Ice fishing could be your ticket out
No need to stay indoors and just dream about fishing this winter. Get outdoors and ice fish. You can fish from the ice without a boat and in Rhode Island and Massachusetts lakes and ponds feature a variety of fish such as stocked and native trout, large and smallmouth bass, pickerel, pike, perch and sunfish.
If you do not know a thing about ice fishing… no need to worry as bait and tackle shops that specialize in ice fishing can help you get started. And, the State of Massachusetts and Rhode Island have a range of ice fishing events to help you and the family get outdoors to fish. For a listing of ice fishing clinics and tournaments in central, eastern and western Massachusetts visit https://www.mass.gov/service-details/angler-education-calendar. In Rhode Island visit www.dem.ri.gov for safe ice information and ice fishing events and news.
Rhodes Island Marine Fisheries Council highlights
The Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Council met last Monday to formalize recommendations on primarily a variety of commercial fishing regulations. Visit www.dem.ri.gov for a complete video of the meeting and meeting minutes as they are approved and posted. Meeting highlights:
Two aquaculture leases came before the Council and/or the Shell Fish Advisory Panel to identify if the proposed lease areas were in conflict with wild harvest fisheries in the areas. Both leases were found not to be in conflict including a proposed lease area at Rome Point, North Kingstown and a proposal lease area expansion on Quonochontaug Pond in Washington County.
Opening up a portion of Providence River for shellfishing. The Providence River is arguably clearner than it has been in some years, so much so that a process is underway to get ready to open a portion of the River. Water quality and shellfish within the a southern section (south of a line between Gaspee and Bullocks Point) of the Providence River (with the exception of Occupessatuxet Cove and the eastern shore from Bullocks Point to Nyatt Tower) meets requirements for managing waters as conditionally approved. The next steps moving toward opening this conditional area include updating maps and descriptions, finalizing the closure lines with the Division of Law Enforcement, documenting new descriptions and range markers, and coordinating with RIDOH for completion.
2020 finfish regulations addressed at the November 12 Public Hearing came before the Council for their recommendations. Species addressed at the meeting included tautog, black sea bass, scup, summer flounder, bluefish, Atlantic menhaden, ocean pout and wolfish prohibitions. Additionally, a report and division recommendations on the Research Pilot Aggregate Program were made with the Council making supporting recommendations. Good news at the meeting was that the RI commercial black sea bass quota is expected to increase from 377k lbs. to 613k lbs. Visit www.dem.ri.gov/programs/marine-fisheries/rimfc/index.php for meeting material on finfish regulations, meeting minutes on recommendations and a meeting video link.
Where’s the bite?
Tautog and Cod fishing this week was mixed. Some days the bite was on and other days if was off. Capt. Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet said, “Blackfishing was all over the place this week. It was either rock solid or nothing. This is one of the signs with the water temperatures dropping and the fishing slowing down. High hooks on the week went home with limit catches. Pool fish was around 9 pounds.” Cod fishing was mixed the past two weeks too. Capt. Blount said, “Some days it was all cod and little to nothing of anything else, other days it was true fall mixed bag fishing. Friday did see the best action with high hook boxing six keeper cod.”
Party boats sailing for cod this time of year include the Frances Fleet at www.francesfleet.com, the Seven B’s at www.sevenbs.com, and the Island Current at www.islandcurrent.com.
Dave Monti holds a captain’s master license and a charter fishing license. He is a RISAA board member, a member of the RI Party & Charter Boat Association, the American Saltwater Guides Association and the RI Marine Fisheries Council. Forward fishing news and photos to Capt. Dave at email@example.com or visit www.noflukefishing.com and his blog at www.noflukefishing.blogspot.com.