The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announced its winter season of outdoor programs, from fly tying to wild game cooking classes. The Aquatic Resource Education, Hunter Education, Wildlife Outreach and Volunteer programs have planned a schedule with plenty of opportunities to learn about Rhode Island’s fish and wildlife resources or to try out a new outdoor skill.
Programs being offered include fly tying, K-12 teacher training, wild game cooking, introduction to firearms, wildlife solutions for coyotes / foxes /fishers, wild winter tracking, and bird watching on the coast. Most programs are free of charge and family friendly. For a complete list of up-to-date programs, visit Fish & Wildlife | Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (ri.gov).
Mt. Hope Bay reopens to shellfishing
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announced that the emergency shellfish harvesting closure of portions of Mount Hope Bay ended Monday, Nov. 13. Portions of the conditional shellfish harvest area have been closed since Sunday, Oct. 22, due to an accidental discharge of 11,250 gallons of untreated wastewater from the Mount Hope pump station at the eastern end of Annawamscutt Avenue in Bristol. To safeguard public health, the waters of Mount Hope Bay in the vicinity of the sewage spill were closed to shellfish harvest immediately after the un-permitted wastewater discharge.
For information on emergency and conditional area water quality related shellfish closures, call DEM’s 24-hour shell fishing hotline at 401-222-2900, visit www.dem.ri.gov/shellfish, or sign up for DEM’s Office of Water Resources’ shellfish closure listserv by sending an email to: RishellfishOWRemail@example.com.
Freshwater ponds stocked for Fall
Massachusetts and Rhode Island have been engaged in fall trout stocking programs. Massachusetts stocked more than 60,000 trout in area waterways, and last week Rhode Island had a special stocking in ponds for Veterans Day weekend.
Wallum Lake in Douglas was stocked last month with rainbow trout, and Whiting Pond and Falls Pond in North Attleboro were stocked late September. For a complete list of stocked ponds in Massachusetts, visit Mass Wildlife at Trout stocking report | Mass.gov .
In Rhode Island, ponds such as Willet Avenue Pond in Riverside, Stafford Pond in Tiverton, and Olney Pond in Lincoln have been stocked with rainbow and brook trout as well as Sebago Atlantic Salmon. Visit DEM’s Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Facebook Page, visit www.dem.ri.gov/fishing, or call 401-789-0281 or 401-539-0019 for more information on stocking in Rhode Island.
Where’s the bite?
Striped bass, bluefish: “There are still striped bass in our bays and estuaries, but the fish are a lot smaller, with school bass and some slot size fish being caught. And this week we had an influx of Atlantic menhaden enter the Bay and Providence River,” said Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence.
Declan O’Conner of Breachway Bait & Tackle, Charlestown, said, “Striper fishing from the surf has slowed down this past week, but the run is not over. We still have some good schools of fish that need to make their way by our area. We tend to see a run of bigger fish mid- to late-November and an occasional bluefish frenzy. Keep an eye out for Gannets flying.n They are an indicator that there are large baits in the water. Cow bass will be right on these big schools of bait. There are still some bass feeding in the back ends of estuaries taking advantage of the bait that hasn’t headed out of town yet. The water is still relatively warm in these areas still and that’s why the bait likes to hold out in these areas.”
Tautog fishing continues to produce for anglers. Angler Greg Spier said, “Left dock 7 a.m. Sunday for reefs off Newport. Worked hard, but ended with six keeper tautog and two black sea bass; fished until 11 a.m. Last Sunday in a similar spot, limited out in two hours. All caught with green crabs and some old squid, mostly on Sammy rigs.”
Declan O’Conner of Breachway Bait & Tackle said, “Tautog fishing has been very good, with many customers reporting limit catches in water ranging from 15 to 40 feet. There are still some good sized black sea bass around locally and even a few cod moving into the area.”
“The tautog bite continues to be outstanding in the Bay and off Newport, with anglers still landing some double digit fish in the 10- and 11-pound range,” said Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle.
Squid fishing continues to be fairly good, but as usual, it is hit or miss. Squid fishing expert Greg Vespe of Tiverton said, “Phil Duckett and I fished the Newport Bridge area last Friday night and did pretty good.”
Dave Monti holds a captain’s expert license and charter fishing license. He serves on a variety of boards and commissions and has a consulting business focusing on clean oceans, habitat preservation, conservation, renewable energy, and fisheries related issues and clients. Forward fishing news and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.noflukefishing.com.