Gene Chague | Berkshire Woods and Waters: Local waters welcome 12,000 trout; 2 local lakes add new boat ramps

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Upwards of 60,000 rainbow and 4,000 brown trout will be stocked in the state this fall.

And our Western District waters will receive about 12,000 of them. That's according to the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife). The rainbows will be 12 inches or longer. The brown trout that will be stocked state-wide will also be about 12 inches long. The stockings should begin this week and be completed by the second week of October depending on water temperatures. The following area waters are scheduled to be stocked this year: Ashfield Pond, Deerfield River, Goose Pond, Lake Buel, Laurel Lake, North Pond, Onota Lake, Otis Reservoir, Pontoosuc Lake, Richmond Pond, Stockbridge Bowl, Windsor Lake and Windsor Pond.

At the time of this writing, it was unclear as to whether the East Branch of the Westfield River would be stocked this fall. It was not stocked last fall because of warm water conditions and low flow. Anglers should be able find out by viewing the daily stocking reports on Mass.gov/trout. Although Stockbridge Bowl is scheduled to be stocked, because of the toxic algae problem, anglers should probably check the web page anyway.

Incidentally, anglers can search for a specific water body or town by using the sortable list, or explore new fishing spots with the map feature.

Tight lines!

Lake boat ramp projects

Recently, Department of Fish & Game (DFG) Commissioner Ronald Amidon, Office of Fishing & Boating (OFB) Director John Sheppard, and assistant director Douglas Cameron visited the Berkshires to celebrate the completion of two lake-access projects: one on Lake Mansfield in Great Barrington and the other on Goose Pond in Lee/Tyringham.

The 40-acre Lake Mansfield is a half-mile northwest of the center of Great Barrington. Its maximum depth is 16 feet with an average depth of approximately seven feet. Thanks to a previous donation from Carl Beling there is a boat access on the southeast side of the pond

Last Tuesday, there was a ribbon cutting celebrating the installation of a car top access ramp and adjacent parking area. The newly paved parking area holds about a half dozen cars. Because the lake is so small (40 acres), no motorized boats except electric motors are allowed.

The parking lot and ramp used to be gravel and when it rained, the gravel and nearby road pollution got washed into the lake. But no longer thanks to the DFG and OFB technician Terry Smith.

During the winter months, Smith did all of the design and permitting work and during this summer he went to work helping construct it. With help from the Great Barrington DPW, work was done on the nearby road to properly pitch it and the parking area runoff into retention basins and not directly into the lake, thus helping to resolve a non-point source of pollution there. He also was involved in paving the parking lot. By doing much of the work himself and/or in-house, it is estimated that he saved the OFB about 50 percent of the cost, had it gone out to bid and outsourced.

Attending the ribbon cutting were of Great Barrington officials, DPW Chief Sean VanDeusen, AJ Enchill from State Senator Hinds' office, Town Conservation Agent Shep Evens, a representative of the Berkshire County League of Sportsmen, Christine Ward of the Lake Mansfield Improvement Task Force and others.

All expressed gratitude for the support given by the Town, DFG, Senator Hinds and Representative Smitty Pignatelli. Christine Ward discussed additional long-term management plans for the lake.

Later that morning, DFG and OFB officials viewed the newly designed and paved boat ramp access to Goose Pond on Cooper Creek Road. Goose Pond is a popular 263-acre pond located off of Goose Pond Road on the Lee and Tyringham town lines. Upper Goose Pond is connected to Goose Pond via a small but navigable channel and is 61 acres in size. Goose Pond has an average depth of 23 feet with a maximum of 48 feet while Upper Goose Pond averages 15 feet in depth with a maximum of 33 feet.

In the 1960s, the Commonwealth secured an easement to ensure public access. Up until this year, the gravel road had been in poor condition with holes and erosion problems. Once again, Terry Smith came to the rescue designing plans for correcting the erosion issues. He rolled up his sleeves and built a runoff retention system The town's DPW re-graded the roadway to the ramp and, with DFG funds, paved the road and delineated parking areas along the side of it. Thanks to Smith's efforts, the renovation of the boat ramp access costs approximately half of what it would have cost had the project gone out to bid. (I think he deserves a raise).

In attendance were commissioner Amidon, director Shepard, assistant director Cameron, Smith, Enchill, town officials, lake residents and others.

"Tyringham officials recognize the importance of this access and have entered into an agreement with DFG to provide ongoing management of the public access areas. It is a fantastic recreational asset for the public. It is good for people who live here and good for the tourism business as well," said Tyringham Board of Selectman Chairman James Consolati.

"Ecotourism, or the outdoor recreation economy, has grown to be a significant focus in Berkshire County," said commissioner Amidon, "and fixing up boat ramps is just one way to serve both residents and visitors alike."

The DFG has done a lot of that in recent years having done boat ramp work on ponds in Otis and Richmond Pond last year, and Lake Mansfield and Goose Pond this year.

Update on the Ashuwillticook moose

Recently, Massachusetts DFW responded to a report of a young bull moose weighing approximately 700 pounds on the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail in Adams. Due to the location of the moose, their biologists worked with the Massachusetts Environmental Police to successfully immobilize the animal and transport it to an undisclosed rural location, where it was closely monitored until it fully recovered from the effects of the immobilization agent. The DFW thanked the EPOs, DCR, Adams ACO, and Adams Fire and Highway Departments for their assistance.

[Editor's Note] Since this article was submitted, another moose wandered into Adams, MA. See The Berkshire Eagle reporter Scott Stafford's excellent article about it in the Sept. 20 issue, entitled "Mom, son from Brazil face down loose moose."

Want a night out?

The Berkshire County Chapter of Ducks Unlimited is presenting "A Sportsman's Night Out" on Friday evening, Oct. 5 at the Stockbridge Sportsman's Club from 6 to 9 p.m.

You are invited to come out for a night of fun with family and friends. This is not like their Spring event; no formal meal, no live auction, just plenty of fun for everyone. Hot dogs, burgers, sausages, beverages, general raffle, silent auction, and gun raffles.

You are advised to wear a flannel shirt to be entered in for the door prize.

No tickets will be sold at the door. You can obtain your tickets online at www.ducks.org or through a Ducks Unlimited member. Tickets must be purchased by Saturday, Sept. 29. Tickets are $30 each or $250 for a sponsorship. They are limited to the first 150 people and they suspect that tickets will go fast.

Chapter co-chairmen are: JP Murphy and Joe DelSoldato (berkshireducks@gmail.com), Chapter members: Andy Atutis, Rich Lincourt, Ken Recore. The Regional Director is Ray Ilg (rilg@ducks.org).

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

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