Nice brace of trout: Billy Enright of Cranston holds a nice brace of trout the he and friends Autumn Mitchell and Mike Manco (also of Cranston) caught by 6:30 a.m. on 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.
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 email@example.com.
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.