The West Brook Story

Trout and Salmon in a Small Stream Network in Western Massachusetts, USA


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From 1997 to 2015, we tagged almost 30,000 individual fish.

Those fish were captured a total of 63,232 times, many just once, some up to 10 times.

Each circle represents individual captures. Individual fish that were captured more than once are included in more than one circle.

There were three species of fish in the stream.

Brook trout are native to this region and reproduce naturally.

Brown trout also reproduce naturally, but are not native having been introduced from Europe in the mid 1800's.

Atlantic salmon are native but do not reproduce naturally. Young salmon were stocked in the spring of each year until 2004.

There were four rivers in the stream network.

The Main Branch of the West Brook is the primary river.

All fish species can move in and out of the Small Tributary, but a perched culvert limited passage before it weas replaced in 2014. Atlantic Salmon and Brown Trout are rarely found here. Brook Trout use this stream for spawning in the fall.

The Large Tributary is also open to the Main Branch. All three species use this stream, but only Brook Trout are found high upstream.

A large waterfall near the mouth of the Isolated Tributary blocks access from the Main Branch. Only Brook Trout were found in this stream.

We sampled in all four seasons of each year.

We captured and tagged the most fish in Autumn when the youngest fish are first big enough to tag.

We sampled over 19 years from 1997 to 2015.

The total number of captured fish was higher in some years (e.g. 2003) and lower in others (e.g. 2011).

Atlantic Salmon were stocked in the spring of each year until 2004. The last remaining individual salmon was captured in 2007.

We started capturing Brook Trout and Brown Trout in 2000. Before then, we simply were not looking for them, but that does not mean they were not there.

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From 2006 to 2013, we tagged 8,236 individual fish.

Those fish were captured a total of 16,024 times, many just once, some up to 10 times.

Each circle represents 10 individual captures. Individual fish that were captured more than once are included in more than one circle.

There was only one species of fish in the stream.

Brook trout are native to this region and reproduce naturally. Some of the trout in Stanley Brook are considered sea-run fish becasue they enter salt water, either in the bay itself or in the small estuary at the stream outlet.

There are four rivers in the stream network.

The Mainstem of Stanley Brook is the primary river.

The downstream portion is Tidal, and fish in the tidal protion are exposed to salt water and food from the bay. Fish are free to move into the bay from the Tidal area.

The East Branch is a short extension of the mainstem.

The West Branch is a very narrow tribuary and has open access from the mainstem.

We sampled in two seasons of each year.

We did not sample in Spring and Winter due to logistical constraints.

We sampled over 8 years from 2006 to 2013.

The total number of captured fish was higher in some years (e.g. 2006) and lower in others (e.g. 2009). Numbers are low in 2013 because we did not sample in the fall.

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