Squan-a-Tissit News

October’s Chapter Meeting 

Tuesday, October 27, 2020 @ 7pm

Will be Live Streamed via Zoom


Nymphing from A-to-Z with Tim Cammisa

During this interactive presentation, Tim discusses his approach to fishing with nymphs, the stage in which trout feed the most. From European nymphing to fishing with indicators, Tim walks you through his setup, flies, and styles plus gives you tips on a variety of situations that will improve your nymph fishing instantly!

A Zoom Meeting Invite will be in your email soon. If you are not on our mailing list please send an email request to chapter@squanatissit.org


Tim Cammisa of “Trout and Feather” has been addicted to fly fishing and fly tying for about as long as anyone can remember. Although he and his wife Heather live in western Pennsylvania, fly fishing has taken him all over the country, with his fly fishing “home base” being the State College area. Some of Tim’s favorite waters include the mighty Delaware (where he has guided) and Missouri Rivers; though discovering small streams with wild trout continues to excite him; his four-year old son Angelo especially likes this, as he gets to be the “fish spotter!” In 2019, Tim’s fly fishing included destinations in Wyoming, Florida, New York, and Iceland, with him hosting a trip to the latter this upcoming summer for Ice Age brown trout and gorgeous Arctic char. Tim is one of the new generations of fly fishers who have taken to social media to promote and teach the sport. A fly fisherman and fly tier for 30 years, Tim started making fly tying tutorials and posting them on YouTube, which permits users to upload their own homemade videos on just about any topic. Tim and his coffee mug have co-starred in over 250 videos on many different fly fishing and tying topics, like purchasing and maintaining gear, tying with certain materials or a specific fly pattern, and giving back to charities such as Project Healing Waters.


Tim has had a great response to his videos – he now has an audience of over 21,000 subscribers with three million video views! You can view Tim’s fly tying and fly fishing videos on his website: http://www.troutandfeather.com/



A Note from the Chapter President:

I hope this message finds you and your loved ones healthy. The last 6 months have been nothing less than incredibly challenging for our entire society. The Virus and its effects on the economy, our relationships and how we live our lives has been exhausting for many of us. Coupled with other political and social tensions and it is understandable how people need relief and activities to just be able to escape for short periods of time. Many people took to fishing and other outdoor activities as soon as it warmed up a little bit this spring. The parking areas for all our local rivers and those around the state were filled daily. Reports from the Swift were that the lots were overflowing. As the summer progressed, we entered a period of draught and warm weather. This creates an incredibly challenging environment for cold-water fish such as trout to survive in. Warm, slow moving water has a reduced dissolved oxygen content that stresses the whole ecosystem. Most trout will stop eating when the water surpasses the mid 60-degree mark. The drought has dried many smaller tributary streams and greatly reduced water depths and available habitat in mainstem rivers. Trout will search out cold water refuges to survive. Inexperienced fishermen will see a pod of fish concentrated in a cold refuge as a great opportunity, but the reality is, they will struggle to survive once caught and released. The Squan-A-Tissit TU Chapter suggests that fishermen can help to reduce the stress on stream fish during the drought by fishing other waters. During periods like this it is better to focus on warm water species such as bass and panfish or saltwater fish such as striped bass. 

I would like to welcome 39 new members since the beginning of 2020. Many of you have joined because of marketing efforts that TU National had throughout the spring. My goal is to engage with each of you over the next month. Please look for an email or phone call from me welcoming you. Our current membership now stands at 259 members. Your continued support is critical to keep our projects moving forward.  In early October we will be sending out a survey to all members. The goal is to understand how we can serve our membership more and provide activities and education that is engaging throughout the year. Please look for this in your email soon.

In this issue you will find an update on the Sucker Brook Project as well as a volunteer opportunity to start work on the dam removal.

Our first meeting of the year will be October 27th via Zoom. Additional details will be sent out early next month.

Mike Lauritzen


A Sucker Brook Update

Keyes Area Restoration 

The engineering firm Horsley Witten returned to Sucker Brook at the Keyes-Parker site this summer to take bank width measurements and other calculations for their report. They are finishing the second phase or 75% of the design for culvert replacement and dam removal, the final phase will be completed this winter. One interesting fact was there is 1300 sq. yds. of sediment behind the dam which will be released when the dam is removed. This is critical to increasing the health of the stream below the dam. A mussel study is being conducted for MA Natural Heritage by Jason Carmignani, the study will be similar to that done for the Millie Turner dam removal. There will be 6 mussels studied with 3 species being a part of a targeted study, the Triangular Floater, the Brook Floater and the Creeper.  An area of 5 to 600 meters will be surveyed to determine the species, size and numbers in the brook next summer.  Prior to dam removal targeted mussels will be relocated to new site downstream.  Volunteers will be needed to assist in the process. A turtle study will also be done at the site to determine species and numbers in the surrounding area.  Wood turtles and Painted turtles have been seen at site. Steps will be taken to ensure their safety during the construction process. The culvert replacement and dam removal is scheduled to start at the end of summer or fall of 2021.  We are in the process of finding grant money and doing fundraising this winter to supplement existing funds.  The chapter has raised and committed $30K to the project.

Sucker Brook Volunteer Opportunity

We are having a work party to remove woody debris which has collected on the dam on Sucker Brook.  The debris removal is prior to the dam being removed; this will give us a better understanding of the dam structure. There is one large log resting on top of the dam and lots of smaller trees and brush which has compacted over the years. The tree can be cut by chainsaw and the rest is basic hand work. The material will be left on site at designated area.  

Due to the Corona virus, you will be required to wear a mask and gloves and maintain social distancing.   Joe Gould, project manager for Division of Ecological Restoration and Paula Terazzi, Conservation Officer for Pepperell and partners in the project will be on hand to help and answer your questions.

Bring warm clothes, waders if your comfortable working in such and work gloves and a mask.

The date is October 24 at 9:00 AM.  Please contact Michael Lauritzen if you can participate. Michael.E.Lauritzen@gmail.com 

Due to Covid-19 Restrictions, We will not be able to provide the usual refreshments during this workday.

New Addition to the Squannacook River WMA

MassWildlife continues to protect the Squannacook River WMA by adding additional acreage to the property.

For over half a century, the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) has worked to protect the Squannacook River in Townsend, Groton, and Shirley by acquiring land to add to the Squannacook River Wildlife Management Area (WMA). MassWildlife recently added another 45 acres to the 1,980 acres previously held along this beautiful, forested river. The newly acquired property is on the east side of Warren Road south of Townsend Harbor, abutting the existing WMA.

The new parcel of land supports several rare species protected under the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act (MESA), which is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2020. Blanding’s turtles, listed as threatened in Massachusetts, have been observed in this area. This large, yellow-throated turtle is quite rare in New England but can be found in pockets of eastern Massachusetts. As with most turtles, Blanding’s turtles face threats from vehicle traffic, so the dense road network of eastern Massachusetts is a major hazard. Protecting land inhabited by these handsome turtles is the best strategy for long-term conservation.

The three other MESA-listed species are all species of special concern: the wood turtle, the brook snaketail dragonfly, and the creeper freshwater mussel. All three are dependent on the Squannacook River. Both Blanding’s and wood turtles prefer to dig their nests and lay eggs in dry, sunny, sandy areas. Occasional openings in the forest near the river provide nesting sites and keep the female turtles from crossing roads in search of suitable places to nest. Protecting forests along the margins of the river also helps to maintain good water quality.

Along with providing habitat for rare species, this new addition to the WMA helps conserve other important resources. The river itself offers great opportunities for recreation and connecting with nature. Anglers can fish for trout, chain pickerel, bluegill, largemouth bass, and pumpkinseed. Enjoy fishing from a kayak or take a leisurely paddle down this peaceful river to appreciate the unique fire-adapted community found adjacent to the river. Visitors of all kinds will revel in the tranquil beauty of this area, which is only an hour from Boston and the North Shore. 

We hope you get to visit our Squannacook River WMA sometime this year – it’s a beautiful place to hike, fish, and kayak! Check out the MassWildlife Lands Viewer to get started.

Michael Rosser, Dave Armstrong met up with Kate Abbott on the Niss friday morning.  Kate is a grad student at UMass-Amherst working on a PhD with Dr. Allison Roy at the Massachusetts Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit looking at the effects of dam removal on stream habitat and stream temperatures. She has been monitoring stream temperatures and sampling macroinvertebrates at sites near the Millle Turner dam on the Nissitissit and the Keyes dam on Sucker Brook in Pepperell. Kate has 5 years of temperature data on the Nissitissit  River upstream and downstream of the site of the former Millie Turner dam. She is wrapping up her work on the Niss and offered to donate two of of her temperature loggers to the Squann-A-Tissit chapter if we would continue operating them into the futre so naturally we accepted ! Thank you Kate ! It will be interesting to see how temperatures from this compare to those in future years as we come out of the drought. Kate’s work on Sucker Brook continues, and she agreed to give a presentation on her work at a future chapter meeting. It was a striking morning to be out on the river !

The kayak is on the impoundment behind the Sucker Brook dam, and the other photos are on the Nissitissit downstream of Prescott Street.

Thats a bryozoa in the one photo. Interesting creatures !

The Chapter will be having a work Day at the Keyes dam on Sucker Brook on the Keyes Conservation property on Oak Hill Street in Pepperell on Saturday, October 24 (@0900) to remove downed trees and sticks from the dam. Come join us ! Many hands make for light work. The Mass Department of Ecological Restoration folks running the dam removal project will be there and can fill us in on the project and how the dam removal will benefit brook trout and mussels on Sucker Brook and the Nissitissit. This is a great opportunity for a chapter activity that we should be able to complete fine while maintaining social distance. We’ll need a few good hands, a chain saw or two and a prybar. Bring work gloves. a mask, and a cuppa coffee. See you there!

Dave Armstrong