Category Archives: Salmon, Shad

On the subject of Connecticut River Atlantic salmon and anadromous fish migration.

Shad-Run Surge

With fragrant pink weigelas in full bloom and mock orange buds opening into white flowers, I know the annual Connecticut River American shad run is near its end, typical with Memorial Day in the rearview. Long ago were the days when I was among the eager anglers wading the margins of deep, narrow migration channels […]

Indian Weir Dynamics: A New Twist

A long, winding path sat me in this bow-back Windsor chair this morning – seasoned-oak oozing warmth from the woodstove to stimulate thought about Indian weirs. My introduction to these manmade fish-catching structures occurred more than 30 years ago. Deerfield artist/illustrator Al Dray had been following my columns on salmon, shad, and ancient spring fishing […]

Sturgeon Survive, Native Fishing Camps Fade

Two recent meetings I chose to attend pulled my focus to Connecticut River Basin fisheries and, more specifically, those of our own Pioneer Valley – a topic I have explored in depth over the years, be it with books, scientific reports, fishing rods, shotguns, or paddles in hand. First came the January 17 meeting of […]

Colonial Diary Offers Clues About Scandinavian Cupboard

An impromptu weekend trip to a friend’s Lake George summer home, the fascinating mid-18th-century journal of a scholarly foreign traveler, and an interestingly carved and painted 1789 Scandinavian tabernacle or bonnet-top cupboard that had previously stirred my inquisitive juices. That’s what’s on my plate today, and what I’ll serve in soothing soapstone warmth wafting from […]

Shad Run Ain’t What It Used To Be

Early June – front yard sweetened in pink weigelia, peony and mock-orange fragrance – 2023’s Connecticut River American shad run down to a trickle. Although the announced June 8 tally of 269,720 could grow slightly by the time all fish passageways are closed, it’ll be irrelevant. The run’s over. Chalk it up as another so-so […]

Eels and Stuff

The first day of March brought with it an inch of fresh overnight snow, a rarity here this winter, as East Palestine, Ohioans live in fear that each breath inhaled is shaving away hours of their lives. The morning is gray and gloomy, dark, dreary and warming, a light patter of rain detectable even to […]

Fighting a Loyal Salmon Crusade

This all began with an email from a local environmentalist gadfly. He wanted to share a recent guest column he had written for the Northampton newspaper. What followed was a string of email correspondence between me and him and another writer still beating the dead horse called Connecticut River Atlantic salmon. The lively discussion stirred […]

Waushakum Pond: Lamprey-Eel Fishing Place?

Finally, a breakthrough concerning a longstanding, personal and vexing lamprey question – that is, did Northeastern indigenous populations utilize anadromous sea lampreys as a food source during the eel-like creatures’ annual, upriver, spring spawning runs among millions of American shad, Atlantic salmon, striped bass and river herring? This mystery I explored at length and was […]

Shad Traps

It’s April, the month that ushers in our annual Connecticut River American shad-spawning run, a natural phenomenon that has for millennia pulled valley people – be they ancient, indigenous villagers, colonial families and commercial fishermen, or contemporary sportfishermen and women – to advantageous May fishing sites. So, what better for a longtime observer of this […]

Valley Fishing Calendar Has Changed Little Since Colonial Days

Friend Peter Thomas is back at it, nose to the grindstone. The good doctor of anthropology and archaeology is at his core an historian. These days the retired author of In the Maelstrom of Change: The Indian Trade and Cultural Process in the Middle Connecticut River Valley, 1635-1665 is photographically digitizing the Sylvester Judd Manuscripts at Northampton’s Forbes Library […]

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