Gene Chague | Berkshire Woods and Waters: Pittsfield and October Mountain trail plans to be discussed

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The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) will be holding a Public Meeting on the Draft Trail Plans for the Pittsfield and October Mountain State Forests on Wednesday, June 29 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the DCR West Region Headquarters at 740 South Street in Pittsfield.

It will be presenting an overview of the Draft Trail Plan's contents and recommendations, and inviting public comments. The plan and accompanying maps are available for viewing on the DCR website at http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dcr/public-outreach/public-meetings/. It will also be available for review at the DCR West Region Headquarters on South Street and the DCR Planning Office at 136 Damon Road in Northampton during business hours, beginning on June 30.

Public comments on the plan may be submitted to DCR until August 1, 2016, either online at http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dcr/public-outreach/submit-public-comments/ or by writing to the Department of Conservation and Recreation, Office of Public Outreach, 251 Causeway Street, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02114.

If you frequent these mountains, I recommend that you allow yourself some time to review this plan. It is 54 pages long, not including the 4 pages of maps. Take the time to read and digest it. For me, reading about 10 pages a day and writing notes or comments works. Quite frankly, I am impressed with the work and thought that went into it and it certainly deserves our serious consideration.

Youth Outreach Fishing Derby

The Berkshire County League of Sportsmen, with the help from members of the Cheshire Rod & Gun Club, Adams Outdoor for Youth, and others, held its Youth Outreach Fishing Derby at Reynolds Pond in Cheshire earlier this month. This year they hosted 25 kids from the State Street T group from North Adams.

They got to enjoy the fishing experience with local sportsmen helping them bait their hooks, cast lines, catch fish and clean them if they wanted to bring them home to eat. While at the derby, they all had a tasty lunch and later went home with new fishing outfits and great memories.

Thanks to Karen Kruszyna of Cheshire for providing the picture of the young lady angler. It is one of my favorite fishing pictures.

Youth Rifle League

The Stockbridge Sportsman's Club Youth Rifle league will run from July 6 to August 24 on Wednesday nights from 5-7 p.m. Registration will be on July 6 in the banquet hall at the club at 5 p.m. This will also be the first night of the league. The cost is $40 per child, and they will need their own eye and ear protection. Children do not need to be members of the club in order to join the league. Applications can be found on club's website at stockbridgesportmansclub.org.

State record lake trout follow-up

I received quite a few comments after last week's article regarding the record lake trout which was caught out of Quabbin Reservoir recently. Readers may recall that it weighed 25 pounds, 7 ounces. Please allow me to address some of them here:

Why no picture of the fish? Well, there appears to have been only one picture taken of the fish with the successful angler William Roy of Palmer. I forwarded it to The Eagle with the write-up, but unfortunately, the quality was not good (grainy) and The Eagle could not use it. To see a picture of that fish, click onto the MassWildlife page on Facebook and scroll down to around June 8. If you are willing to wait to see a better picture of it, I think it will be detailed in MassWildlife's July newsletter.

What was the previous Massachusetts record lake trout? It weighed 24 pounds, 0 ounces and was caught out of Wachusett Reservoir by Michael Sienkiewicz in 2004.

Did Roy really catch the fish in 10 feet of water? No, I worded that wrong. Roy was trolling the lure at a depth of 10 feet below the surface. Quabbin Reservoir averages over 50 feet in depth and I'm sure he was trolling in deeper water. If he was trolling his lure in 10 feet of water, he would have been hooking up on the bottom all day long.

How old was the record fish? That's difficult to say. It depends on the lake that they live in. In some lakes, like the Great Lakes, they grow faster because of the abundance of food fish. Lake trout on bigger lakes have been reported to reach nearly 70 years of age, although 10-20 is more typical for fish that reach maturity. Only on larger lakes do lake trout even break the 50-pound barrier and grow bigger than 3.5 feet. The biggest recorded lake trout weighed 102 pounds and was caught in a gill net on Lake Athabasca, Saskatchewan.

Scientists usually gauge the age of fish by the rings on their scales. But since lake trout have small scales, they may have been underestimating their ages for many years. Today, experts use the otoliths (inner ear bones) and sections of their fin rays to age lake trout.

Thank you for bringing the errors and omissions to my attention.

Questions/comments: Berkwoodsandwaters@roadrunner.com. Phone: 413-637-1818


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