Outstanding results of trout count.
Updated: Oct 26, 2018
One year after our initial restoration project, results have yielded an increase by 13 fold!
In September 2016 we installed cover and shelter structures in a 1,400 foot long section of the Batten Kill beginning some distance below the West Arlington Covered Bridge & running past the Cemetery down to where the river comes against River Road. Before the project the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department did a fish population count in the upper 700 feet of the project area ONLY – three adult fish & about seven young of the year were found. So this was not good habitat: a shallow riffle with some depth on the outside of the curve (the 313 side), but no downed trees or big stones to provide cover & shelter.
In September 2017 VFWD did another fish population count in the same upstream 700 feet section, where boulder clusters, convoy structures of whole trees and stone, and bank stabilization structures of wood & stone had been installed:
*** ABOUT SEVENTY SIX ADULT FISH AND SIXTY YOUNG OF THE YEAR WERE FOUND. ***
This is an astonishing result. It confirms again the hypothesis that the shortage of cover & shelter has been a limiting factor on the productivity of the trout fishery. It suggests that as trout move around the river, they are attracted to & use the areas with cover & shelter structures. In such areas they have protection from predation, floods, ice, & hot weather, and the complex woody structures create many separate spaces for different adult trout to use without engaging in territorial competition.
Photos show trout being measured and weighed by Vermont Fish & Wildlife staff during the fish census. After the fish are collected they are anesthetized, and after the weigh in they are put in the recovery bucket, and then returned to the river in good shape.