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March 28, 2017
 
Get ready for Opening Day, April 8th 

 Jacob Ayotte landed this 26 pound carp and then a 23.9 pound carp last Sunday night using a pineapple soluble bait.

 

 Silver Spring Lake in South County is a favorite spot for families fishing on Opening Day.

 

 

This 16 pound striped bass was caught by Capt. Rob Taylor's friend Matt (show in picture) just south for the Hurricane Barrier in the Providence River Basin.  "The herring were on the surface and the hold-over bass were feeding on them.", said Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle.

 

 

Get ready… Opening Day is Saturday, April 8th


Opening day of the freshwater fishing and trout season is Saturday, April 8th.  The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) plans to stock 80,000 trout into 100 Rhode Island waterways.  New this year, Carbuncle Pond in Coventry will be stocked with brown and rainbow trout. 

 

Lake Tiogue in Coventry will not be stocked this year due to low water issues, and St. Mary’s Pond in Portsmouth will not be stocked. Beginning next fall and into the future, large brown trout will be stocked at Carbuncle Pond in Coventry with the goal of developing this location into a brown trout angling destination.

 

On Saturday, April 8, a children’s fishing derby will be held at Pondarosa Park Pond in Little Compton.  And on Saturday and Sunday, April 8 and April 9, fishing in Cass Pond in Woonsocket, Slater Park Pond in Pawtucket, and Ponderosa Park Pond in Little Compton will be reserved for children 14 years and under. 

 

A current fishing license and a Trout Conservation Stamp are required to keep or possess a trout or to fish in a catch-and-release or 'fly-fishing only' area.  The daily creel and possession limit for trout is five from April 8, 2017 through November 30, 2017, and two from December 1, 2017 through February 28, 2018. 

 

Visit www.dem.ri.gov for licensing information, a list of waterways that will be stocked and regulations.

 

Saltwater fishing from shore

 

The more I learn about fishing, the more I realize that to be successful at it, you need to do your homework.  Monday night I was taught how to do my homework to be a successful shore fisherman by two local experts…Peter Jenkins, owner of the Saltwater Edge, Middletown and Capt. Chris Aubut of Aubut Rod Company. Peter is also the Lead Instructor at the Orvis Saltwater Fly Fishing School and an avid surfcaster and fly rod fisherman as the situation dictates

“What we look for from shore are edges.  What I mean by edges is the change between hi and low water, shadow lines of docks (and bridges) at night, edges of sand bars and banks, and edges of moving and standing water” said Peter Jenkins at the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association meeting to a group of about 180 anglers at the West Warwick Elks Lodge.

Most gamefish, like striped bass for example, set themselves up on edges or near edges to ambush and take advantage of prey (bait) that may be feeding or may be getting tossed or pushed along by moving water, currant and tide.

 

“You can learn a lot from the birds… like what type of bait might be in the water that the fish are feeding on.  If they are seagulls they can eat large baits, like herring and Atlantic menhaden, if small birds are on bait, such as terns you know they are after smaller bait possibly Bay anchovies as they could not lift large baits.  Knowing what bait is in the water helps you target fish with the correct lure." said Jenkins.

 

Another key tip is to remember that hard structure such as cliffs, rock formations and boulder fields hold bait such as cunner (choggies), black fish (tautog) and scup in the structure at both high and low tides.  So these areas can be fished anytime.

 

One last tip suggested by Jenkins and Aubut is check out the location you plan to fish during a moon low tide so you can see the contour, where the edges,  pools and sand bars are located.  “I surf and fish from shore but I got a whole different perspective of what was really under the water where I fish by putting a mask, snorkel and fins on and taking a dip to see what the bottom was like where I fish.  I quickly learned why this particular stop usually held fish.  The bottom was loaded with an active mussel bed that smaller fish and striped bass would feed on.” said Capt. Aubut.

 

Visit www.saltwateredge.com and www.aubutrods.com for additional information and fishing tips.

 

Pre-owned Hinckley Yachts can now be guaranteed

 

Hinckley Yachts of Portsmouth, RI introduced there first Certified Pre-Owned Program last week at an owners rendezvous in Key Largo, Florida.   I always stop by the Hinckleys at boat shows as they are the gold standard of luxury yachts.

 

The new program offers buyers of previously owned Hinckley Yachts a Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) program that includes extended warranties and the assurance that their purchase bas been factory maintained.

 

Peter O’Connell, Hinckley CEO said, "Many Hinckleys that reach the used boat market have not only been built by Hinckley, but they have been maintained throughout their life by our own staff. We know these boats, we know that they've been properly serviced, we represent them in the marketplace, so our confidence in them is very high."

 

To qualify for CPO status a Hinckley must have been serviced in the company’s seven service operations, or in a yard authorized to service Hinckley products.  Boats then undergo inspection and must be listed for sale with a Hinckley-owned sales office.  There is no program cost to the sellers or buyers.

 

The first pre-owned Hinckleys are expected to be available this month.  For information visit www.hinckleyyachts.com.

 

Where’s the bite

Striped bass.  “Fishing was off a couple of weeks ago when the water cooled but in February and January we had some good striped bass hold over fishing in the Providence River.  One of my customers fishes the Providence River and has caught 40 to 50 school striped bass this winter.” said John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside.  Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence said, “Capt. Rob Taylor and his friend Matt targeted striped bass one warm night earlier this week in the Providence River Basin.  The herring were active and so were the striped bass.  They landed a 34”, 16 pound striped bass along with a number of fish in the 26” to 31” range.”

Freshwater fishing.  Carp fishing continues to remain strong and with the start of spring carp fishing is getting better.  Jacob Ayotte landed a 26 pound carp in a Rhode Island pond using pop-up baits and then he landed a second 23.9 pound fish. He is a carp expert who caught three 30 pound fish last year and is scheduled to start working at Ocean State Tackle next week as our in-house carp expert.” said Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle.  Ayotte said, “Very special fish for me last evening (Sunday) maybe my most significant of the season. I have been home rolling boilies (boiled paste fishing balls) all winter and started baiting them a week and a half ago but the weather has not been cooperating. I had been sticking with a pop-up over the bed (of leaves) as I felt it was my best bet for a bite, however, this weekend showed some more mild weather with light rain. I decided now was a good time to give them a go.  Just under two hours in on my second short session using a pineapple soluble my right rod was off and I landed a beautiful 23 pound, 9 once fish.  Very, very happy with this one!”  

“With no ice to speak of in January and February we have had very little ice fishing.” said Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick. John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait said, “We had some customers ice fish in Rhode Island early in March as the water was colder then than in winter, but it is all over now. We did have a couple of anglers see DEM stocking area ponds with trout for Opening Day, April 8th, but nothing at Willett Avenue Pond in Riverside yet.”

 

Cod fishing. Make sure vessels are fishing the day you want to go.  Dianne Valerien of the Seven B’s party boat said, “Cod fishing this week as been spotty.”  Party boats sailing for cod fish at this time include the Frances Fleet at www.francesfleet.com , the Seven B’s (with Capt. Andy Dangelo at the helm) at www.sevenbs.com, and the Island Current at www.islandcurrent.com .


March 20, 2017

Budget cuts would harm fishing and fishing communities

 

President Trump’s 2018 proposed budget cuts for climate change initiatives has the scientific community alarmed and will harm the fish and the fishing community here in Rhode Island.

 

Brad Plumer on Vox.com said: “What’s clear is that Trump wants the US government to pull back sharply from any effort to stop global warming, adapt to its impacts — or even study it further. That includes eliminating much of the work the Environmental Protection Agency is doing to research climate impacts and limit emissions.”

 

“It includes scaling back the Department of Energy’s efforts to accelerate low-carbon energy. It also includes cuts to NASA’s Earth-monitoring programs. The proposal would also eliminate the Sea Grant program at NOAA, which helps coastal communities adapt to a warmer world.” said Plumer.

The President’s budget outline mainly offers top-line budget parameters for agencies with little detail. A detailed budget will be offered by the White House in May on how it would like to fund and/or cut programs.  The Congress then votes on proposals approving or rejecting them.

 

All of this is very concerning as fisheries management relies heavily on science and research for data collection, understanding the impact of climate change on fish and ecosystems and much more.

In recent years we have had warm water fish such as black sea bass and summer flounder move up the east coast, and we have seen cold water fish such as cod and haddock leave the area. This type of fish movement is important to study and it directly related to climate change, changing ecosystems and warming water.

 

Here are some budget cut highlights that impact the fish, fishing communities, ecosystem-based management and climate change work.

 

First NOAA’s Sea Grant program, used by 33 states to provide grants to help coastal communities deal with the challenges of climate change, would be eliminated. This is not a budget reduction but a federal budget elimination.

 

“Including Sea Grant, Trump’s budget would eliminate $250 million in NOAA programs for coastal management,” said Plumer.

 

In Rhode Island, like many other states, the Sea Grant Program is a federal-state-university partnership.  The program, which is based at the University of Rhode Island was one of the first Sea Grant Programs in the country formed by legislation sponsored by Senator Claiborne Pell.  Rhode Island Sea Grant designs and supports research, outreach and education programs that foster coastal and marine stewardship.

 

For example, Rhode Island Sea Grant programs have helped to expand aquaculture in the state, mitigate beach erosion through use of offshore deposits, and address Rhode Island Marine Trades industry workforce skill gaps. Sea Grant studies have also explored the social impacts of ocean wind farms with the aim of encouraging ocean wind farm development on the east coast.

 

For the next two years, Rhode Island Sea Grant planned to improve understanding of shellfish (bivalve and gastropod) stock assessments and population dynamics with a focus on resource management implications.  Additional plans called for studying the impacts of climate change on finfish and shellfish population dynamics in Rhode Island waters, with emphasis on Narragansett Bay species and fisheries. 

 

Last week Alex Kuffner of the Providence Journal reported that in addition to Sea Grant, the Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) in Rhode Island would get a 60% budget cut from Trump.   Kuffner said, “(CRMC) regulates all coastal development in the state, including homes, marinas and seawalls, and also collaborates on projects to restore habitats, such as the recent raising of a salt marsh along Ninigret Pond threatened by rising.” 

 

In addition to eliminating the Sea Grant program and much of the funds going to CRMC, Trump’s budget includes a 31 percent cut to the EPA’s budget, from $8.2 billion to $5.7 billion.  This includes zeroing out funds for many climate programs, including the agency’s work to monitor and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as its Energy Star program, the voluntary program that helps companies produce energy efficient products. 

 

In the Department of Energy, Trump plans to impose a 17.9 percent cut, about $2 billion, from core energy and science programs intended to accelerate the transition to new (and cleaner) energy technologies. The Paris Agreement on climate change sets aside funding to help poor countries adapt to climate change and supports a host of other clean energy/climate change initiatives.

 

As members of the fishing community, we need to help communicate these proposed cuts to others and share how they will impact the fish and fishing.  We need research-based fisheries management programs that consider climate change and its impact on the fish and fish movement so we can grow fish populations to abundance.

 

The Trump-proposed cuts to NOAA and climate change programs will greatly harm the long-term health of fisheries and fishing communities.

Fly fishing the cinder worm hatch

The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in partnership with RI Department of Environmental Management (DEM), announced its annual Cinder Worm Workshop.  This is the program’s eighth year and it will include two weekday evening classes in fly tying instruction and one weekend evening of fly fishing. The program is free to registrants.

 

The course syllabus includes practical rigging and fly casting instruction for the novice on the day of fishing. .  “We would like to have everyone attend both workshops,” said David Pollack, one of the organizers of the program, “but you also have the option to pick just one.”  Introduction to practical rigging and casting instruction will be covered for those that need additional assistance.  Fly fishers will then fish the coves of Grassy Point area of Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge. 

 

The program is open to any adult or accompanied child over the age of 10, regardless of skill level--40 person maximum so register early.  Instruction and guidance will be provided by some of the area’s most proficient and knowledgeable worm fishermen.   Also this year is the opportunity for kayak fishing - limited to experienced kayakers who have their own vessel. Proper safety equipment is required plus lights for navigation. 

 

All fly tying materials will be provided.  Participants are encouraged to bring their own tools and equipment, but all necessary fly tying tools and equipment will be loaned to registrants upon request. Saltwater fly fishing equipment will be loaned to registrants.

 

The Fly Tying classes will be held Tuesday, May 2rd and May 9th. 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the

Kettle Pond Visitor Center, Charlestown, RI.  The Fly Fishing portion of the program will take place Saturday, May 13th, 4:00 p.m. until dark at Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge, Charlestown, RI.

 

Capt. Ray Stachelek and Dave Pollack, fly fishing experts and USFWS volunteers will facilitate the program. For information or to register contact Scott Travers at sott.travers@dem.ri.gov .

 

Narragansett Trout Unlimited to meet March 29th

 

The Narragansett Chapter of Trout Unlimited (TU225) will host its monthly membership meeting on Wednesday, March 29th, 6:30 PM at the Coventry / West Greenwich Elks Lodge, 42 Nooseneck Hill Road (Rte. 3, Exit 6 off of Rte. 95), West Greenwich, R.I.

 

The brief membership meeting will discuss the Chapter’s annual banquet and upcoming educational events, projects, and activities that the chapter will be involved in during the year. After the short meeting, the chapter will welcome Seth Boynick.  Seth is the proprietor of The Farmington River Trading Company at www.farmingtonrivertradingcompany.com .  The topic of his presentation will be “Drift Boat Fly Fishing on the Farmington and More!!” 

For additional information contact chapter president Glenn Place at 1-401 225-7712 or  TU225President@gmail.com . 

 

DEM holds free fly-tying workshops

 

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) will hold a series of free fly-tying workshops that began this week at public libraries in Middletown, Little Compton and Portsmouth.

 

The classes, designed for beginning and intermediate fly-tiers ages 10 and older, will cover techniques for both freshwater and saltwater fishing and will culminate in fishing events to be scheduled this spring.

 

Scheduled events include: Freshwater Fly-tying at the Middletown Public Library, 700 West Main Road, Middletown on March 20, 27 & April 3, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. and at the Portsmouth Free Public Library, 2658 East Main Road, Portsmouth, March 23, 30 & April 6, 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.  Saltwater Fly-tying will be held at the Brownell Library, 44 Commons, Little Compton, March 22, 29 & April 5 , 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

 

 

Classes are taught by experienced anglers from DEM’s Aquatic Resource Education program. All equipment and materials will be provided; however, participants are welcome to bring their own materials if desired. Space is limited and registration is required. To register, contact Scott Travers via email at Scott.travers@dem.ri.gov.0, 2017

 

 

 

 


March 17, 2016

Fishing show big success

 

Grainger Pottery makes realistic ceramic fish:  Caroline and Lauren Grainger of Grainger Pottery, East Sandwich, MA delighted attendees at the New England Saltwater Fishing Show.  Their ceramic fish are made to size, molded from real fish from our area.
 
 
Fishing show bit success
 
The New England Saltwater Fishing Show was a big success this weekend. Steve Medeiros, president of the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (www.risaa.org) said, “We had a line of 600 people waiting to get in Friday that stretched from the ticket office at the Convention Center all the way to the hotel.”  And, on Sunday morning at 11:00 a.m. (an hour after the show started) the line I saw had about 400 people in it.
 
Medeiros said, “We sold out booth space (over 300 exhibitors) a month before the show and we won’t know formal attendance numbers until we get a report from the Convention Center but it is sure to be record breaking.”  More than 15,000 people have attended the show in the past.
Here are a few exhibits that caught my attention at the show.
 
Matt Bosgraaf, manager of The Kayak Centre of Rhode Island,Wickford, RI said, “After taking  a few years off we returned to the show and are glad we did.” Half way through the show on Saturday the Kayak Centre had already sold four boats. “And, you never know who is going to walk through the door in the next month or two and say ‘Hey we saw you at the Fishing Show and want to buy a Kayak’. That’s the way it works.” said Bosgraaf. 
 
Kayaks and paddle boards are one the fastest growing segments of boating with peddle kayaks being the craze and boats being tripped-out with fish finders, electric motors and much more. 
 
Sunday Kayak Centre owner Jeff Shapiro said, “To gain more awareness and walk in traffic the Kayak center plans to open at a new location this summer in the old Ryan’s Market on Brown Street in Wickford.”  The Centre still plans to launch boats on Wickford Cove but the new location should generate additional exposure (they also have a summer location in Charlestown, RI).  The Centre offers kayak lessons, paddle board and kayak boat rentals and sales with such brands as Feel Free, Old Town, Wilderness and Native Watercraft.  They also sell gear and wear for kayakers including lines such as Patagonia and offer fishing seminars and events through their partner Ocean State Kayak Fishing.  Visit the Kayak Center at www.kayakcentre.com . 
 
Grainer Pottery of East Sandwich, MA creates hand-made ceramic fish.  “We make over 100 different species of realistic ceramic fish, made to hang on the inside of a home as wall décor.  Owners Caroline and Lauren Grainger said, “Our products have a lifelike feel because we make plaster molds from real fish and hand-press clay into the molds.  We make realistic ceramic fish of all major New England species plus a variety of southern, tropical and freshwater fish.  Visit www.graingerpotterysandwich.com
 
Bill Hurley Lures are custom made with lots of sand eel oil. “Traffic at the show has been great.  I almost wish we sold the lures at the booth but we distribute them through bait & tackle shops such as Goose Hummock Shop, Fisherman’s Line and Falmouth Bait & Tackle who are at the show. The soft plastic lures are designed to mimic sand eels and are made with pure sand eel oil that is injected into the plastic and then the inside of the bag and lure are coated with sand eel oil when packaged.” Adults and children attending the show were mesmerized by Bill’s fish tank display of the lures working in the tank under simulated current conditions.  The lures danced in the tank as water and pushed past them.  The lure features Mustad jig hooks that are guaranteed not to fail when fishing for striped bass.  Hurley Lures’ new lure called a Canal Deep Water swim bait is designed to mimic a herring, Atlantic menhaden and/or a sand eel.  It will soon be available in 6, 5 or 3.6 once sizes.  Visit www.codandstriperlures.com .
 
Cheeky makes both fly fishing and spinning reels in bright green and blue colors.  This Arlington, MA Company has been designing and building reels for six years and were one of the first manufactures to use bright colors to construct reels.  Ted Upton, CEO of Cheeky said, “Our multi-disc drag system is one of the most distinguishing features of our spinning reels. Our SaltForce aluminum frame and body and machined carbon spin spool keeps the reels strong and light weight.”  The CYDRO line was on sale at the show for $100 (normally $129).  It is available in 3500, 4500 and 5500 model sizes all at the same price.  Upton said, “We are happy at how the reels did at the show and what was surprising was that we had just as much interest in our fly fishing reels as we had with our spinning reels.”  Visit www.cheekyfishing.com.
 
Harbor Light Software cofounder Fran Karp said, “Knowledge is power and having good, accurate, real-time data collecting of fishing data for fisheries management is what Harbor Light Software delivers to fishermen and fish mangers.  This show allows us to share with recreational anglers the software we have developed and are implementing on the east coast for the commercial and for-hire charter boat industry.  Many of these same initiatives could be adopted to work for recreational fishing.” 
 
The advantage of collecting accurate data is that fishery biomass, catch and effort are more accurately estimated.  If we have better data fisheries are managed more effectively so we can grow them to abundance so there are more fish for all to catch.
 
The company’s FishNET software is its first application to collect real time catch, effort and biological data electronically.  Today the software is accepted by NOAA in select areas as the software of choice to speak directly to the ACCSP data warehouse offering commercial fisherman and charter boats the opportunity to file their Vessel Trip Reports (VTRs) electronically saving hours of paperwork and providing fish mangers with more accurate data.  Visit www.harborlightsoftware.com .
 

 

Dave Morton of Beavertail Rod & Reel said, “We are now getting into repairing kayak peddle systems too.”  The North Kingstown company does reel cleaning as well as rod and reel repair.  They take apart reels, clean all pierces and then reassemble the reels.  Morton said, “We can modify and customize reels for anglers of all types including people with disabilities enabling them to fish or fish more effectively.”  The company replaces guides and tips on reels too and can be found at www.beavertailrodandreel.com

May 6, 2016

New striped bass and back sea bass regulations, 11.2 pound record largemouth

Night catch: Brandon Migliore and his 11.2 pound largemouth bass.  If the state certifies the catch it will be a new Rhode Island record.

All smiles: Brandon Migliore with his 11.2 pound record largemouth bass as his friend and fishing partner Matthew Sheldon looks on.

Capt. BJ Silvia with an 11.5 pound tautog caught Sunday.

 

New regulations for striped bass and black sea bass

On Tuesday the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) enacted a new regulation to help prevent the illegal harvest and sale of Atlantic striped bass.  The new rule requires recreational anglers to clip the right pectoral fin of striped bass 34 inches or larger at the time of harvest.

The new regulation was adopted with considerable public input to help prevent “stockpiling” – which occurs when fish are harvested on a day closed to commercial fishing and then offered for sale on an open day; they also address fish being illegally transported and sold in neighboring states.

“Our local harvest supports the health of our families, economy and way of life.  And protecting the viability of our stock and ensuring fish are legally harvested and sold are responsibilities we take very seriously.  These new regulations are critical to supporting the continued vibrancy of the striped bass fishery, and I thank the Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Council for its leadership in engaging the public around this important topic and working to protect our state’s marine resources.” said DEM Director Janet Coit.

Black sea bass

Many recreational anglers are not happy with black sea bass total allowable catch limits, however, many are praising what will likely be the new recreational regulation here in RI this year.  The minimum size will now be 15” with a three fish/person/day limit between June 15 and August 31, and a seven fish/person/day catch limit between September 1 and December 31. 

Both the Rhode Island Party & Charter Boat Association and the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association agreed on this option at the last public hearing and it was recommended by the RI Marine Fisheries Council at their last meeting.

“I knew if I let up the fish would be gone”

“This bass hit when I had about 75% of my cast retrieved.  I waited a bit before setting the hook as I have been setting it too early.  I waited until I felt the weight, the rod bend and then set the hook.  I just kept the pressure on the fish because I knew that if I let up the fish would be gone. It took about two minutes to land.” said Brandon Migliore of Sterling, CT (formerly of Coventry) about the record 11.2 pound largemouth bass he caught this weekend at Johnson’s Pond, Rhode Island.

Migliore said, “My fishing partner and friend Mathew Sheldon and I have been fishing this area for over fifteen years in hunt for a record breaking largemouth… week after week, month after month, year after year.  It’s hard to believe we did it.  I give a lot of credit to Mathew; he is a great fisherman and has taught me a lot.  Just minutes before I landed this fish, Mathew caught an eight pound largemouth.  And, when my fish came close to shore the rod was bend in half, Mathew was on his toes and rushed to lip the fish.”

Brandon was using 30 pound braid line and a St. Croix fishing rod. Dave Mooney of Sandy Bottom Bait & Tackle, Coventry where Migliore weighed in his fish said Sunday, “The fish just left here.  We had kept it alive for a while in our tank and then it just rolled on its side and gave up.  Brandon was using a Magnum Jitterbug top water lure he bought here.”

The 11.2 pound largemouth bass will be a new state record if the catch is certified and approved by the Department of Environmental Management (DEM).  The 10.6 pound largemouth bass holding the record was caught in 1991 at Carbuncle Pond.

Where’s the bite

“Striped bass are everywhere.  Customers are catching school size bass in Warren, Providence, Barrington and Jamestown, all over the Bay.  The largest fish so far has been 32.” said Manny Macedo of Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren.  Maridee Bait & Canvas of Narragansett reports that all the action this week has been at the West Wall (South Kingstown) for school striped bass and they have started to catch a few keepers. Noted local shore angler Steve McKenna said, “The striped bass bite is very, very good. I have been fishing in Narragansett and there are a lot of school bass around.  This is encouraging.” John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside, said, “We weighed in a 32”, 34” and a 37” striped bass this weekend.  All were caught at Sabin Point, East Providence with anglers using menhaden chunks or clam worms.  Customer Albert Bettencourt said he has been catching 20 to 27 inch fish at the Squantum Club, East Providence and all around the upper portion of the Bay.”  Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor Marina, South Kingstown said, “The school bass are getting larger, almost keeper size (28”), and they are everywhere Matunuck, the Charlestown Breachway, the West Wall… everywhere.”

Freshwater fishing this week was topped-off with Brandon Migliore’s record 11.2 pound largemouth bass caught at Johnson’s Pond. Manny Macedo of Lucky Bait said, “The trout bite has been very, very good with night crawlers now the bait of choice.  Anglers are catching fish at Melville Pond and Olney Pond, Lincoln Woods.” “Freshwater anglers are targeting bass and trout.  I have sold about 20 dozen shiners toady and it’s only 10:30 a.m.” said John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle.

Tautog fishing is just starting to heat up with anglers catching shorts with some keepers mixed in.  No major reports of people limiting out with their three fish, however, keeper fish are being caught.  Many Macedo of Lucky Bait said, “It’s rocks and docks for tautog and customers are catching them at the Stone Bridge, Tiverton and Ohio Ledge in the East Passage of the Bay.  Anglers are using worms, Asian and green crabs with some old timers using quahogs with success.”  Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor Marina said, “The commercial rod and reel fishermen are limiting out on tautog (ten fish) fishing in shallow water along the southern coastal shore using green crabs.” Capt. BJ Silvia of Flippin’ Out Charters landed an 11.5 pound tautog Sunday and said, “I let her go so you can catch her when she is 15 pounds.” “It’s hit or miss with tautog. One day the bite was good at Conimicut Light and the next the bite was off.  They were catching a lot of small fish at the Wharf Tavern, Warren but they were at 6 to 8 inches.” said Littlefield of Archie’s Bait. 

Cod fishing was off this week compared to others.  Capt. Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet, Narragansett said, “Cod fish were moving around an awful lot and they are scattered into smaller groups now that spawning is over. Each trip this week produced some fish but there was no sustained bite. Still it has been several years since we consistently caught cod fish all through the month of April.  There were a handful of the cod that came over the rails that tipped the scales in the mid to upper teens this week.”

 


May 5, 2016

Capt. Blount, servant to fish and fishermen

Capt. Frank Blount at a New England Fishery Management Council meeting. His term expires this year. Photo courtesy of Fishermen’s Voice.

Jim Stevens and Kevin Fetzer used light tackle to catch a dozen cod at the East Grounds this fall.

28 pound cod landed on the Frances Fleet this past weekend.

 

Capt. Blount… servant to fish and fishermen

Capt. Frank Blount, owner of the Frances Fleet, Narragansett, will be leaving the New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC) this year after multiple terms of service as a councilperson. 

John Bullard, chief administrator of NOAA’s Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, said, “Frank has chaired the Ground Fish committee for years.  It’s a committee that has seen a lot of controversy due to the poor status of ground fish (particularly cod fish) in New England and Frank has done an outstanding job.  He will be missed.”

At last week’s NEFMC meeting in Mystic, CT Capt. Blount made a motion that was approved  by the council.  The motion was toMove to request that the NEFMC ask the National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) to provide information on the level of compliance with ground fish catch reporting by reconciling Vessel Trip Reports (VTRs) vs. SAFIS (fish dealer) reports.”  In other words does harvester and dealer reports match, if they do not match there is non-compliance and there may be something afoot.

The VTR and SAFIS reports were established as a check and balance to make sure fish processors and fishermen are reporting landings factually.  I heard Frank make the motion and was overcome with a sense of pride to have such a great fisherman from Rhode Island represent us on the Council..

Capt. Blount has also been an advocate for fishermen on the subject of cod fish being caught in local waters.  He has claimed that VTR logbook data from fishermen indicates that there are far more cod fish in the waters south of Massachusetts compared to the official stock assessments coming from the National Marine Fisheries Service.  Recent recreational fishing activity and data reports off Rhode Island over the past two years seem support this position.

Congratulations Frank! You have done a great job serving Rhode Island, New England and the fish working on the New England Council.

Cod fishing tips from the pros

“A couple of years ago we wouldn’t be having this seminar on small boat cod fishing close to shore because there were no cod.” said Capt. BJ Silvia  of Flippin’ Out Charters at a RI Saltwater Anglers Association seminar he and fishing partner Greg Vespe gave Monday night. 

The commercial cod fishery in New England has suffered major blows with recreational fishing north of Rhode Island being off too.  In fact for a couple of years you could not take any cod from the Gulf of Maine, and this year recreational anglers are allowed to take one fish.

However, in Rhode Island we have quite a different story (10 fish/person/day with a 22” minimum size) with anglers catching multiple cod while tautog fishing this fall with some early reports that cod fish are mixed in with the tautog this spring too.

The fall bite was so good that some were targeting cod close to shore off Newport and very close to Block Island at the East Fishing Grounds in addition to fishing in and around Cox’s Ledge.  By no means do we have a robust recreational cod fishery, however, it does seem to be rebuilding here off Rhode Island.

Some cod fishing tips from Capt. Silvia and Greg Vespe:

Cod fish for the past couple of years have been small, so no need for heavy rigs, Capt. Silvia said, “For cod, we have been using the rigs we use to fish for summer flounder.”

To avoid tangles and absorb shock when using braid line Greg Vespe suggests using a 20 foot, 50 pound monofilament leader.

Avoid dog fish (sand sharks) by moving, sometimes just a bit further up on a ledge or a different spot entirely and switch to jigs rather than using bait.

Bring plenty of bait sea clams, crabs as well as squid so you can take advantage of scup, black sea bass, cod and tautog that may be in the area. “We have been on top of some huge black sea bass when fishing for tautog or cod but the bite only picks up when we put on some squid.” said Silvia.

Target structure… ledges, mussel beds etc., however some of our best cod fishing has occurred where dolphins and whales are feeding.

 

Where’s the bite

Cod fishingis down from what it was a month ago but some boats are still fishing and doing OK.  Cod fishing usually declines in April, some years very little fishing occurs in April.  However, last week some larger fish were taken.  Capt. Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet said, “This weekend we boated a 28 pound cod and the top angler took home a total of eight cod.  Other days this past week were good too.”

Striped bass fishing is exploding. “Customers are catching fish in the 30” to 40” range this week.  It started last Thursday when a large amount of Atlantic menhaden arrived in the Pawcatuck River. Anglers are live lining and using chucked Atlantic menhaden as bait along with eels.” said Mike Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters, Westerly.  Noted striper fly fisherman Ed Lombardo said, “We got into stripers last Thursday at Narrow River. The school of bass where small but still a lot of fun and so nice to feel that strike after a long winter! The tide was outgoing and at 5:30 p.m. and then changed to incoming. Small white over purple flies and all pink tide with craft fur worked well, size 1/0 .”  Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick said, “School size bass are being caught in Greenwich Bay and in our coves. “  “We have a huge volume (1,000 of fish) of small school size striped bass in the six to twelve inch range at the Hurricane Barrier in the Providence River this week.  One of my employees caught two 20 inch fish there this week. I predict we will have keepers in the Bay next week.” said Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence.

Tautog fishing really has not picked up in Rhode Island yet.  The spring season started April 15th with a 3 fish/person/day, 10 fish per boat limit. Mike Wade of Watch Hill said, “This weekend a fifteen pound tautog was weighed in at River End in Old Saybrook, CT.  And actually that is where the fish are being caught.  Rhode Island waters are still just a little cold for the tautog but in Connecticut it is a bit warmer and the tautog bite is strong.”  Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait said, “Ken Landry gave tautog fishing a shot off Narragansett Saturday and did pretty good and then fished for school striped bass in the Bay on the way back. They caught keeper cod while targeting tautog.”

“The squid are in and a customer caught fifteen pounds of squid this past weekend.”, said Dave Henault of Ocean Stare Tackle.  Newport, Jamestown and the Sakonnet area all had large amounts of squid this weekend.”

Freshwaterfishing is excellent.  Rhode Island DEM has restocked trout a second time in some locations.  For a list of stocked and restocked water ways visit www.dem.ri.gov .  “The State of RI did an outstanding job stocking ponds this year as all fishermen seem to be very happy. We have some customers that have been fishing Carolina Trout Pond and have done well.  Anglers are starting to switch from hatchery bait types to natural baits such as night crawlers and spinner baits.” said Mike Wade of Watch Hill. Trout is not the only freshwater fish biting… “I have already weighed in more five plus pound bass than I did all of last year.” said Dave Henault of Ocean State.

 


April 25, 2016

 

Nu-2-U Tackle Sale

Snug Harbor Marina, South Kingstown, will hold its annual Nu-2-U used tackle sale event on April 30 and May 1. Rods, reels, combos, gaffs and lures are just some of the equipment you are likely to find at the Sale.  Sell or buy used gear or update your tackle with new equipment.  Elisa Cahill of Sung Harbor said, “It’s a great opportunity to sell items and upgrade to some new technology. The way the sale works is that if you sell your used tackle at our Sale you give us a 20% commission, or you can use 100% of the sale price towards new equipment you buy from us.”  For information call 401.783.7766.  Snug Harbor Marina is at 410 Gooseberry Road, South Kingstown.

Learn how to catch close-to-home cod

Learn about tactics, tackle, bait and strategies to catch close-to-home cod form bottom fishing experts Capt. B.J. Silvia of Flippin’ Out Charters and his fishing partner Greg Vespe at a RI Saltwater Anglers Association meeting Monday, April 25, 7:00 p.m. at the West Valley Inn, West Warwick.  Cod fishing was good this past year and is still fairly strong so now is the time to learn how to catch these great eating fish close-to-home. Everyone is welcome, non-members are requested to make a $10 donation to the RISAA Scholarship Fund, and members attend free.  Optional dinner supplied by the West Valley Inn starting at 5:30 p.m.

Narragansett Trout Unlimited meets April 27

The Narragansett Chapter of Trout Unlimited (TU225) will meet Wednesday, April 27, 6:30 p.m., at the Coventry/West Greenwich Elks Lodge, 42 Nooseneck Hill Road (Rte. 3, Exit 6 off of Rte. 95), West Greenwich. The primary focus of this meeting will be a presentation by The Mayforth Group, a Government Relations and Advocacy firm located in Providence, RI.  This Group is part of a coalition named The Herring Alliance (http://www.herringalliance.org/ ), an organization committed to promoting an "ecosystem-based" fisheries management policy within the region.  Their primary concern is the chronic overfishing of the forage fish that has led to the populations of river herring/shad to drop to dangerous levels. The Group and Alliance’s focus is to protect and restore the forage fish in our waterways. Contact Chapter president Ron Marafioti at (401) 463-6162 with any questions.

DEM holds fly fishing workshops

Registration is now open for fly fishing workshops being sponsored by the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and their partners. 

April 23: Kids' Fly Fishing Event, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., Burrillville.  Hosted by DEM, Trout Unlimited, and United Fly Tyers to provide hands-on, fly-fish instruction to children 8 years and older. The program focuses on equipment needs, fly-tying, fly-casting, and fishing safety. Lunch and equipment provided. A parent or guardian must be present at all times.

June 4: Fly-Fishing Express, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., Newport.  Experienced anglers have an opportunity to access remote fishing areas along Aquidneck Island using the historic Old Colony Train. Instructors will be available to help fine-tune participants' fly-fishing skills. Lunch and equipment provided. Fee: $15.00.

June 25: Introduction to Freshwater-Fly Fishing, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., Burrillville.  Families with children 10 years and older learn about fly-fishing equipment, fly-tying, fly-casting, and the best fishing areas across Rhode Island during this six-hour workshop. Lunch and equipment provided. Fee: $15.00 per person.

July 9: Women’s Fly Fishing Workshop, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., Carolina.  DEM, Wood River Fly Fishing, and Narragansett Trout Unlimited host a fly- fishing workshop for women only. The program will focus on equipment, fly-tying, fly-casting, and highlight fishing areas across Rhode Island. Lunch and equipment provided.

DEM also offers group fishing training at a pond in Richmond. The training pond welcomes school, scout, senior, and youth groups to learn to fish in a safe, wheelchair-accessible area. Bait, rods, tackle and training are provided. Reservations are required, and there is no cost to participate.

To register for contact Kimberly Sullivan at 401.539.0019 or email Kimberly.sullivan@dem.ri.gov.

 

Top fisheries manager has made NOAA more transparent

When I first met Eileen Sobeck in 2014 she was just appointed NOAA’s assistant administrator for fisheries. Ms. Sobeck is our nation’s top fish manager. Last week we met a second time, as she presented on major NOAA initiatives moving forward.

Sobeck said, “Fishing in this country is a $2-billion dollar industry.  We will be celebration this during National Seafood Week in October… our aim is to help connect the next generation to fishing.” 

Ms. Sobeck oversees the management and conservation of marine fisheries including scientific research, fisheries management, law enforcement and habitat conservation as well as the protection of marine mammals and sea turtles. Over the past two years she has made NOAA fisheries more transparent, has provided recreational fishing with a greater voice in how fisheries are managed (although some believe it needs even a greater voice) and has done a good job upholding the fishing law of this nation (the Magnuson-Stevens Act). 

In brief here are seven key NOAA initiatives assistant administrator Eileen Sobeck laid out in her presentation last week.

Electronic monitoring is seen as a way to defray the cost of vessel observers and to keep the benefits of monitoring without the high cost and sometimes intrusive presence of monitors.

Reduce bycatch (the unintended fish caught when targeting other species).  Bycatch is a major resource drain.  A bycatch initiative is in place that considers gear, fishing location and a host of other variables.

Climate change and its effect on fisheries is a key focus, particularly how to use limited research funds and examine how climate change is impacting us.  An approach was proposed by NOAA last year.

Eco-system based management.  NOAA has proposed a policy and is finalizing it with public input.  The new policy will clarify the agency’s direction, focus and priorities for managing fisheries in an increasingly complex and changing environment.  The plan is to build upon successes in other regions.

Ecological forecasting of major environmental events (like El nino) and climate change.

Aquaculture.  How to grow this third largest fishery and successfully manage U.S. and imported seafood.

National global knowledge share.  Help the world enhance their fisheries.

 

Where’s the bite

Fresh water fishing remains strong. “The freshwater bass fishing is the best it has been in recent years. And, the trout bite has been remarkable because there was no ice fishing this year so all the trout stocked in the fall where still in the water plus the spring stocking.” said Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence.  John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside said, “The Brickyard in Barrington has been very slow, other ponds like Willet Avenue have been good. A kayak customer bought twelve shiners this weekend and fished a pond in Rehoboth.  He hit a fish on every cast, bass and a catfish.”

Striped bass.  Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor Marina said, “Several days last week anglers had great action on the West Wall.  Tom McGuire had 35 fish one night and Cliff Richer released over 75 fish.  Some customers caught over 100 so far. This is great action.”  The good news gets better as On-the-Water magazine reported this week that 30 pound striped bass are being caught in Connecticut Rivers.  So the larger fish are on the way. Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick said, “Anglers fishing the Greenwich Bay Sandy Point/Sally Rock area landed school bass floating worms.” Dave Henault of Ocean State said, “The best lures to use for early spring are pencil poppers and needles as they are not noisy and mimic herring. Once Atlantic menhaden arrive larger lures work best.”

Tautog fishing is slow.  The spring season opened April 15 and ends May 31st. John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, said, “A customer using clam worms and clam tongue fishing the Wharf Tavern area for tautog caught an 18” keeper.”  Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait said, “In the spring female tautog hide from the males so you will find them in lower water.  When they are ready to spawn they show up around the rock clusters.  In spring we have catch tautog when we were on the drift fluke fishing off the northern shore of Greenwich Bay, in front of Mill Creek just south of Conimicut Point and other low water sandy areas.  Later in the spring we would target rocky places like Ohio Ledge and Conimicut Light.”

Cod fishingwas fair last week. The Francis Fleet reports on one trip anglers came back with a dinner or two.  Fishing is expected to improve as the weather improves.

 


April 25, 2016

Fisheries celebration in DC

 

Meghan Jeans of the New England Aquarium and Patrick Paquette, a recreational fisheries representative, take a break in the U.S. Senate cafeteria as they prepare to meet RI, CT and MA congressional delegation. 

opening day

First Opening Day trout: Liam Farrell (age 13) proudly displays his first trout with Uncle Sean FitzGerald (both of Jamestown) as they fished with Alex (age 9) and Steve Greenberg of Narragansett.

 

RI Party & Charter Boat Association

Captains and their guests from the RI Party & Charter Boat Association donated 242 pounds of food and $130 to the Jonnycake Center, Peace Dale. 

 

Brandon Hagopian of Cranston with a keeper striped bass he caught this week in the upper Bay.  No lice on the fish indicate that it was likely a hold-over bass and not a migrating fish.

Fisheries celebration in DC

What a celebration I attended this week.  April 13th was the 40th Anniversary of the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA), the fishing law of this Nation.  The celebration was held in Washington, D.C. sponsored by six conservation groups lead by The PEW Trusts.

Like all anniversaries it was a time for reflection.  To reflect on how successful the act has been and how it needs to be adjusted in the future.  The MSA and its reauthorizations provided the teeth needed to set firm allowable catch limits (ACL) which directly lead to 39 fish stocks being rebuilt today. So we need to keep this law strong, and make sure it continues to eliminate wiggle room so fishermen and fish managers have firm catch limits to continue to rebuild fish stocks.

Additionally, moving forward MSA needs to be adjusted to include things like enhanced forage fish protections, stronger by-catch provisions and most important a big-picture eco-system based management planning strategy.  We need an eco-system based management strategy because climate change and warming water has forced some fish out of our waters and forced other species (like black sea bass and summer flounder) into our area in greater numbers and present fisheries management strategies are not handling these changes.  Climate change, forage fish, stronger bycatch provisions are not consistently incorporated into a big picture management strategy and plan. 

The 40th Anniversary celebration of the MSA in Washington this week included informational meetings with members of congress and their staff.  Our Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut congressional delegations and staff members met with representatives from the commercial and recreational fishing community, the New England Aquarium as well as a number of conservation groups in New England to reflect on MSA successes and future adjustments needed.

So happy 40th Anniversary to the Magnuson-Stevens Act.  You have served the fish well.

Opening Day big success

The Opening Day of trout season this past Saturday was a big success.

“I got one” said Liam Farrell (13 years old) from Jamestown as his uncle Sean FitzGerald looked on with pride.  It was Liam’s first Opening Day fishing experience.  “It was tough getting up early but well worth it.” said Liam. Billy Enright of Cranston said, “We have been coming here for ten years.  We haven’t missed a year.  The three of us have about a dozen fish so far.”  It was 6:30 a.m. and they had been fishing for about 30 minutes.

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) did an outstanding job stocking ponds with 80,000 hatchery raised brook, brown and rainbow trout this year.  Over 100 waterways have been stocked and this year three new locations were stocked on the Ten Mile River, marked by white trout fishing signs, include the intersection of 114A and Hunts Mill Road and just below the John Hunt House at 65 Hunts Mill Road. Visit www.dem.ri.gov for a complete list of stocked ponds.

Proposed BIWF and sea2shore safety zones clarified

The scope of the draft Safety Area (a 500 yard safety zone) that the USCG has published in the Federal Register pertaining to the Block Island Wind Farm (BIWF) and the sea2shore cable run was clarified last week by Ed Leblanc (USCG).  In a note to Elizabeth Marchetti, fisheries liaison, from Mr. Leblanc said "The Coast Guard's intent with respect to the proposed safety zones is to enforce each individual safety zone only when construction vessels are on-scene at an individual turbine.  As discussed in the proposal regulation, the Coast Guard intends to create individual, 500-yard radius, safety zones around each turbine. In essence, five safety zones, one for each turbine.

Vessels (other than BIWF construction vessels) will be precluded from entering safety zone only when construction vessels are on scene.  So, for example, if there are construction vessels working on turbine #3, but no work vessels at any of the other turbines, mariners must stay at least 500 yards away from turbine #3, but are free to approach as close as they want to turbines #1, 2, 4, and 5 (consistent with prudent and safe navigation, of course).

If there are work vessels at both turbines #1 and #2, mariners must remain clear of those two turbines but have full access to waters around the other three, and so on."

A copy of the Federal Register Notice and the place to submit comments on the proposed regulation by April 17th is  https://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=USCG-2016-0026-0012.

Captains donate food and cash to Jonnycake Center

The Rhode Island Party & Charter Boat Association (RIPCBA) held their annual captain’s banquet at Spain Restaurant in Narragansett, RI with their favorite charity being recognized with donations.  John Rainone, RIPCBA past president and donation coordinator said, “Captains and their guests attending the event donated 242 pounds of food and $130 in cash to the Jonnycake Center in Peace Dale.  The Association has done this for the past several years and we were happy to do it once again this year. Great Job all.”

Roddy Fly Rodders to Meet April 19th

The Rhody Fly Rodders will hold their annual cookout get-together on Tuesday, April 19th at 6:00 p.m. Members, guests and new comers are welcome to attend, enjoy the food and talk about the upcoming fishing season.  A short film about fly fishing adventures will be shown, followed by a brief presentation by Mike Bucko who heads of DEM’s new department administering the Access Point Angler Intercept Survey (APAIS). The meeting will take place at the Riverside Sportsman’s Association, 19 Mohawk Drive, East Providence.  Contact president Peter Nilsen with questions at pdfish@fullchannel.net.

 

Where’s the bite

Freshwater fishing was hot this week with many bait & tackle shops reporting brisk sales.  Manny Macedo of Lucky Bait & Tackle said, “Customers did very well at Willet Avenue Pond, East Providence but found the Brickyard Pond, Barrington was not yielding the fish it had in the past.  Many had seen cormorants and other birds working the pond and leaving with a lot of fish so many anglers didn’t even fish there.  Popular baits this year included scented Power Baits such as chunky cheese and other scented flavors.  These worked well in MA but in some Rhode Island ponds like Willett Avenue the fish were biting just about anything anglers put in the water.  In addition to the Power Baits a variety of small silver lures were working well as well as spinner baits of all types.”  Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box, Warwick said “We sold out of just about all trout baits this weekend including trout worms and meal worms and had to replenish our inventory in a hurry.” 

Spirited bass migration continues to move north.  On-the Water’s Striper Migration map (http://www.onthewater.com/striper-migration-map-april-8-2016/ ) indicates that the school bass are in southern Connecticut.  However, there have been some reports of migrating school bass being caught in the Pawcatuck River in Westerly.  Mike Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters, Westerly said, “There have been migrating bass caught right here in downtown Westerly at the bridge (crossing the Pawcatuck River).”  Manny Macedo of Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren said, “I checked with the On-the-Water migration map, it was pretty reliable last year but also believe that we can have some advanced schools of bass and it is very possible they are in southern Rhode Island now.”

 

Cod fishing remains good in local waters offshore.  Boats did not sail often last week due to bad weather, but when they fished boats had fair trips, with lots of bait and cod on fish finders. With improved weather all hope the good cod bite continues.

 



April 18, 2016

DEM stocks 80,000 trout for Opening Day

 

Opening Day at Silver Spring Pond, South County provides a carnival like atmosphere with overnight camping, early morning breakfasts and fishing at 6:00 a.m.

Brandon Hagopian of Cranston with a nine plus pound bass he caught last week in the Pawtuxet River using a topwater lure.

 
DEM stocks 80,000 trout for Opening Day
 
The Department of Environmental Management’s (DEM) is ready for Opening Day this Saturday, April 9.  DEM has stocked over a hundred local ponds, lakes and waterways with 80,000 trout.  Bait and tackle stores are ready too and have stocked up with gear, baits of all types and fishing lures designed to put trout in you bucket.
 
Opening Day fishing is a tradition passed on from fathers and mothers to sons and daughters. Anglers from seven to seventy years old fish opening day of trout season because it signifies the start of the fishing season and our reconnection with nature in the spring. It also allows friends and family members to talk, get to know each other better and bond as they creative opening day fishing memories that will last a life time.
 
Janet Coit, DEM director said “Opening Day is a time when families come together at their favorite fishing hole to share the thrill of reeling in a trout and to recharge and connect with nature.  Freshwater fishing is an important part of our culture and economy in Rhode Island, and we’re proud to support it through our stocking program.” 
 
Hatchery-raised brook, brown, and rainbow trout with an average individual weight of about one and a half pounds have been stocked by Fish and Wildlife Division staff in ponds and streams for opening day.  Gail Mastrati, a DEM spokesperson said “We have a complete list of ponds that have been stocked for opening day on our website atwww.dem.ri.gov.”  Several of these ponds and waterways will be stocked a second and third time during the season.
 
There is no minimum size for trout and the creel or bag limit is five fish from April 9 to November 30, and two fish from December 1 to February 29.  There is no closed season for largemouth and smallmouth bass in Rhode Island, 12” minimum size for both with a bag limit of five fish/angler/day. Northern pike minimum size is 24”, no closed season with a two fish/angler/day limit.  And, chain pickerel has no closed season, minimum size is 14” with a five fish/day/angler limit.
 
Some of the more popular ponds DEM plans to stock prior to Opening Day include:   Barber Pond, South Kingstown;  Carbuncle Pond, Coventry; Chickasheen Brook, South Kingstown; Frenchtown Park Pond, East Greenwich; Hunt River, East Greenwich and No. Kingstown; Meshanticut Brook, Cranston; Moosup River, Coventry; Pawcatuck River in several towns; Silver Spring Lake, North Kingstown; Tiogue Lake, Coventry; Eight Rod Farm Pond, Tiverton; and Saint Mary’s Pond, Portsmouth.  Other popular trout ponds include Willett Pond, East Providence and Simmons Mill Pond in Little Compton.
 
Ponds open for only children 14 years of age and younger for the first two days of the season (April 9th and 10th) include:  Cass Pond, Woonsocket; Frosty Hollow Pond, Exeter; Geneva Brook & Pond, North Providence; Lapham Pond, Burrillville; Lloyd Kenney Pond, Hopkinton; Ponderosa Park Pond, Little Compton; Seidel’s Pond, Cranston; Silvy’s Pond, Cumberland; and Slater Park Pond, Pawtucket.
 
Where to get a fresh water license and trout stamp
 
 A 2016 fishing license is required for anglers 15 years of age and older wishing to catch fish. A Trout Conservation Stamp is also required of anyone wishing to keep or possess a trout or to fish in a catch-and-release or 'fly-fishing only' area.  Fishing licenses and the Trout Conservation Stamp ($5.50) can be obtained at any city or town clerk's office or authorized agent such as bait and tackle shops, Wal-Mart and Benny’s.  A current list of license vendors is available on the DEM website.  Licenses may also be purchased on line or obtained at DEM’s Boat Registration and Licensing Office located at 235 Promenade Street in Providence.
 
License fees remain at $18 for Rhode Island residents and current members of the Armed Forces,  $35 for non-residents, and $16 for a tourist three-consecutive-day license.  Anglers over 65 must have a license, which for them is free, but do not need a trout stamp.
 
Where’s the bite
 
Freshwater.  All attention this week is focused on Opening Day this Saturday, April 9, 6:00 a.m.  Visit www.dem.ri.com for information on licensees, trout stamps and the ponds, lakes and waterways that have been stocked with brook, brown and rainbow trout.  However, with warming water anglers have also been landing some very nice largemouth bass.  Brandon Hagopian of Cranston said, “I caught my largest largemouth bass ever last week in the Pawtucket River. It was over nine pounds. I use noisy topwater lures over shallow coves with a lot of vegetation as this will be the warmest areas of a river or lake. If you are not picking up weeds, even with topwater lures, you could be in the wrong spot.”
 
Winter flounder season runs from March 1 to December 31.  However, anglers are reminded that it is illegal to catch winter flounder in Narragansett Bay. Winter flounder regulations state, “The harvesting or possession of winter flounder is PROHIBITED in Narragansett Bay north of the Colregs Line of Demarcation as well as in Potter and Point Judith Ponds.”  So the east to west Colregs Line at the mouth of the Narragansett Bay is drawn from Brenton Point in Newport, through Beavertail Light to Boston Neck in Narragansett. Anything north of this line cannot be fished for winter flounder. ” John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside said, “An easy way to tell the difference between winter flounder and summer flounder (fluke) is that winter flounder has a black back and a small mouth, summer flounder are lighter in color (shades of brown) and have a larger mouth with visible teeth.”  The minimum size for winter flounder is 12” with a two fish/angler/day limit in legal waters.
 
Cod fishing has been was off the charts good last week.  I spoke with both Capt. Frank Blount of the Francis Fleet and Capt. Andy Dangelo of the Seven B’s party boats this weekend and both said the cod were stacked up thick with customers often reaching their limit of ten fish per angler.  Capt. Blount said, “Cod fish have been stacked up 15 to 30 feet thick at times under the boat. Both bait and jigs have been working equally well. The bite has been best earlier in the day.”

 


April 1, 2016

Expect stripers early

 

 

Atlantic menhaden are well managed in Narragansett Bay.

Omar Curi of Providence caught this pickerel last week on shiners. 

 

All signs are pointing an early striped bass season, possibly the earliest season in years. The Bay and ocean water has consistently been warmer than last year.  Spring is shaping up as warmer than normal too and there is a high volume of bait such of herring and peanut bunker (juvenile Atlantic menhaden) in our waters.
 
Steve McKenna, noted local striped bass shore angler and associate at Quaker Lane Outfitters, North Kingstown, said, “Things are going to be early this year.  And that is good because I’ve got the urge to fish.  And, I’m ready to go.”
 
Dave Pickering, striper expert and publisher ofristripedbass.blogspot.com said, “Last year (a record cold year) the striped bass showed at the very end of April.  That was late by past standards.  If I were a betting man, I would go for the ending days of March into the first week of April, one of the earliest starting times we will ever see.”
 
So get your gear ready it is going to be an early striped bass season… possibly as early as next week.
Traditionally migrating striped bass in Rhode Island first arrive at the West Wall of the Harbor of Refuge in Pt. Judith.  McKenna said, “I’ll be at the West Wall next weekend.” 
 
Counting fish from the air
This week I was reminded of the outstanding Atlantic menhaden management program we have in Narragansett Bay.  Monday night George Purmont, a spotter pilot commissioned by the Marine Fisheries Division of the Department of Environmental Management (DEM), spoke about his work of counting schools of Atlantic menhaden (pogies) from the air in Narragansett Bay.
 
At a RI Saltwater Anglers Association meeting Purmont said, “When the amount of Atlantic menhaden in the Bay goes above the threshold the Bay is open to commercial harvesting.  When it falls below the threshold the Bay is closed to Atlantic menhaden fishing.”
 
The program is one of the most sophisticated and effective programs of its type in the nation.  Purmont said, “Flights once or twice a week give fish managers up to date data.” The program works well for recreational fishermen to protect this forage fish as well as for the commercial fishery allowing the Bay to be fished when there is an abundance of fish in the Bay.
 
Pilot Purmont said, “There is a mix of peanut bunker (juvenile Atlantic menhaden) as well as mature fish in the Bay.  The juvenile menhaden present themselves as dark spots or schools whereas mature Atlantic Menhaden present themselves as grey schools from the air as the fish flash as the swim in the water.”
 
Jason McNamee, chief of the Marine Fisheries Division of DEM said, “We want both peanut bunker and mature fish in the Bay as they serve as a different type of prey for a variety of fish we have in the Bay.”
 
Coast Guard seeks public input on wind farm safety zone
The Coast Guard is seeking public input on a proposed 500-yard safety zone for the Block Island Wind Farm (BIWF) by April 17, 201.
 
The Coast Guard proposes to establish a 500-yard safety zone around each of five locations where the BIWF wind turbine generator (WTG) towers, nacelles, blades and subsea cables will be installed in the navigable waters of the Rhode Island Sound, RI, from April 1 to October 31, 2016.
 
These safety zones are intended to safeguard mariners from the hazards associated with construction of the BIWF. Vessels would be prohibited from entering into, transiting through, mooring, or anchoring within these safety zones while construction vessels and associated equipment are present at any of the BIWF WTG sites.
 
Comments and related material must be received by the Coast Guard on or before April 17, 2016. The public may submit comments identified by docket number USCG-2016-0026 using the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov .  If you have questions contact Mr. Edward G. LeBlanc, Chief of the Waterways Management Division at Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England at 401-435-2351, or email Edward.G.LeBlanc@uscg.mil .
  
Wind Farm meeting April 5
The Block Island Wind Farm (BIWF) will hold an update meeting on Tuesday, April 5, 2016, 4:00 p.m. at the Hampton Inn, South County Commons, and South Kingstown, RI.  Agenda items will include the 2016 construction schedule, project crew vessels, the U.S.C.G. 500 yard safety zone and gear boundaries. A separate meeting regarding National Grid's sea2shore cable construction will follow with an announcement distributed as soon as the date is finalized.  For information contact Elizabeth Marchetti, Fisheries Liaison at 401.954.2902.
 
Striper club holds used tackle sale
The Aquidneck Island Striper Team will hold its annual used tackle sale this Saturday, April 2, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Portsmouth VFW, 822 Anthony Road, Portsmouth.  For information contact Capt. Eric Thomas at 401.524.7239.
 
Annual Kids Day at Addieville East Farms
 
The 16th Annual Kids Day at Addieville East Farm will take place Saturday, April 23rd, 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  Children ages 10 and over may register but must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.  Children will learn the basics of fly casting, fly tying, fly fishing (in a trout stocked pond) and basic entomology.
 
The RI Department of Environmental Management, two Trout Unlimited Chapters and the United Fly Tyers of Rhode Island are co-sponsors of the event.  Kid’s Day is free however all are urged to register in advance as space is limited.
 
Register with Kimberly Sullivan, 401-539-0037 or email  kimberly.sullivan@dem.ri.gov; and Jessica Pena, 401-539-0019 or email Jessica.pena@dem.ri.gov.
 
Block Island Wind Farm cable construction
Kokosing Industrial will be conducting submarine cable installation work from April 1 through June 5 in support of the sea2shore Renewable Link (BITS) and Block Island Wind Farm (BIWF).
In a statement last week the cabling companies said they “Respectfully request that fishermen remove fishing gear/traps from the selected cable route, and maintain a clear path 300 feet on either side of the center line. Please see the overview chart for BITS and BIWF cable routes. Kokosing will return to fishermen any gear/traps that may get fouled in the cable equipment but is not responsible for replacement of the gear. 
 
Questions should be directed to Elizabeth Marchetti, fisheries liaison at 401.954.2902 or at
rifisheryliaison@gmail.com . For additional information visit : 
 
Where’s the bite
Fresh water fishing slowed a bit with cooler weather last week.  Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle Warwick said, “With the cooler weather anglers just have not been getting out to fish fresh water.  Things will start to move as trout season opens up in April.”  Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence said, “Omar Curi of Providence caught a nice pickerel on shiners last week.  With cooler temperatures last week the carp bite slowed but crappy and white perch fishing was good.  And, trout fishing in Massachusetts has been excellent.” John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside said, “Anglers are catching largemouth bass and pickerel at Stump Pond, Smithfield with shiners so things are opening up.” Alex Petti of Fin & Feather Outfitters said, “We had a couple of customers fish Farmington River in Connecticut and the did pretty good with trout.”  Steve McKenna of Quaker Lane Outfitters, North Kingstown said, “We had a customer land a five pound largemouth bass last week right here in North Kingstown using shiners.”  Opening Daly of trout season in Rhode Island is next Saturday, April 9 at sunrise.  DEM has stock area pondsdem.ri.gov/programs/bnatres/fishwild/troutwaters.htm
 
Cod fishing has been good when boats have been able to get out due to bad weather.  Dianne Valerien of the Seven B’s party boat said, “Capt. Andy Dangelo has been doing a great job with the cod this year.  Saturday we had twenty anglers on board and returned to the dock with 200 cod (the limit, ten fish per angler).  The fish were mostly males, when we started to fillet them for customers only three out of the first 100 fish were female.  We’d like to think they are going to hang around for a while waiting for the females to arrive.” Capt. Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet said, “We absolutely crushed the cod Saturday with over 400 keepers just a handful of cod shy of a boat limit and pool fish just under 15 pounds.  Both bait and jigs worked well.”

 

 
Striped bass fishing for hold-over striped bass in the Connecticut rivers is still very good.  Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle said, “Charlestown Breachway winter over striped bass up to 26 inches taking white bucktails dressed with 3 inch curly tail grubs on the outgoing tide this morning (Saturday).”

 

 


March 29, 2016

Quahog Week Kicks-Off

Speakers at the Quahog Week kick-off were DEM Agriculture chief Ken Ayars; First Gentleman Andy Moffit; Governor Gina Raimondo; Karsten Hart of Newport Restaurant Group; Sarah Schumann, author of RI's Shellfish Heritage; Mike McGiveney of the RI Shellfishermen's Association; and US Senator Jack Reed. 

Pam Tameo, West Bay Anglers fundraising chair, with one of the Lobster Raffle prizes.  The fishing club raised over $12,000 this winter for the Impossible Dream and their ‘Take a kid fishing’ Foundation.

Ah, the cherished Rhode Island quahog.  It was recognized this week along with the shellfishermen and women that harvest them when Governor Gina Raimondo declared March 21-27, 2016 Quahog Week in Rhode Island.  The Governor joined state and food-industry leaders at a special celebration at Save the Bay Tuesday to mark the quahog industry’s importance to the state’s history, culture and economy and to encourage its year-round use.

Over 27 million quahogs were harvested form Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island coastal waters last year. Throughout Quahog Week sixteen restaurants across the state will offer special menu selections that will feature the native Rhode Island clam. Visit www.seafoodri.com  for details on Quahog Week, a list of participating restaurants and information about the RI Seafood brand.

 

West Bay Anglers donate $12,000 to non-profits

The West Bay Anglers, a fishing club located in Warwick, RI contributed $6,000 to Impossible Dream Saturday and $6,000 to their ‘Take a Kid Fishing’ Foundation.  The Foundation funds will be used to take over 300 children fishing on six separate fishing trips this summer on the Seven B’s party boat out of Galilee, RI.  

Pam Tameo, lobster raffle chairperson and past president of the West Bay anglers said, “Our supporters were great this year allowing us to raise over $12,000.  And I have to thank the Warwick Firefighter’s Hall as they were outstanding setting up the hall and preparing food for each of the fourteen Saturday Lobster Raffle events we held there this year.”

Each week the West Bay Anglers would raffle off tables and tables of food, consumer electronics, fishing gear and a host of other items.  Each Saturday event would last over two hours.  Traditionally, they were held at the FOP Lodge, however, due to Apponaug construction and difficult access, the venue was moved to the Firefighter’s Hall in Warwick this year.

Tameo said, “On all six fishing trips we will give priority to the children of military families and then focus on other children in need.  We already have a waiting list for trips this summer.”

For information about the fishing trips and raffles contact Pam Tameo at wbapamtam@cox.net.

 

Kayak fishing is hot

Kayak fishing is the fastest growing sector in the industry and fishermen in Rhode Island are no exception.  In fact, a new organization called Ocean State Kayak Fishing (OSKF) formed last year and has really taken off.  OSKFwas started with a handful of fishing buddies to communicate and plan fishing trips. The group now serves as a place for people to find new fishing partners, post photos and ask questions.

 

OSKF has a YouTube page with videos of fishing trips, reviews and helpful do it yourself videos. The goal of the organization is to be a one stop shop for all kayak fishing information and does not have a membership fee. 

 

OSKF has a season long striped bass tournamentfor the largest striped bass.  For information visit their website at www.oceanstatekayakfishing.com .

 

Hats off to charter fishing industry

Hats off to Capt. Rick Bellavance, president of the Rhode Island Party & Charter Boat Association and some of his fellow association members (I am happy to be one of them) that pioneered the electronic recording of fishing catch and effort on charter boats as part of a pilot project they ran for two years.  Last year Capt. Bellavance and his colleagues worked with software developers to perfect the application making it work to satisfy NOAA’s criteria for mandatory Vessel Trip Reporting (VTR) that charter boat and commercial fishing vessels with federal fishing licenses must complete on each fishing trip.

 

 The software has been approved for use by NOAA’s Greater Atlantic Region by the Atlantic Coastal Cooperative Statistical Program (ACCSP) as a mobile electronic vessel trip reporting (eVTR) application for the purpose of eVTR submission to the Greater Atlantic Region.

 

This development is big in that it will provide federal and state fish managers with a reliable and robust electronic data source to calculate fishing activing for commercial fishing vessels and party & charter boats participating.  The manual VTRs required federal license holders to fill out a multi-part carbon paper form and file it via snail mail on ever trip taken.

 

Capt. Bellavance said "Designed by fishermen and utilizing the latest technology, eTrips/Mobile dramatically reduces our reporting burden while providing more accurate and timely industry data to the states and NOAA. The eTrips/Mobile application will increase data accuracy and make data available immediately to fisheries managers, improving their ability to respond to changes in the fishery in a more timely way."

The software is designed to work in both commercial and charter/headboat fisheries, and is free for anyone who wishes to use it in jurisdictions that have adopted electronic trip reporting through the Standard Atlantic Fisheries Information System (SAFIS). The app can be downloaded from the Apple, Android, and Microsoft app stores. Training videos are available on the ACCSP website. 

Visit www.accsp.org for information on the eTrips/mobile application or contact Capt. Rick Bellavance at makosrule@verizon.net.

Pabst Tournament now catch & release

Pabst Blue Ribbon announced that its 5th annual Northeast Fishing Tournament will be a catch and release event in an effort to make the tournament more sustainable. The 2016 Tournament will start on Sunday, June 12 and run through Saturday, August 20, 2016.  Registered anglers will compete in three divisions: Striped Bass, Bluefish and Fluke. Participants are eligible to catch their fish in the salt waters of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Long Island.

Rob Reilly of Pabst Blue Ribbon said; "The Pabst Brewing Company is excited to announce the change in format to a 100% catch and release tournament. This change makes the PBR Northeast Fishing Tournament one of the largest catch and release tournaments in America.”

 

To be eligible for the season ending cash prize, a minimum of three fish must be caught, released, and submitted to the tournament office.  The combined length of the longest three fish submitted will make up the angler’s total entry. At the end of the tournament, an overall grand prize of $5,000 will be awarded in each of the three divisions along with a second place prize of $1,500 and a third place prize of $500.  There is also a chance to win a weekly prize of $300, awarded to the angler with the longest fish submitted that week.

 

Registrations are open at http://www.pbrfishing.com with a registration fee of $35 per adult angler, $20 for Juniors (under the age of 15) and $20 for seniors (over the age of 65.) All participants receive a limited edition PBR ruler to use for submissions, a t-shirt, hat, koozie and keychain.

March 30 Trout Unlimited meeting

The Narragansett Chapter of Trout Unlimited (TU225) will meet Wednesday, March 30th, 6:30 p.m. at the Coventry/West Greenwich Elks Lodge, 42 Nooseneck Hill Road (Rte. 3, Exit 6 off of Rte. 95), West Greenwich.

Bob Mallard, owner of Kennebec River Outfitters, Maine will be the guest speaker.  Mallard is the author of 25 Best Towns to Fly Fish for Trout, a member of the Winston Pro Staff and will focus his presentation on catching Maine Brook Trout, and the lakes and ponds in which they live. Contact Chapter president, Ron Marafioti, at (401) 463-6162, with questions.

Where’s the bite

The striped bass bite for holdover striped bass is better than usual this year in saltwater sanctuaries and rivers like Narrow River.  Brandon Hagopian who has been targeting holdover striped bass and has the following suggestions when targeting them, “With the sun heating the sediment on the bottom many aquatic invertebrates are emerging getting ready to spawn. Focus on dramatic depth changes such as ledges going from deep to shallow, current breaks into coves and also spots that get the most sun light, where the water will be warmer than surrounding areas. With many of these fish now ‘spring active’ , if you’re looking for numbers use small baits such as four inch paddle tails and zoom flukes or three inch stick baits on ¼ to ½ lead head casting into the shallow sections. If your main focus is big fish then fish the deep sides of the drops where the current is moving and where they will sit and wait to abuse prey such as gizzard shad, herring, etc. Use bigger baits (for larger fish) such as a 5-7 inch fin-s fish on a ½ once to 1 once jig head or swimming plugs.”

Cod fishing is still very good and is expected to remain strong into the spring season as in Rhode Island cod fishing has been fairly good all winter. Capt. Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet said, “Saturday we were back at the dock by 1:00 p.m. with a full boat limit of beautiful fat green market cod with sizes into the low teens. Other trips were good too with plenty short cod. The bite has generally been a bait bite although a few fish were taken on jigs and there has been a tremendous amount of bait being marked on local grounds.”              

 


March 28, 2016

 

 

Atlantic menhaden regulations get attention

 

First largemouth bass: John Migliori with his first largemouth of the season caught at Big Pond in Newport last week using a Shadeycreek lure.

Hillary Kenyon of Groton, CT attends mate school run by Capt. Charlie Donilon of Snappa Charters. 

 

Atlantic menhaden regulations get attention

This Monday a workshop was held at the URI Bay Campus to review the stock status and proposed regulations on Atlantic menhaden, regulations pertaining to lobster, crabs and other crustations as well as commercial gill net regulations. 

It was a proposed option to reduce the commercial threshold in the Narragansett Bay Atlantic menhaden management area that got the attention of recreational anglers. An Atlantic menhaden industry proposal for the Bay management reduced the Narraganset Bay biomass trigger form the 1.5 to 2-million pound range to 1.0 to 1.5-million pounds (a 500,000 pound reduction).  The proposal would open the Bay management area to commercial fishing when there are 500,000 pounds less of Atlantic menhaden in the Bay.  Presently, the biomass is assessed by air with trained piolets counting the number of schools and fish in the Bay on a regular basis.  The management area in the Bay opens and closes depending on the number of fish in the Bay compared to the biomass threshold.

An industry spokesperson said, “This proposal was made to keep our boats in the area as last year with the Bay open and closed it was difficult to keep them in the area to commercially fish when the Bay was open.”

Steve Medeiros, president of the RI Saltwater Anglers Association, said, “The Narraganset Bay Atlantic menhaden plan is working well. We spent a number of years trying to work something out for the commercial fishery and leave enough biomass in the water as forage fish and the recreational fishery. So why change the program now.” 

Other workshop highlights included a discussion on new proposed regulations for Johan and Atlantic rock crabs.  Johan crab regulations being suggested by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) where proposed for Rhode Island.  Fishermen expressed concern about the regulations not taking into consideration the uniqueness of the crab fishery in RI and tying it to lobster fishery regulations.  Others felt the new proposed regulations did not consider the uniqueness of the RI State fishery.  New proposals are expected to surface in time for the March 23 public hearing when all of the above regulating will be offered for public comment.

 

Quahog Week is next week

As part of a continued effort to support growth of the local food economy, Governor Gina Raimondo and First Gentleman Andy Moffit, along with state and food-industry leaders, will kick off Rhode Island’s first Quahog “Restaurant” Week on Monday, March 21, 2016 during a special launch event at Save the Bay.

For more information about Quahog Week and for a list of participating restaurants and events, visit www.seafoodri.com  or like the Quahog Week page on Facebook. Join the conversation in social media by tagging the Facebook page or @RhodeIslandDEM on Twitter; share recipes, quahogging stories, and/or favorite restaurants and quahog dishes.

Mate school

Capt. Charlie Donilon of Snappa Charters, Pt. Judith will be kicking off his second make school  on April 2nd and 9th with six hour long in classroom sessions at Centerville Commons, 875 Centerville Road, Warwick, Bld. 2, Suite 5.  The school will culminate with an on the water practicum aboard the charter fishing vessel the Snappa the week of May 7th.  The cost of the school is $195. Interested students should contact Capt. Donilon at 401.487.9044 or snappacharters@cox.net.

“We hope to place as many as ten students this year with summer jobs aboard party and charter boats.  And a new twist, we will be offering a scholarship for the program through a local technical high school.  It will likely take the form of an easy contest.” said Donilon. Contact Capt. Donilon for details on the scholarship program.

Mate School teaches students who want to be mates on charter and party boats how to prepare the vessel to fish, how to take care of and prepare fishing gear, how to teach customers how to fish, how to treat customers and much more.  The program as it is designed now includes two six hour in-classroom sessions and a five hours on a trip aboard Capt. Donilon’ s charter fishing vessel the “Snappa”.  Additional on the job training would occur aboard theSnappa or on another charter boat when you are hired. Mate School aims is to introduce students to what it is like to be a mate and what is expected of them as a mate on a charter or party fishing boat.

Where’s the bite

Fresh water fishing exploded this week with anglers catching largemouth bass, while perch and pickerel in fresh water ponds and lakes.   John Migliori caught his firs freshwater bass in Big Pond in Newport last week using a Shadeycreek lure.  Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence said, “Fishing picked up nicely this week in area ponds. Customers are catching white perch in the Turner Reservoir, Riverside using crappie jigs and worms.  The largemouth and pickerel bite is good in northern Rhode Island Ponds.  Narrow River is yielding white perch as well as hold over striped bass north of Middle Bridge.”  John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside said, “Freshwater fishing is hot. I sold out of shiners and worms this weekend. Customers are catching largemouth and pickerel at Stump Pond using shiners and earth worms.” Mike Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters, Westerly, said, “We missed out on an ice fishing season due to warm weather but customers are starting freshwater bass in Chapman’s Pond.  But most are getting their gear ready for the start of trout season.”

Striped bass fishing for hold-over fish is outstanding in Connecticut rivers.  Dave Henault said, “Fish to 32” are being caught with anglers using weighted jig heads.”  John Littlefield of Archie’s said, “Customers are catching hold-over striped bass to 20 pounds in the Connecticut rivers. However, the bite in the Providence River for hold-over striped bass has not been good this year.”

Bait and seals have been in Narraganset Bay and in our coves in unusually large numbers the past couple of weeks.  Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick said, “The peanut bunker (juvenile Atlantic menhaden) never left Apponaug Cover this winter.”  The bait along with herring is now populating the cove with seals feeding on the bait.  John Littlefield said, “Quahogers in the Conimicut Point area said seals are crashing schools of herring creating a lot of jumping and splashing action on the surface.”

Cod fishing has picked up with improving weather.  Frank Blount of the Francis Fleet said, “We saw much better numbers of nice green market cod and a lot of short cod as well. The fish seemed to be spread out over a fair size area as well. One trip we had some nice ling and a Pollock mixed in as well as few early spring sea bass which were released unharmed immediately. On a few days hi hooks had upwards to 5-8 keepers apiece and the majority of fishers left with enough cod for dinner.”

 


March 16, 2016

Striped bass over 34” need to be clipped 

Angler Jack Leyden of North Kingstown with a 43 pound amberjack he caught last week when fishing in the Miami, FL area in 200 feet of water 

Striped bass over 34” need to be clipped

 
It was about 8:00 p.m. Monday night at the URI Bay Campus when the Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Council (RIMFC) finished weighing in on eighteen different fishing regulations for the 2016 season.  Their recommendations along with input from public hearings and staff input from the Marine Fisheries Division will now be passed along to Janet Coit, director of the Department of Environmental Management (DEM), for final regulation decisions.
 
Regulation Highlights
 
Striped bass regulations will likely be the same as last year, one fish/person/day with a 28” minimum size.  However, this year recreational anglers will have to remove the entire right pectoral fin of the fish they catch and keep that are over 34”.  The regulation was suggested to deter commercial striped bass poaches from fishing in a recreational mode, stock piling fish and then selling them at another time or in another jurisdiction.  Licensed fish dealers may not offer for sale any striped bass (minimum commercial size is 34”) where the entire right pectoral fin has been removed.  The aim is to have similar laws in  both RI and MA.
 
Summer flounder regulations remain the same as last year, 18” minimum size, 8 fish/person/day with a May 1 to December 31 season.
 
Recreational tautog regulations also remain the same as last year, 16” minimum size, 3 fish/person/day form April 15 to May 31 and August 1 to October 14; 6 fish/person/day October 15 to December 15, a maximum ten fish/vessel limit that does not apply to party and character boats.
 
Scup fishing regulations remain at a 10” minimum from May 1 to December 31, 30 fish/person/day.  Seven special shore areas remain in place where the minimum size has been reduced to 9”. Visit www.dem.ri.gov for a list of areas where you can catch 9” scup from shore. A special party and charter boat season from September 1 to October 31 allows them to take 40 fish/person/day in this time period.
 
Black sea bass (BSB).  RI recreational anglers need to take a 23% BSB reduction this year mandated by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.  The Council approved as their fists choice a 14” minimum size, with a split season, 3 fish/person/day from July 22 to August 31 and five fish/person/day from September 1 to December 31.  This recommendation was made contingent upon New York State approving the same regulation so RI and NY boats would not have a regulation conflict as they often fish the same fishing grounds.  If not approved by NY the Council recommended a party and charter boat Letter of Authorization (LOA) option that was 7 fish/person/day from September 1 to December 31 for charter and party boats with a private angler limit of 3 fish/person/day form July 20 to December 31.
 
Fishing the wash
 
Learn how to fish for striped bass in the wash… the surf and waves on Tuesday, March 15, 6:30 p.m. at the Rhody Fly Rodders seminar Riverside Sportsman’s Association, 19 Mohawk Drive, East Providence, RI.   Capt. Eric Thomas ofTeezer77 Guiding Services will explain how to fish for stripers in surf and breaking waves focusing on how to stay safe as you maneuver your boat and present your fly or lure to have the best chance to catch a striped bass. For information contact Peter Nilsen at pdfish@fullchannel.net.
 
ASMFC releases annual report
 
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) released its 2015 Annual Report to the public last month.  The report can be found at http://www.asmfc.org/files/pub/ASMFC_AnnualReport_2015.pdf.
 
The Annual Report describes the Commission’s activities and progress in carrying out its public trust responsibilities for the marine fisheries under Commission stewardship. This includes species commonly fished by recreational anglers in Rhode Island such as summer flounder, striped bass, black sea bass, tautog, Atlantic menhaden, scup and many others.
 
Included in the report are figures displaying the historical trends in stock status or landings for each species managed by the Commission.  Also provided is a summary of the significant management actions taken by Commissioners in 2015 to maintain and restore the abundance of Commission managed species.
 
Herring run to Gorton’s Pond
 
At press time we were checking on the herring run from Greenwich Bay and Apponaug Cove to Gorton’s Pond in Warwick.  Herring make it their job to spawn in rivers and ponds in late winter and early spring.  In fact herring have been in the Bay sometime now and they are heading for the rivers, likely moving up them in the next week or two. Conservationists, DEM, U.S. Fish and Wildlife have all focused on these spawning runs throughout Rhode Island, building fish ladders, eliminating obstacles and often times volunteers net and scoop herring over obstacles so they survive to spawn and continue to come back year after year.
                                                                                                        
This week Richard Geldard of Warwick called to relate a herring run that looks like it will fail unless State officials and contractors at an Apponaug, Warwick road construction project take action.
 
Mr. Geldard said, “The new culvert built as part of the Apponaug traffic pattern had low water flowing through it and the connection between it and little Gordon’s Pond is not working.  Water is pooling and not flowing.  This low water flow will not support the annual herring run which should start in the next several days.  Historically the herring would flow into Little Gorton’s Pond behind the old Ericson’s Bait location on Greenwich Avenue, Warwick and then into Gorton’s Pond.  It would be a shame if this annual herring run is hindered or stopped.  We could have a lot of dead herring on our hands.” 
 
At press time we heard that plans for the project took the herring run into consideration and understand DEM was looking into the water flow issue.  Geldard said, “I understand Phil Edward of DEM plans to visit the site and make an assessment.  We hope there is good news about what steps the state and contractors will take to correct the situation in time.”
 
Fly Tying at Longfellow's Wayside Inn 
 
The Wayside Inn, 72 Wayside Inn Road, Sudbury, MA will host its ninth annual Fly Tying Demonstration and Bamboo Rod Building on Sunday, March 20th from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The event will feature amateur and professional fly tyers.
 
Fred Kretchman from Kittery, ME is a professional bamboo rod builder and sole appraiser for Lang Auction, for bamboo rods. He will show how the art of building bamboo rods.
 
Mr. Tom Foley of Tom's Custom Framing will have an exhibit of framed classic flies. Tom Foley and Joe Simone will demonstrate live aquatic insects, an exhibit that is a big hit with children and families.
 
Flies hand-made by exhibitors will be available for purchase, with all the proceeds benefiting the spring restocking of Josephine’s Pond. For information contact Armand Courchaine at (508)-982-1931 or email ajflyfish@yahoo.com.
 
In 2006, Josephine's Pond, located on the grounds of Wayside Inn's 120 acre historic site, was dredged and is stocked with trout yearly. A group of "The Friends of Josephine's Trout Pond", was established to promote care and conservation of the pond, and to educate the public to the thrill of recreational fly fishing. 

 

 


 March 14, 2016

Magnuson-Stevens Act gets reviewed

 

 

Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs at NOAA after testifying at a U.S. Senate fisheries hearing in Washington, D.C. last week.

 

 
The Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA), the nation’s landmark fisheries law, is now 40 years old.  I attended a senate hearing last week in Washington, DC to review the MSA. 
 
Members of the oceans subcommittee of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee asked questions and heard testimony on the successes, challenges and forward path of the law that had been reauthorized in 1996 and 2006.
 
Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), offered testimony.
 
The bipartisan support of the MSA was very uplifting.  Many Senators noted the MSA has been very successful rebuilding fish stocks and is a global model for sustainable fisheries.
 
Some Senators related fisheries shortcomings that exist under the MSA such as the ability to handle challenges in fish populations due to climate change and warming water, the devastation of the ground fishery in the Gulf of Maine, the need to be more responsive to fishermen and fishing communities.
 
Senator Markey of Massachusetts brought up the plight of fishermen in his State that are catching large numbers of summer flounder and black sea bass and having the throw thousands of pounds of dead fish overboard because quotes have been kept too low without taking climate change into consideration.  Scientists believe climate change has caused a shift in the bio mass of these species up the east coast due to warming water in New England.  Senator Markey asked, “How is NOAA taking these climate changes into account when establishing fishing quotas.”
 
Samuel Rauch of NOAA addressed the climate change issue by relating work NOAA scientists have done in this area as well as relating how many of the other issues raised by Senators were being addressed or could be addressed within the existing MSA law.
 
Matt Tinning, senior director, U.S. Oceans Programs for the Environmental Defense Fund attended the hearing and said, “In some fisheries, improvements in management must be considered. But needed changes can be advanced within the existing legal framework (of the MSA), including through the stakeholder-driven regional council process that the MSA created. A complicated and protracted process of opening up the Magnuson-Stevens Act for reauthorization at this time is not only unnecessary but would be counter-productive. We urge Congress to keep what’s working.”
 
 
Congress is exploring new legislation to revise or reauthorize the MSA, many in the fishing community believe it is fine the way it is and that improvements can be made within the existing law.  Others believe that reauthorized or not, MSA needs safeguards added to address key issues such as eco-system based management.

 

 


February 6, 2016

Fish counters, Anglers of the Year, Capt. Monti fluke seminar in Newport

intercept surveys fish counters

Katie Rodrigue and Nathan Andrews, field technicians and Mike Bucko, lead biologist, of RI DEM’s new Access Point Angler Intercept Survey program team.

Say “yes” to fish interviewers

It won’t be long now and the Marine Recreational Information Program’s (MRIP) interviewers will be out surveying recreational anglers.  The difference this year is that those doing the interviewing will be employed and supervised by the RI Department of Environmental Management rather than being employed by an out of state consultant. 

Michael Bucko, Rhode Island’s Access Point Angler Intercept Survey (APAIS) Lead Biologist said, “Anglers need to know all the information they share is confidential and no information will be used for law enforcement. Being truthful can only enhance how recreational fisheries are managed and ultimately help ensure the future of fish we all care about.”

The idea is to survey recreational anglers at docks, on the shoreline, at boat ramps as well as those fishing on charter and party boats.  The expectation is that Rhode Island surveyors who know the local culture and fishing areas and will be better received by fishermen. 

Bucko said, “In the past fishermen would see our clip board and run the other way.  For every ten interviews, twenty-five anglers would decline to be interviewed. We hope to enhance this ratio because we are training our staff to be less threatening to anglers.  The hope is that cooperation and participation will be enhanced.”

Anglers are asked demographic, fishing trip and biological questions about their catch. Questions include Where did you fish today? What species did you target? And may I weigh and measure your catch?

The program aims to come up with an estimate of what fish are being caught on an average trip.  This data is combined with mail/telephone survey data collected by a separate “effort” survey of anglers.  Recreational angler saltwater license data along with postal address information is combined to mail the survey. 

Over the years telephone surveys have been proven less effective due to incorrect telephone numbers or cell numbers that often do not work.  So moving forward the effort survey will likely be mailed and/or emailed to anglers. 

Bucko said, “Simply put the catch data we collet with our intercept “catch” survey and the “effort” survey data are multiplied to determine recreational harvest.  It’s more complex than this with models and formulas but that is it in a nutshell.”

Over the years the MRIP data fish mangers use to measure recreational harvest has been criticized as unreliable.  However, today NOAA has enhanced both catch and effort survey methodologies to the point that most are optimistic about arriving at a much more reliable solution to estimate recreational harvest.

There will be a team of six interviewers in Rhode Island. All are well qualified to identify fish, weigh and measure them.  The two staff Field Technicians I met were marine biologist who graduated from the University of Rhode Island and did advance study in Bermuda. 

On a daily basis the survey team will be given randomly selected locations (out of 280 possibilities in RI) to survey.  The goal is to complete 2,200 to 2,400 surveys this year.

Bucko said, “Historically some anglers have not been totally truthful when being asked about what they caught, kept and released as they fear that recreational fishing limits will become more conservative because too many fish are coming out of the water.  However, the truth is it could work the opposite way.  If mangers believe anglers are not catching a particular species they may lower the harvest limit as the data is telling them there aren’t as many fish in the water as they thought.”

So if anglers are approached by a DEM representative to do a survey they are urged to participate and be truthful as it can only enhance recreational fishing for all in the future.

To learn more about the program visit www.countmyfish.noaa.gov or call Mike Bucko from RI DEM at 401.783.2304.

Junior Angler of the Year

Top honors:  Reid Beland of East Greenwich received the Junior Angler of the Year award from the RI Saltwater Anglers Association.

  

Three in a row:  Lary Norin received the RISAA adult Angler of the Year award for the third year in a row.

Rocky Point rocks with access awards

Two prominent Rhode Islanders garnered top public access awards for their work to preserve Rocky Point as public access space.  Saturday night Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian and John Howell, Beacon Communications publisher, received Public Access Awards from the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA).

Steve Medeiros, president, presented the awards at RISAA’s annual recognition dinner at the West Valley Inn, West Warrick.  Medeiros said, “The work these two Rhode Islanders did through the City of Warwick, the State of Rhode Island and the Rocky Point Foundation to secure Rocky Point as a public access point for fishermen and all Rhode Islanders was outstanding. We hope the state will build a fishing pier there in the near future.”

Medeiros also presented 2015 angler awards at the annual dinner. Reid Beland of East Greenwich (10 years old) earned the RISAA Junior Angler of the Year award by getting four first place species awards, one second place and two third place awards for a point total of 16.  For the third year in a row Lary Norin of Cumberland earned the Angler of the Year award with a total of seventeen points.

For complete information on award recipients visit www.risaa.org.

Summer Flounder (fluke) seminar slated for February 9

Capt. Dave Monti with a summer flounder (fluke) caught using his “Fluke Cocktail”. Monti will speak Tuesday in Newport on “How to catch larger fluke”. 

Capt. Dave Monti will present “How to catch larger fluke” Tuesday, February 9, 7:00 p.m. at the Newport County Saltwater Fishing Club, Hibernian Hall, 2 Wellington Avenue, Newport, RI.  The presentation will include interviews with ten local and national fluke experts and address strategies, tactics, baits and rigs to catch larger summer flounder.  Highlights will include instruction on how to make Capt. Monti’s “fluke cocktail” bait and those in attendance will have access to his top ten summer flounder fishing tips. Contact club president Dennis Zambrotta at 401.841.6505 with questions.

Striper anglers say fishing off in 2015

The results of the Stripers Forever 2015 Annual Fishing Survey were released last week and eight-four percent of survey respondents described the striper fishery as worse or much worse compared to last year.  The survey report said many anglers speculate “that most of the older, larger fish from the great year classes of the 1990s and early 2000s have been removed from the population.”

The survey report said “our members continue to believe we should not be harvesting large, breeding stripers and that members want to set aside a high percentage of the current commercial catch for conservation – and not harvest it themselves.  Seventy-five percent of members said they are willing to buy a stamp to finance the buyout of the commercial fishery.”

In 2015 657 Striper Forever members responded to the annual survey.  Survey respondents were from states along the striper’s migratory range with higher numbers in MA and NJ as usual.  Stripers Forever is a volunteer organization dedicated to making the striped bass a gamefish and advocates for the conservation and responsible stewardship of wild striped bass along the Atlantic Coast.

Visit www.stripersforever.org for survey details.

 

Where’s the bite

Fresh water fishing has improved slightly as ice melted this week.

Cod fishing remains good off Rhode Island.  Winter storms of last week stirred things up and scattered bait and fish, however, fishing has improved as things are settling down. Party boats sailing for cod fish at this time include the Frances Fleet at www.francesfleet.com , the Seven B’s (with Capt. Andy Dangelo at the helm) at www.sevenbs.com, and the Island Current at www.islandcurrent.com .

 

Carp, hold-over bass and trout bite on
Fishing is picking up with Opening Day of the freshwater trout season Saturday, April 8th, 2017. The carp bite has been good and they are catching hold-over striped bass in the Providence River Basin.
Apr 2, 2017
11.2 lb. largemouth, new striped bass/BSB regs.
Visit noflukefishing.com to find out about the record 11.2 pound largemouth bass caught last week and the new striped bass and black sea bass regulations for 2016
May 4, 2016
Top fisheries manager has made NOAA more transpare
Top NOAA Fisheries has been good for fishing and the fish
Apr 25, 2016
Fisheries celebration in D.C.
MSA and its 40th Anniversary was celebrated in Washington, D.C.
Apr 25, 2016
DEM stocks 80,000 trout for Opening Day
Rhode Island DEM has stocked 80,000 brown, brook and rainbow trout in over 100 ponds, lakes and waterways for Opening Day Saturday, April 9
Apr 7, 2016
Expect stripers early
Anglers can expect an early season with warm water and a lot of bait already here for striped bass.
Apr 2, 2016
Quahog Week Kicks-Off
Quahog Week at area reastaurants kicks off with an event at Save-the-Bay, West Bay Anglers raises $12,000 for charity, and Kayak fishing continues to accelerate.
Mar 28, 2016
Atlantic menhaden regulations get attention
The Atlantic menhaden commercial fishery proposes and option to lower threshold in the Narragansett Bay Management Area. Also read about mate school starting in April by Capt. Charlie Donilon
Mar 28, 2016
Striped bass over 34” need to be clipped
Striped bass regulations will be the same this year, however, this year recreational anglers will have to remove the entire right pectoral fin of the fish they catch and keep that are over 34”.
Mar 14, 2016
Magnuson-Stevens Act Gets Reviewed
The Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA), the nation’s landmark fisheries law, is now 40 years old. I attended a senate hearing last week in Washington, DC to review the MSA. Here is what happened.
Mar 14, 2016
Say “yes” to fish interviewers
Learn about new MRIP interviewers, RISAA Angler(s) of the Year and a seminar on how to catch bigger fluke
Feb 6, 2016
RI’s DeFusco takes national fishing stage with Geo
George Poveromo was host of the Saltwater Sportsman’s national fishing seminar series this Saturday at the Casey Theatre, Regis College, MA. RI’s DeFusco on national fishing stage
Jan 20, 2016

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