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According to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette:

‘Quinie’ dam may be falling

By Mary Anne Magiera

A dam blocking the spawning migration of landlocked salmon and trout from the Wachusett Reservoir into the Quinapoxet River in West Boylston may be coming down.

A spokeswoman for the state Department of Conservation and Recreation confirmed yesterday that the dam’s removal is being considered. A time line for the project has yet to be established.

“The dam doesn’t really serve a purpose; it doesn’t really do anything for the water supply,” said Wendy Fox, DCR press secretary.

The project is being considered, Fox said, “for the fish. The dam impedes their passage upstream.”

Long the subject of wishful thinking by fisherman and an intense lobbying effort by the Central Massachusetts Chapter of Trout Unlimited, the dam’s demise will be cheered.

The Quinapoxet — known affectionately as the “Quinie” by fishermen — was long thought to be mainly a spring fishing venue when it is heavily stocked with trout by the state.

However, survey boxes set up by TU showed that the river is heavily fished throughout the year, even at low water level times such as during the winter.

The Quinapoxet is an extremely popular trout-fishing venue with its boulder strewn runs, multiple deep pools, and shaded shoreline.

It is home to a nice population of native brook trout and holds over trophy brown and rainbow trout.

It is one of the most accessible rivers in the area, with more than a third of the land near the river protected open space.

A much-used section of the Central Mass. Rail Trail begins at the mouth of the river and extends for several miles into Holden along the river.

High numbers of landlocked salmon and trout each fall swim from the reservoir into the mouth of the Quinapoxet and Stillwater River following basic spawning instincts.

The fish are able to move further into the hospitable upper reaches of the Stillwater with ease, but sections of the Quinapoxet — considered by state biologists to be ideal spawning habitat — are blocked by the dam that dates back to the 1930s.

The Wachusett is home to the most southerly landlocked population of salmon in the country; the fishery is self-sustaining because of the ability of the salmon to spawn in the Stillwater.

“I’m not sorry that the thing will be gone,” said Gerry Blouin of Holden, who chaired a TU committee that secured a state pledge of $80,000 to build a fish ladder in 2002.

Less than $10,000 was spent for plans related to that project before a statewide rivers watershed initiative — the source of funds and enthusiasm for the fish passage — was dismantled in a major overhaul of agencies within the state Executive Office of Environmental Affairs and the project was shelved under former Gov. Mitt Romney’s administration. There is an existing stone fish ladder beside the dam, but it was built too far away from the river current and was not used by fish.

“Anytime you take a dam out, that’s not a bad thing,” Blouin said. “Everything fish need are in the river; you just need a little water in the river to have a first-class trout fishery.”

The Quinapoxet is home waters for the Worcester area TU chapter which includes more than 100 members.

They are part of a national, grassroots conservation organization based near Washington, D.C., that boasts 128,000 members and 500 chapters across the country. TU’s conservation agenda focuses on water quality, in-stream flows, Pacific and Atlantic salmon, and wild and native trout.

The Quinapoxet is part of the Nashua River watershed and part of the water system that supplies 2.5 million people in 43 communities in Central and Eastern Massachusetts with drinking water. The river is nearly 11 miles long and flows from its headwaters in Princeton through Rutland and Holden to the reservoir in West Boylston.

A dam in Holden impounds 1,100 million gallons of the river in the Quinapoxet Reservoir and is a drinking supply for Worcester. The city can divert up to 36 percent of the river water.

The outflow from the Holden dam is not adjustable, so the reservoir only supplies excess water into the river.

DCR owns and manages most of the property immediately surrounding the river.

At the mouth of the river, near the dam, there also is a pumping station and aqueduct with a discharge pipe that dumps water from the Quabbin Reservoir into the Wachusett.


Jay Fat City

Premium Member
1,383 Posts
i know some of are dams have built in steps on the side, or even a small stream that runs way around big obstructions, there is one here if you take the main river up you come to a wall of concrete blocks stacked up, i know trout can make it up this but there is a easy`r way if they turn up a small side stream half mile down stream they by pass this section and come out on the top of it... now that i found this spot ( a push point ) for salmon trout and striper, i will fish it more!
dams are a mix of good and bad thats for sure!
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