Rhode Island Fishing Newsletters > Expect stripers early
Expect stripers early

Apr 2, 2016

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 of ristripedbass.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 :
http://dwwind.com/project/block-island-wind-farm/ or http://sea2shoreri.com/.

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 ponds dem.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).”

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