Wild Brook Trout Mapping Tools

Here’s a terrific tool that is helpful to fishermen and trout conservationists alike that I am sure you will enjoy.

It was developed by the Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture (EBTJV) to help visualize where wild brook trout can be found and what factors may be affecting their presence and absence — and I must admit I use it all the time. You may find it indispensable as well.

Today I had a request by someone on Facebook to comment on “sea runners” found below the Elks Lodge in Wareham MA.

I know that area is both highly developed for waterpower due to the mill dams put in back a few centuries ago but since I haven’t been down in that area in a while, I wanted to see what was really going on down there. Could these fish be wild?

Years ago we had a chance to fish on the hallowed Tihonet Club grounds and I have to say I will never forget that day – that and my experiences on Red Brook suggest that there could be some interesting fishing and conservation opportunities in the area – and there could be fish below the dam, for sure. But are they wild fish? To those unfamiliar with the situation – the Tihonet probably contains nothing but stocked trout and warm water fish these days for reasons too numerous to mention in this post. That said, it is a gorgeous location for the headquarters of AD Makepeace’s cranberry operation, and ADM has done a great deal to help restore salter brook trout on Red Brook.

Here below is a quick snapshot of what I found when I consulted my favorite mapping tool. And it doesn’t look like those fish reported below the dam have much of a chance – but it would not surprise me if they are there.

See those red spots? Those are dams. While they may have passable herring runs, it is a pretty good chance that those ponds (aka impoundments) are death to wild salter trout. Why? Because that’s what dams and ponds do thanks to the thermal pollution generated in the summer. Trout can’t survive the pulse of warm water that comes over the dam – and if any were to be able to find refuge down below, since they don’t like herring runs, brookies that do hang on can’t access the spawning waters above – and if they could, they would find any gravels required for spawning to be buried under centuries of silt.

But the news is not all bad!

We know both to the left and right of these rivers are some special populations of wild trout – some of which can actually run to the sea.

See the second image below for where to find wild trout.

Click on either image to make them larger.

So here’s the good news. See those orange patches? That’s where biologists have positively identified the presence of wild reproducing trout. And those patches are all over the place. Yep, the dams are all over the place too – but if you look carefully you’ll see opportunities everywhere to both catch and conserve wild trout.

Want to help conserve wild trout? Please become a member of the Sea Run Brook Trout Coalition today.

SRBTC works to help expand wild brook trout through research, advocacy and habitat restoration.

Joining is super inexpensive, and we promise to never sell your name to others – and we promise to not dunn you with emails and letters and contests and such like other orgs do every month or so.

Want to have free access to this tool? Here you are: https://ecosheds.org/geoserver/www/index.html

This above link will expire as USGS is planning to “sunset” this tool as they develop others.

Here’s a quick demo on how to use it – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qX5crGv0efI

This simple YouTube demo only begins to scratch the surface of this powerful tool. If you have ways how you can use the many other features of this tool to improve your fishing or conservation efforts, please reach out to us or make a demo yourself and we’ll share it with others.

Big thanks to EBTJV and the folks at the USGS Conte Anadromous Fisheries Lab for developing this fabulous tool!

Happy Mapping!!

A later update – hopefully this page will become a repository of useful mapping tools for others.

Here’s another one – shared by Shannon White of The Troutlook.


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