Sightings – Fish

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 7/21/14

Observation Time: 10:15 a.m.

Observation Location: Billings Brook below the Gavins Pond Dam

Common Name: American eel

Scientific Name:  Anguilla rostrata

Comments: American eels spawn in the Sargasso Sea in the Atlantic Ocean. The larval eels, called glass eels because they are transparent, drift with the Gulf Stream up the east coast. They eventually metmorphose into worm-sized black elvers, which swim up coastal rivers all along the east coast. This eel came into Narragansett Bay and swam up the Taunton River and then up Billings Brook to Sharon. Eels mature for several years in fresh water. When they reach three or four feet in length, they turn into silver eels and migrate all the way back to the Sargasso Sea, where they spawn and die.

Note the dead sunfish in the photo. Pumping of Well #5 and Well #7 along Billings Brook upstream of Gavins Pond to provide water for lawn irrigation reduced flow in Billings Brook so much that water stopped spilling out of Gavins Pond. With no flow, the water in the pool below the dam stagnated so there was not enough dissolved oxygen for fish to survive.

More Information: Wikipedia

Following is the story of how eels were blocked by dams from swimming up rivers such as the Rio Grande, but mysteriously reappeared in the Rio Grande in the early 1980s.

I was the one who put them there. I was the manager of a fish farm in Alamosa, CO from 1977 to 1980. We decided to try to grow eels and export them to Japan where they are considered a delicacy. I flew to North Carolina where I caught a bunch of elvers and brought them back to the fish farm in Alamosa. We tried to grow them but they escaped to the nearby Rio Grande.

Weisbart’s fish farm in Alamosa, Colorado

elvers imported to Alamosa from North Carolina in 1979

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 8/25/08

Observation Time: 10:00 a.m.

Observation Location: Beaver Brook near the outbound train station

Common Name: American eel

Scientific Name:  Anguilla rostrata

Comments: American eels spawn in the Sargasso Sea in the Atlantic Ocean. The larval eels, called glass eels because they are transparent, drift with the Gulf Stream up the east coast. They eventually metmorphose into worm-sized black elvers, which swim up coastal rivers all along the east coast. This eel came into Boston Harbor and swam up the Neponset River and then up Beaver Brook to Sharon. Eels mature for several years in fresh water. When they reach three or four feet in length, they turn into silver eels and migrate back to the Sargasso Sea, where they spawn and die.

More Information: Wikipedia

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 8/5/11

Observation Time: 6:40 p.m.

Observation Location: Gavins Pond

Common Name: Black Crappie (Calico Bass)

Scientific Name: Pomoxis nigromaculatus

Comments: Crappies are a popular sport fish, as they are easy to catch when they are feeding. As with other freshwater species in Massachusetts, crappies accumulate mercury in their tissues as a result of environmental pollution from power plants.

More Information: All About Fishing

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 6/4/10

Observation Time: 11:30 a.m.

Observation Location: Borderland State Park

Common Name: Bluegill Sunfish

Scientific Name: Lepomis macrochirus

Comments: This bluegill sunfish was guarding its eggs.

More Information: Wikipedia

Bluegill Sunfish

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 6/4/10

Observation Time: 11:45 a.m.

Observation Location: Gavins Pond

Common Name: Bluegill Sunfish

Scientific Name: Lepomis macrochirus

Comments: These sunfish were spawning on a sandy area near the shore.

More Information: Southshore Fishing

Bluegill Sunfish

 

Observer: Steven D’Addieco

Observation Date: 4/19/20

Observation Time: 7:15 p.m.

Observation Location: undisclosed location in Sharon

Common Name: Brook trout

Scientific Name: Salveninus Fontinalus

Comments: Pollution and dams have greatly reduced native brook trout populations in eastern Massachusetts. Brook trout are vulnerable to global warming because they cannot survive in warm water.

Please practice catch and release to help conserve these beautiful fish.

More Information: Massachusetts Wildlife

Observer: Steven D’Addieco

Observation Date: 6/6/15

Observation Time: N/A

Observation Location: Massapoag Brook

Common Name: Brown trout

Scientific Name: Salmo trutta

Comments: I caught and released this small brown trout in the late spring of 2015. Please practice catch and release to help conserve these beautiful fish.

More Information: Wikipedia

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 8/27/10

Observation Time: 3:45 p.m.

Observation Location: Beaver Brook near tennis courts

Common Name: Bullhead Catfish

Scientific Name: Ameiurus melas

Comments: I noticed a number of small black fish swimming near the dam, so I got a dipnet and caught this one (don’t worry, I released it alive!). It turned out to be a bullhead catfish. When the Department of Fish and Game sampled the fish in Beaver Brook on August 25, 2008 with electro-shocking equipment (which stuns fish but does not kill them) they found redfin pickerel, sunfish, bass and American eels, but they did not find bullhead catfish.

More Information: Wikipedia

Bullhead Catfish

Bullhead Catfish

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 7/11/15

Observation Time: 2:00 p.m.

Observation Location: Lake Massapoag

Common Name: Largemouth bass

Scientific Name: Micropterus salmoides

Comments: There are some big largemouth bass in Lake Massapoag, which also supports a population of smallmouth bass. Largemouth bass are also present in smaller ponds in Sharon but smallmouth bass require cool, clear water so they are found only in the spring-fed waters of Lake Massapoag.

More Information: American Expedition

Observer: Steven D’Addieco

Observation Date: 3/8/17

Observation Time: noon

Observation Location: Lake Massapoag

Common Name: Rainbow trout

Scientific Name: Oncorhynchus mykiss

Comments: I remember casting out into the shallow water until suddenly when I was reeling my line in I realized I had a fish on the line and reeled it in.
It turns out that I accidentally snagged this Rainbow Trout.

More Information: Trout Stocking Report

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 8/11/10

Observation Time: 8:00 a.m.

Observation Location: Gavins Pond outflow pool

Common Name: Redfin Pickerel

Scientific Name: Esox americanus americanus

Comments: Redfin pickerel only reach a maximum of about a foot in length. They are typically much smaller—this specimen was only about 4″ long. They are common in Sharon’s streams. Preys on invertibrates and smaller fish.

More Information: Wikipedia

Redfin Pickerel

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 6/10/15

Observation Time: 7:30 p.m.

Observation Location: Lake Massapoag

Common Name: White Perch

Scientific Name: Morone Americana

Comments: There are lots of white perch in Lake Massapoag. This one died and washed up on the shore.

More Information: MA Fish Finder

Observer: Steven D’Addieco

Observation Date: 8/15/21

Observation Time: 8:30 p.m.

Observation Location: Lake Massapoag

Common Name: White Perch

Scientific Name: Morone Americana

Comments: There are lots of white perch in Lake Massapoag. White perch are good to eat. White perch are not a true perch but, rather, belong to the bass family, Moronidae.

More Information: Wikipedia

Observer: Steven D’Addieco

Observation Date: 8/23/19

Observation Time: 6:00 p.m.

Observation Location: Lake Massapoag

Common Name: White Perch

Scientific Name: Morone Americana

Comments: There are lots of white perch in Lake Massapoag. White perch are good to eat. White perch are not a true perch but, rather, belong to the bass family, Moronidae.

More Information: Wikipedia

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 4/17/13

Observation Time: 12:40

Observation Location: Beaver Brook, Sharon (downstream of the wooden footbridge near the tennis courts at the outbound train station)

Common Name: White Sucker

Scientific Name: Catostomus commersoni

Comments: White suckers spawn in Beaver Brook for a few days in mid to late April. Remember to look for them after you file your taxes. Note the reddish stripes on the sides of the males flanking the female in the photo. The female and the males release their eggs and sperm simultaneously, thrashing their tails to mix them and ensure fertilization. White suckers also spawn in Sucker Brook where it enters Lake Massapoag near the entrance to the Community Center.

Check out this 2-minute video of white suckers spawning in Beaver Brook: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ru_KsfE4ZJQ

Observer: Richard Kramer

Observation Date: 4/19/13

Observation Time: 2:35 p.m.

Observation Location: Sucker Brook near the entrance to the Community Center

Common Name: White Sucker

Scientific Name: Catostomus commersoni

Comments: White suckers spawn in Sucker Brook for a few days in mid to late April. Remember to look for them after you file your taxes. The female and the males release their eggs and sperm simultaneously, thrashing their tails to mix them and ensure fertilization. White suckers also spawn in Beaver Brook just downstream of the wooden footbridge near the tennis courts at the outbound train station.

Check out this 2-minute video of white suckers spawning in Beaver Brook: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ru_KsfE4ZJQ

More Information: Massachusetts Wildlife

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 4/25/09

Observation time: 1:05 p.m.

Observation Location: Beaver Brook, Sharon (downstream of the wooden foot bridge near the tennis courts)

Common Name: White Sucker

Scientific Name: Catostomus commersoni

Comments: White suckers in spawning frenzy in Beaver Brook, 4/25/09. Note the red stripes and erect dorsal fins. Suckers typically spawn for a few days sometime between April 15 and April 30. They also spawn in Sucker Brook where it enters Lake Massapoag near the entrance to the Community Center.

2-minute video of white suckers spawning in Beaver Brook: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ru_KsfE4ZJQ

White Suckers