The Catskill Fly Fishing
Center and Museum

This page was last updated on
August 14, 2003 2:54 PM

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River Types: Feeder Streams

Feeder Streams Gallery


Horse Brook
Trout Brook

Trout Brook gives up its cool waters to the Beaver Kill River just above the town of Peakville, New York. Numerous other small rivulets and brooks - Horse Brook (picture on the left), Russell Brook, and Horton Brook - also add their modest volumes of water to the main stem. In this way, much of the life in the river survives the killing heat of summer. While spring holes in the river itself also provide refuge from the often overly warm, low water of July and August, it is the small feeders that make the biggest difference to fish regarding their survival. Beginning high up in the surrounding mountains, nearly all brooks of the freestone variety are spring fed. Their water rises up to the surface under pressure where the aquifer exits from its underground strata. Feeders generally are crystal clear, cold, and quickly become oxygenated as they spill over their rock-filled beds. Their beds are shaded most of the day by a full tree canopy (see: June. The Alder Fork - A Fishing Idyl. Aldo Leopold. "A Sand County Almanac With Essays on Conservation." Oxford University Press, New York)

These trout habitats serve several additional important functions for the main river. They are a repository for macro-invertebrates. In addition, trout from the main stem spawn in their gravel beds in the fall and early winter months when water levels allow. Other fish life, such as minnow species provide additional food for foraging trout adventurous enough to wander up their pools and riffles. Lastly, during high water times in the summer, when, for instance, thunder storms deluge the area, feeder streams contribute much needed nutrients in the form of detritus (i.e., dead vegetation) into the menu of the macro invertebrates of the main river.

The Spring Hole
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