The Millers River here in Central MA is a fantastic fishery. Ok, ok... I guess it's west central MA... Regardless, it morphs from an amazing trout fishery in it's eastern most sections like the Bears Den in Royalston / Athol MA (pictured above) to an interesting bass (large and small mouth) and pike fishery with some good trout fishing mixed in from Athol to the dam in Orange, before steadily showing great "talent" as a trout/small mouth bass fishery from Orange to the CT river. In this section, you can get surprised. I've caught a lone Walleye (making the trip up from the CT river) here for example!
The Millers is stocked with Bow's and Browns... but the brown trout are more tollerant of the warm summer temps in the river, and can (do) hold over. There are some toad browns in this river. And though I dont know if it's considered official, there seems to be reproduction - becuase I dont believe the state stocks 4" brown trout par in the river - or some of it's cold water trib's... and those are not abnormal catches by area fishermen. This is a fun "big" river where you can swing big streamers, or nymps but also can fish #18 sulfer dry's and have a blast!
My favorite river is the one I grew up a mile from, the East Branch of the Swift River. It's a beautiful stream with healthy populations of native brookies from it's head waters - the confluence of Shattuck and Red Brook's in Phillipston/Petersham MA - to it's first dam. The section from that dam to the next has some native fish, but they are few and far between which is sad, and largely related to heavy fishing pressure. The last section from the second dam to the quabbin reservoir has a few natives, but they are rare. More impressive is that it will holdover a trout or two thanks to cold springs and tributaries. The heavy fishing pressure it recieves does it no favors as a year round fishery in it's lower sections, but the areas beauty, and, well, my personal history with the river and the woods and hills surrounding it will make it my favorite, and one I cant wait to share with my kids as they grow.
Sorry the pic didn't flip when I posted it. This is the kiddo and I during his final stem cell transplant a hair over a year ago. I'm wearing a gown and gloves to prevent the toxic chemo agents he'd recieved from leeching from his skin into mine, possibly causing me health issues - Thiotepa was the main drug that required us to "suit up". Stunk to have to hug your sick kiddo wearing chemical proof gear... But, he's still here and going strong -and he wouldnt be had he not recieved the treatment he did.
It doesn't feel real warm... and the 30 degree temps and 20-35mph winds outside my office right now affirm that feeling. But, you cant stop nature... so its only a matter of weeks now and the green up will be starting - about 4 weeks to be specific. And once that starts, little pools like the one above will start willingly sharing the native char that inhabit them, and the woods will be full of the sound of turkey's gobbling...
Spring is coming, it's time for Nature's New Year!