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Powers 11-18-2000 11:08 PM

11/18 Indian Head
Last week there was a lot of surface activity, small dimples, and I didn't hook anything. Had a couple of whacks at a dry fly by things too small to get a #16 Adams in their mouths. But mixed in were some decidedly larger swirls.

A couple of nights ago I got there at sunset and saw some boils but couldn't get rigged up in time to still be able to see a fly on the darkening water.

Some of you are aware that I'm a man of quirky prejudices. When it comes to trout, they should be (a) native, (b) wild, (c) taken on dry flies, and (d) on moving water. Soon enough I'll get to dredging woolly buggers through ponds, but I needed to get at least some of my criteria met before moving on.

This morning I thought dawn was too cold and windy to justify getting out of bed, so I didn't hit the Indian Head until about 8. A duck hunter asked me what fish were in there, because at dawn there were fish rising everywhere. [Insert harshest expletive that Juro allows on this board here]. I did spook some fish, saw some rises, heard some splashes, and finally hooked and landed a 7" trout on a too large elk hair caddis, satisfying (c) and (d) above.

No moving water is on the state's fall stocking list, and the smallness had me hoping that this was a wild somethingorother. I was puzzled by the trout itself, because its color was more blue than anything else. Its spots were black (ruling out brookies, the true native, because all char have spots lighter than their backgrounds), and it had several red spots along its lateral line, but it had none of the brown or gold or yellow I've seen on brown trout.

So I asked Bill Bois at North River Bait and Tackle and he said that the state had indeed put a bunch of small factory fish in there recently and he guessed that hatchery trout might just have some funky coloration.

I know this is a big word count for 7" of fish, but heck, it's November and that's 7" more than I had so far. [All this changes with tomorrow's success, of course].

juro 11-19-2000 08:48 AM

RE:11/18 Indian Head
I believe the rule is "red spots == browns unless there are also blue spots == brookies" according to sea run rules, where the usual colors are missing from silver bright ocean trout. I'll have to check that but in Europe where the concern is atlantic smolt and grilse vs. salt browns, the rule is simply "red spots == brown".

My guess is that you caught a small sea run brown.

Were the fins wrinkled on top or worn on the concrete side of the tail?

BTW - I wish the source of the Indian Head had lower temps thru the season, it would be a searun factory! I fished it pretty hard in the coho salmon days.

ssully 11-19-2000 10:44 PM

RE:11/18 Indian Head

"No moving water is on the state's fall stocking list, and the smallness had me hoping that this was a wild somethingorother."

If you read the stocking list carefully you will see that some rivers do receive fall stockings. As second hand information selected rivers were recently stocked with a mix of 16" rainbows and 8" browns.

If you are ever interested I can show you a place or two in the fall that will produce some fine looking 4-5" brookies. Meeting your a, b & d criteria.

artb 11-20-2000 04:51 AM

RE:11/18 Indian Head
Juro, You mentioned that you fished Indian Head during the Coho Salmon days, so did I. I have video showing the State of Mass seining Coho's in the pool below the dam, very interesting. Did you ever fish the Lampery River in southern NH? That was another Coho fishery here in the northeast. nI use to fish it with Bob Harris, the outdoor writer from Goffstown NH. A very good fisherman.

Powers 11-20-2000 09:06 AM

RE:11/18 Indian Head
Ssully, if wild native moving water brookies exist, I bet they can be taken on dries. Let's fish! The nearest place I know to accomplish that is in Holden, and they're mixed with stocked fish there.

5" native brookies in spawning colors are one of nature's perfect jewels.

I did add another 13" to my trout catching totals with a nice broolie in Mashpee yesterday, but stocked stillwater and woolly bugger.

juro 11-27-2000 04:15 PM

RE:11/18 Indian Head
Mike I'm impressed - dries in this weather!?! Just out of curiosity did you happen to take the water temps?

Powers 11-27-2000 08:02 PM

RE:11/18 Indian Head
Terry, there's stocking and then there's stocking, at least as near as I can figure. The state will always say "we've put xK catchable brookies and yK catchable browns in these waters...", and there's the official stocking list I referred to above.

On the other hand, they grow trout on farms where they don't know exactly what the harvest will be, and at the end of the growing season they may have too many fish. It costs money to feed fingerlings over the winter and it may play into next year's plans and budgets. I learned this by running into a stocking truck way upstream at Scortons (Jones Ln.) about this time of year, maybe two or three years ago. They put some ungodly number (50K?) of fingerling brookies into the system with some faint hope that they'd live and a more general sense that they had to get rid of them. That was, btw, a really good year for holdover stripers in Scortons. Some of the fingerlings I know didn't acclimate, because I saw them dead a few days later. Many undoubtedly fed winterover stripers. Maybe, though, maybe a couple lived and thrived and returned after a summer at sea. That would be good.

That's why I'm curious about my 4-7" blue browns. (I caught two more today, but I hesitate to post that now that Juro works with me. Never helps to have someone know you're playing hooky.)

Juro: no clue as to water temps. I don't do the stream thermometer thing. Today's two fish were on a muddler and a dry, respectively.

steve moore 11-27-2000 08:16 PM

RE:11/18 Indian Head
Here's a question for you guys: On Saturday, I caught an Atlantic salmon. At the time I assumed it had simply washed over the dam, since I was fishing a well-known tailwater in Western Mass., but it occured to me today, what if it had indeed made the run upstream from the ocean? How would I know? Are there any ways to tell whether a fish is a true landlock?

Powers 12-21-2000 12:49 PM

RE:11/18 Indian Head
Well, if any of you were dying of curiosity about my little blue-browns, the mystery is solved. I talked to Steve Hurley at the DFW.

They're hatchery fish, overstock from the McLaughlin hatchery [anyone know where that is?], and of a strain called "spring creek". There's nothing about that strain to suggest an unusual coloration, Steve assumes it's just a result of the color of the pens or raceways they were kept in. Or perhaps it's a quick acculturation, the Indian Head waters are dark.

The hope in putting those critters in there now is that some of them will acclimate and choose to become sea-runs. I sure do hope so.

juro 12-21-2000 02:22 PM

RE:11/18 Indian Head
Steve -

How big was the salmon? You can usually tell they've been in salt by the brightness of the scales and the whiteness of the fins. This only works for a little while though, they turn dark after a while in fresh as you probably already know. Salter fish are generally more streamlined and have better body tone than brood raised in tanks - meaning shaped like small war submarines with sharply positioned fins instead of tadpoles. Brood fish have fresh concrete burn on the bottom of their tails. As the fish's stay lengthens, their condition deteriorates and it gets harder to guess their origin.

The meat is another big indicator - unless hatcheries are using commerical farm-raised salmon pellets instead of typical hatchery pellets, the meat will be pale and pasty. Open ocean fed salmon will have the prized red flesh they are known for.

Cool that you caught it though!

Powers -

I won't fink if you won't fink on me! I know there is a hatchery called the Blue something or other on Barnstable Creek, very close to Scortons, that is a private trout hatchery on Cape Cod. The owner's name is Mike. He claims searun brookies nudge up from the bay all the time. He also says the brood he raises came from the brook. It's right down the road from the former location of the Fly Shop of Cape Cod, just southeast of where Barnstable Creek crosses 6A.

So was it a private hatchery dumping trout into the brook???

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