We have been in a moderate drought since mid-July. And I've been concerned that this is a trend that has started several years ago where our summers and early fall have had below normal rainfall. Now I don't know the reason for this, and do not want to go in that direction of climate change. I for one do not have the knowledge to put forth a good case for it and will leave that to experts on another forum to debate it. But what I will show you is that this low rainfall has been going on for some time and from where I look it doesn't seem to be having an effect on the small stream brook trout, that is where I fish.
The fact that these fish carry on, and in some cases proliferate small streams as they have in years past. This is one stream I'll highlight. Its located in northwest Connecticut. I have fished this stream for years and hve never seen it dry up, there's always water flowing into some deeper pools. The Vegetation is thick so there is ample cover, and some of the boulders are so large you could park your car under them. In years past the wild brookies here have been small and a 6 inch fish will be remembered. This is now and also the first time I cast a fly here.
The photos here are of the same pool only a few years apart. In the top photo brook trout were spawning, and this was late October I believe. This photo is the pool in September of this year. The brook trout were here and appeared to be getting ready to continue their life cycle.
There were four brook trout in this pool. One darted away, and the others stayed. Looking at them one does have that female look and the larger one may be a male. The smaller one looks to be a dace, I can't really tell. It's good to see our natives adapting to what nature gives them and carrying on.
Same as you, Alan, I worry about the brook trout during dry spells like this. They are tough though and I have faith in them that they will find a way to endure. Much needed rain coming this week, but not sure how much we'll get. Hopefully it will be substantial.ReplyDelete
Sam, just saw the weather and in the area we are about to get a couple of storms with much needed rain. That will put some flow back into the streams.
That is great news! One of my favorite small streams is down to a trickle. Thank goodness for the pools that are still around.ReplyDelete
Awesome to see. They are amazingly resilient creatures for sure. It's amazing how some years, a stream falls to a trickle, and yet... they survive!ReplyDelete
Will sometimes I wonder if there is any other strong willed creature as great as our brook trout.
They are indeed resilient. I read recently that brook trout have been found burrowed down in wet gravel taking advantage of water that was seeping out of the stream bottom during extreme dry periods. That is a tough fish that can survive in that manner.ReplyDelete
Sam that's an incredible story.Delete
We all hope, whether East or West, that the small stream trout will be here next year. So far, they always seem to make it. Fingers are crossed.ReplyDelete
Mark they do seem to make, it's always so tough for them.
I think no matter where you live, the worries are the same. Weather seems to hit extremes. I hope all the wildlife survives.ReplyDelete
Howard you nailed it "extremes"....
They are truly remarkable animals and worth every effort to protect.ReplyDelete
Chris I know there are many who feel the same....there are some outstanding organizations out there putting a tremendous effort so they are with us for a long time.
If given any kind of opportunity, Mother Nature will most often adapt and find a way to survive the hardships they encounter. While this is almost always true of normally occurring issues, unfortunately the same can't be said of some of the hardships man puts on them.ReplyDelete
Jeff you have said it well.
I wish I had the same observations in New York, but I fear things are worse here than in CT. Many streams are getting worse, not better, unfortunately.ReplyDelete
Now for the great areas of mountains like the Adirondacks, I see things getting better.
But when we're talking about local waters... Putnam county, areas closer to metro NYC, I don't see any healthy signs like you see in CT.
Luckily what we do have, is TU, working to help rehab a few local streams, and that's a start.
Global warming or not, its impossible to ignore the patterns of drought here and even more so out west, and the realities that it brings for rivers and the fishing world. I'm happy to see things so healthy in CT, and I know, given a chance, the trout can and do recover quickly.
Some attention is warranted to these patterns though, and I hope they don't go ignored :)
Adam the same happenings as you state are part of CT's small streams. The streams that flow in large tracts of land that are preserved seem to hold up better than the ones that have their watersheds taxed by use of wells. Don't think it was much of a problem at first but these years of lack of rain really put a strain on the streams.
I don't think the issue is being ignored, nor do I believe it's to late.
Native trout seem to adapt well to changes when they're not too sudden and extreme. Conditions seem to vary from stream to stream. Here in NY/PA we've been hammered by extreme conditions over the years. Some of the streams are suffering, others are doing relatively well. I recently found lots of brookies in the low, cold headwaters of a stream with plenty of drainage territory. Now, with heavy rain coming down, we're looking at the possibility of floods. The trout face great extremes from season to season, and they do pretty well overall, but I think there's reason for concern.ReplyDelete
Walt wild trout, brookies in particular have faced great extremes in the past, when their watersheds were intact. With loss of forests and a overburden water base things look tough for these natives. I'm glad that the concern is realized, and good will come from it.
The ability of brook trout to survive low water is unbelievable, but I think that unfortunately if this drought trend continues we may see more and more populations fail to survive. I do believe that climate change is playing a role in this drought and extreme weather trend, and if we don't get our act together as a society, then the future for brook trout won't be so bright. Hopefully we can work to curb climate change and also to help streams become more resilient to climate change, so that we can give these precious creatures a chance at survival.ReplyDelete
RI brook troutDelete
Jonathan it's good that we have many who will find that this extreme weather we have now has also been here before. I for one can remember winters as a kid when the snow and cold were so great that we had to stay inside because my parents did not want us kids to drown in it. Summers were always hot and as youngsters we did not mind it. Now I'm sure there are records of these winters and summers and they can be found. I know there is a reason for this change in weather patterns, I'm just not certain what it is.
The challenge to fish a stream like this would be worth the time; it is amazing how these trout can survive in such harsh conditions year in and year out. thanks for sharing