Matt Weckbacher holds up the replica mount of his 69-pound striped bass that took first place in Striperfest, a season-long striped bass tournament sponsored by On-the-Water magazine.
DEM stocking local waters with trout
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is stocking ponds across Rhode Island with 10,000 trout in advance of Columbus Day weekend. A select number of waterways will be stocked given current drought conditions and as conditions improve, additional stocking will take place.
As part of a new initiative aimed at making larger, trophy-sized, hatchery-raised brown trout available to anglers, 400 brood stock brown trout with an average weight of 4 to 6 pounds will be stocked at Carbuncle Pond in Coventry beginning this fall.
The following waters will be stocked: Carbuncle Pond, Coventry; Olney Pond, Lincoln; Silver Spring Pond, North Kingstown; Barber Pond, South Kingstown; Round Top Ponds, Burrillville; Meadowbrook Pond, Cronan Landing, Lower Shannock Fishing Area, and Beaver River (Rt. 138), Richmond; Ponagansett Fishing Area, Foster; Wallum Lake, Burrillville; Wood River, Dow Field, Mechanic Street, Barberville, Wyoming Pond, and the Pawcatuck River, Hopkinton; and Potter Hill Landing, Westerly.
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. A trout stamp is not required for persons possessing trout taken from a lake or pond that shares a border with Rhode Island.
For stocking information and freshwater fishing regulations visit www.dem.ri.gov.
ASMFC garners angler input on Atlantic menhaden
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) hosted an Atlantic menhaden public hearing at the URI Bay Campus Wednesday night. About fourty anglers, environmentalist and DEM fish mangers attended.
One of the key issues discussed was establishing Ecological Reference Points (ERP) for the species in Amendment 3 to modify the Atlantic menhaden Fishery Management Plan. Overwhelming with a 23 to 2 vote those in attendance supported an option that suggested a 75% target for biomass of Atlantic Menhaden to be left in the water as forage fish and ecological purposes.
Atlantic menhaden serve as a food source for striped bass, bluefish, whales, osprey and other species. They also serve an ecological purpose. Atlantic menhaden are filter feeders helping to reduce nutrient levels in the Bay and Ocean.
The second key issue discussed was the reallocation of quota to coastal states. Virginia’s quota has historically hovered around 85% (with one fish processor Omega Protein landing most of that), New Jersey has been at about 11% and the remaining quota split among all other east coast states (Rhode Island’s quota is 0.02%).
Once again overwhelming (23 to 1) those in attendance supported allocating a minimum of 3% to Rhode Island and other states that have small quotas at this time.
The rational put forward was that historically states other than Virginia and New Jersey also had active fisheries but they closed due to a lock of fish. Now that the species is doing well and more fish are in northern waters quota should be reallocated to these states.
Amendment 3 will now go before the ASMFC Atlantic menhaden advisory panel for discussion and then the Atlantic menhaden board for decision and a vote in November.
For information about Atlantic menhaden Amendment 3 visit www.asmfc.org .
Central Falls and DEM host family fishing day at Lincoln Woods
DEM in partnership with the City of Central Falls and Progreso Latino, will host a family fishing event at Lincoln Woods State Park on Saturday, October 7, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The event is part of DEM’s ongoing efforts to promote outdoor recreation and environmental education in communities across the state.
As part of the festivities, instructors from DEM’s Aquatic Resource Education (ARE) program will teach participants how to catch and clean trout. DEM teamed up with the City and Progreso Latino this summer to host a saltwater fishing excursion for residents of the Central Falls community; as part of this earlier event, some 50 people enjoyed a day on Narragansett Bay aboard the Francis Fleet Charter from Galilee, learning about the diversity and abundance of marine life in the Bay.
Where’s the bite
Tautog fishing started to explode this week with fish being caught in the Bay and along the coastal shore. Angler Richard Reich said, “We caught tautog to our limit off the center wall of the Harbor of Refuge earlier this week but went back the next day and caught one.” “Customers are catching fish but the short to keeper ratio is not very good. One customer fishing in the Ohio Ledge and Rumstick Point areas caught 30 shorts and two keepers and another angler at the Wharf Tavern caught 15 shorts to 1 keeper.” said John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside. Lorraine Dante of Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren said, “Tautog fishing was good in the Bay this weekend with customers landing keepers at Stone Bridge, the Mt. Hope Bridge Lighthouse, even at Colt State Park. Green crabs worked well, Asian crabs are just starting to become available after the tropical storms and high seas that we had.” I fished off Beavertail this weekend and did pretty good catching eight shorts and two keepers. Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick said, “Tautog fishing is just starting to pick up we had customers catching keepers at Hope Island, the Codding Cove Jetty and the humps off Beavertail.”
Striped bass,bluefish and false albacore. Mike Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters, Westerly, said, “It’s like National Geographic out here. We have whales feeding on mature Atlantic menhaden with striped bass, bluefish and large false albacore right behind them close to the beaches. On an outgoing tide the place to be is at the mouth of the Breachways and at high tide they are around Watch Hill Light.” Bluefish were surfacing in the Bay briefly and then going back down quickly once the bait moved. No prolonged surface action in the upper and middle Bay. Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait said, “Striped bass are being caught out in front off Beavertail and Newport with bluefish surfacing in the Bay.” John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait said, “Small striped bass are being caught at Rumstick Point, off Barrington Beach and in the Warren River. Only one report of a 29” keeper bass being caught a Sabin Point by a customer that was bottom fishing for other species.”
The scup bite has been very good in the Bay. John Littlefield said, “Customers are catching very large scup in the bay once again and some are limiting out. Angler had said the fish were getting smaller by this week they have been large. They are catching scup at Colt State Park and Sabin Point.”
Cod fishing. Capt. Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet said, “We found a pick of nice green cod to about 15 pounds Saturday. Hi hook boxed four good cod. Fishers also had some big ocean perch, huge sea flounder to four plus pounds, quite a few good size scup and a bluefish. Monday's run way offshore did produce a handful of nice green cod fish to twenty pounds but there was not enough of them and not much else to go with them.”
Fly fishing. Noted local fishing guide and fly fisherman Ed Lombardo said, “The Narrow River has been fishing very good on both the outing and incoming tides. Lots of shad, we believe American shad (18” to 20”). Both the Hickory Shad and American Shad have been very prolific for the past 8 to 10 weeks. Two of the best flies I like using for the shad are tied on a size #1 hook and a simple black over white deer tail streamer with a body of Bill’s body braid. The other fly that always works well is a hot pink streamer tied with hot pink craft fur for a wing with body braid as well. We are getting only a few bass at this time hopefully this October will see more bass.”