The 5.8-km West Branch Farmington River Trout Management Area (TMA) is one of Connecticut's premier catch-and-release fisheries for brown trout Salmo trutta. However, little is known about the behavior of brown trout in this system and to what extent brown trout emigrate from the TMA. The objectives of this study were to determine the movement, range, and emigration of resident holdover and newly stocked brown trout tagged with radio transmitters in the TMA. Transmitters were implanted into 22 first-year (mean total length = 314 mm) and 25 second-year (mean total length = 432 mm) holdover brown trout. Twenty catchable-size (mean total length = 290 mm) brown trout were also implanted with transmitters and released into the TMA. The mean range (distance between the extreme upstream and downstream locations) was greater for second-year holdover brown trout than for first-year holdover brown trout, and it was greater in fall than in winter. The movement (distance moved between successive locations) of holdover brown trout was greater in fall than in winter. Movement of first-year holdover brown trout was significantly related to discharge, water temperature, and the number of days between successive locations. Newly stocked brown trout exhibited the two largest ranges (5.3 and 4.7 km). The range of newly stocked brown trout was not different between seasons, but movement was greater in spring than in summer. Through 16 weeks poststocking, there was no discernable difference in the percentage of stocked brown trout dispersing in a predominantly upstream or downstream direction. Mean dispersal distances from the stocking location were 0.5 and 0.9 km at 2 and 12 weeks poststocking, respectively. Movement of newly stocked brown trout was positively related to discharge and negatively related to water temperature. A known 6% (4 of 67) of the tagged brown trout emigrated from the TMA, but up to 21% (14 of 67) of tagged fish could have left the study area if all missing fish were emigrants. ?? Copyright by the American Fisheries Society 2005.
Additional publication details
Range and movement of resident holdover and hatchery brown trout tagged with radio transmitters in the Farmington River, Connecticut