NAUGATUCK RIVER WATERSHED ASSOCIATION
“A river without fish is not much of an ecosystem – it is like a drainage ditch. But after all the abuse we have heaped upon the Naugatuck River, that ecosystem is now rapidly recovering. I hope that when we look back years from now we can see that 2012 was the year that the American shad and river herring began the long road to restoration in earnest. I’m sure there will still be good years and bad years, but with this big jump in returns and work about to begin on the Tingue Dam fishway, I hope that the trend is mostly in an upward direction in the coming years.” said Steve Gephard—DEEP Supervising Fisheries Biologist (Diadromous Fisheries Program).
It has been long time coming. The first year American shad were stocked in the Naugatuck River was in 1996 and 2002 was the first year alewife were stocked. This spring 59 American shad and 20 alewives passed through the Kinneytown Fishway passage. Not great numbers, but hopefully the start of a positive trend. The first American shad passed Kinneytown Fishway was in 2002. The first alewife passed in 2001. Since this preceded the stocking effort, these alewife that passed the fishway were part of the ‘remnant run’ to the river.
The following are the total list for the Kinneytown Fishway passage numbers for Spring 2012: American shad (59), Alewife (28), Sea-run brown trout (21), Sea lamprey (35), Striped bass (7), Gizzard shad (36), Broodstock salmon (4), Smallmouth bass (173), Brown trout (122), Rainbow trout (2), White sucker (572), Common carp (31), Unidentified sunfish (2) and Unidentified catfish (1).
Note: Hundreds of juvenile clupeids (shad or alewives) were observed going downstream through the fishway at the end of the season; something that hadn’t seen in years past.
“The numbers of American shad and river herring that passed the Kinneytown Fishway in the years following those ‘founding fish’ documented above remained very low until just this year. Biologists do not know for sure what factors contributed to the improvement that were seen this year, but they believe that better sea survival (from when the fish first emigrated from freshwater as juveniles up until they came back as mature adults) must have played an important part in this year’s runs.” Reported Tim Wildman, Fisheries Biologist (Diadromous Fisheries) Inland Fisheries Division -Bureau of Natural Resources
It appears likely that the Connecticut River run of American shad experienced the same sort of improvement. This improvement however was not seen across their range (Florida to Maine), and in fact, some rivers actually saw fewer fish return this year. Biologists will continue their efforts to restore anadromous fish to the Naugatuck River, which includes the stocking of both American shad and alewife. They hope that it is the beginning of a positive trend.
Note: The stocking of shad and river herring stocking in the Naugatuck River has continued since 1996 and 2002 respectively. The 2012 spring stocking were:
American Shad (150) and Alewife (river herring) 500. All stocking took place at the Riverbend Park in Beacon Falls.
Kinneytown Fishway Report Seymour, CT & Stocking of Sea run Trout, American Shad and Alewife in the Naugatuck River
Reported by Timothy Wildman—DEEP Fisheries Division
The total passage for the year, 2011.
2011 Stocking of Sea run Trout, Alewife and American Shad Programs Stocking in the Naugatuck River-- 500 brown trout and 500 tiger trout downstream of K’town Dam (Riverside Drive in Ansonia).
156 American shad and 500 alewife into the Naugatuck River at the Riverbend Park on Nancy Avenue in Beacon Falls.