Small Town News

Guest Opinion

Fin Fur and Feathers

The Brookfield Citizen of Brookfield, Massachusetts

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This first full week of October is a beauty. Following some much needed rain the temperatures turned seasonal with early morning comfort found in a heavy flannel shirt that was removed by about 10 AM and had the sun warming your back through a Tee shirt until supper time Excellent weather for the fall harvest season.

All outdoor writers wax poetic about our colorful New England scenery this time of year, and rightly so. It is unmatched on the planet. This year the color seemed a bit behind what with the dry period but a couple passing systems have provided enough energy in the trees to give us another achingly beautiful show.

Notice I said show, not view or picture. This is because of the trees that are changing as this is written in mid month, overnight. The Crapes are still on the vines, the Crab Apples hanging in clusters we have never seen before all red and ripe as round rubies, over shadowing the grapes they hang among. My, all these wonderful packages together.

The stormy weather has not brought enough rain to get the water levels up to seasonal levels, but the ducks don't seem to mind. Less water just makes their pickings, or dabbling's as it were, easier. I haven't seen the condition of the river between North and South ponds, but I hope there is enough water for the fish to migrate through the area on their spawning runs. The forecast is for a waterfowl migration that along the Atlantic flyway should be nearly as good as last years which was the best we have seen in over a decade.

Buck rubs are showing up on trees already. These are extremely note worthy because usually the oldest, dominant bucks are the first to rub the trees, which is a territory marking mechanism. At one time it was thought that it was just the bucks rubbing the velvet from their antlers but trail cameras and other research show this is happening weeks after the velvet has been shed. Those antlers are good solid bone for now and will serve as intimidation for other bucks, attraction for does, and weapons for bucks that do not recognize superior head gear.

With the state out stocking trout some anglers are back to taking trout after a summer of bass chasing. This is fine but it would be a conservation minded angler that would consider that this late fall is when Rainbow trout in particular are running up streams to spawn. Rainbow trout are what the state stocks the most of when these trout go to the ocean to spawn or the streams feeding the Great Lakes and other large water bodies they become known as steelhead. There is a rumor going around about a lady fishing a protected stretch of river in New York state, but the wardens kept letting her go because she didn't have a hook, lure, or bait on her line, just a square two inch piece of metal. Some one asked her what the metal was and she replied" a magnet". "I am fishing for Steelhead"

This is arguably the best time to catch big fish fattening up for the spawning season or just that season of year when the pond has a hard, opaque roof. If you are out there in a canoe remember your life preservers as your time in cold water can be a lot shorter than you planned

BUT GO and enjoy, JTO.

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Original Publication Date: November 1, 2015

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