work of this valuable fishery is Steve Hurley, biologist for the Mass. Fish and Wildlife.



22 comments:

  1. Pretty Amazing the size of those brookies that were in that stream back then. I wonder if there are still some in there that size. Thanks for the tour of the home...very interesting.

    Regards, Sam

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    1. Parachute Adams
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      Sam unfortunately not. A good sized salter today might reach 15 inches, which would be a trophy. But they are all precious and we are glad they are still with us.

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    1. TexWisGirl
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      Theresa I could have spent hours there.

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  3. The wood cut outs remind me of the "Wall of Fame" at Dan Bailey's fly shop in Livingston. A neat way to commemorate great catches. It makes one wonder what it might have been like to fish way back when......

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    1. Lester Kish
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      Lester the wood cut outs are probably better than actual skin mounts, but I'll bet the fish were eaten, which was part of it back then.
      I would love to have been present when they took to the streams.

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  4. Wow, 3 1/4 pounds. Huge. Places like that with such a history are way cool.

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    1. Mark Kautz
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      Mark I think one of the tags stated a 6lb salter.

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  5. Now there's an interesting piece of angling history, with a cool connection to the present day. Thanks for that.

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    1. Walt Franklin
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      Walt I forgot to post this. Curt Gowdy, a US president and several others enjoyed the fishing at Red Brook.
      Interesting conversations in the cottage for sure.

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  6. Alan
    What a great post, featuring a load of history. Thanks for sharing

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    1. Bill Trussell
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      Bill I love history and toss fishing into it.....that's great.

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  7. That's the kind of vacation I could love. Great post Alan.

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    1. Howard Levett
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      Howard it was sweet.

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  8. Thanks for the tour Alan..wonderful history..

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    1. penbayman
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      Mike angling history is most often interesting. Take Rangeley Maine.

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  9. Hi,

    Thanks Alan for the wonderful write up!

    As an old fishing friend would say "never let the facts get in the way of a good story"

    However, perhaps some minor clarifications might be called for here.

    Back in the late 1800's, the Lymans, along with Samuel Tisdale, worked and fished together and were part of what became modern fisheries management based on the research they conducted there in Southeastern Massachusetts. We know they were early pioneers of basic hatchery and stocking techniques, so the chances are that some of those fish commemorated there in the cottage might well have been what we refer today as "hatchery" or stocked fish. Granted the techniques of a century ago were different, of course.

    What Alan doesn't show is that there are many more such wood cutouts of both brown and brook trout there in the Lyman cottage.

    It also remains true that that there absolutely had to have been wild fish predominating as whatever they stocked came from wild fish that had to have been collected nearby - but keep in mind that the fish taken from Red Brook also include brown trout which were brought here from Europe in the 1880's.

    No doubt in the old days, things were very different than they are today. There is less water in the stream due to aquifer depletion, there is a tremendous amount of sedimentation and other damage that has resulted from agriculture and nitrogen run off, the estuaries offer less cover and food than they did then, never-mind a hundred years plus of angling effort that up until very recently was not limited to catch and release, artificials only type fishing (thanks to the efforts of Trout Unlimited Volunteers who advocated for this!)

    Today, we know the fish in Red Brook and other streams on the Cape are indeed genetically unique from stocked fish, so to us it is pretty amazing that these wild fish survived today despite all the environmental changes, experiments and introduced fish (including brown trout) that the Lyman family introduced to Red Brook for their private fishing pleasure.

    About a decade ago, a loose affiliation of us including Warren Winders, Michael Hopper myself and others began meeting and eventually created the Sea Run Brook Trout Coalition to take what we've learned at Red Brook and apply it to other coastal access streams to help protect and restore the wild stocks that remain.

    Our work is 100% volunteer powered - with help from many state, federal and other organizations, with donations from individuals and corporate sponsors to help buy scientific equipment and cover expenses.

    Read more at our website - http://www.searunbrookie.org

    Geof Day
    Sea Run Brook Trout Coalition

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    1. Again friend, thanks so much.

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    2. Thanks for the historical read and wonderful site!! I love this pics and the travel back in time. I would also like to add that while Lyman is given the direct or the most credit as his life was directed more on the fishery/political side, I think that Sam Tisdale who had his hands in an industrial career (Thus not given as much adeue) was and is one of the most unsung heroes in the American fishery history.

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  10. This is amaizing! Red Brook, the Lyman's and the whole of Buttermilk Bay is so rich in bio diversity as well as history. It has been a pleasure to work with all of you and cannot wait to continue do so!

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    1. Patagonia Boston
      Thanks
      Your contribution to this area is very much appreciated. I for one am glad that your company has done so much to the preservation of Red Brook. I know the readers of this blog are also appreciative of your commitment to the environment.

      Alan Petrucci

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