Spring fishing off to a great start
The spring fishing season has gotten off to a great start. Anglers had a great opening to the freshwater season with trout and golden trout still being caught in stocked waterways (see below report).
And this week, the saltwater fishing season exploded with some anglers catching as many as 30 migrating school bass an outing with reports of a 30” fish being caught too (28” minimum size, one fish/person/day. To enhance a safe release of small school bass use in-line hooks, or snap off the barbs on treble hooks, and gently bring these fish in for a safe release.
The tautog bite has been good too this week with many anglers limiting out (three fish/person/day, 16” minimum), some fish being caught are in the 20 plus inch range.
So get out there and fish.
Council seeks planning input
The Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Council held a public input meeting at the URI Bay Campus last week to get feedback from fishermen on the development of their 2020-2024 strategic plan. Many of the species fished in our waters such as black sea bass, summer flounder, scup and bluefish are managed by the Council.
Even though we are not in the Council’s primary geographic area (Rhode Island is managed by the New England Fisheries Management Council) the biomass of many of the fish we catch has moved north as climate change has warmed water off Rhode Island and in Narragansett Bay.
In a prepared statement, angler Rich Hittinger, 1st vice president of the RI Saltwater Anglers Association that has 7,500 affiliated members, said, “According to NOAA’s Fisheries Economics of the United States, Rhode Island recreational and commercial fisheries are just about even in terms of economic impact to the state. In fact in many states recreational fishing far outweighs the impact of commercial fishing. So both commercial and recreational fishing are importance to our region and nation. The council needs to be more balanced with more private recreational angler representation.
“Additionally, the Council needs to address the shift in abundance in many fish stocks to the north. Rhode Island deserves representation on the council because it lands a high portion of these fish. We have no seats on the Council now. The first seat for RI should go to a private recreational angler representative to add some balance,” said Hittinger.
To review preliminary results of the Council’s strategic planning stakeholder survey as well as information on the development of the 2020-2024 Strategic Plan, visit www.mafmc.org.
Listening sessions scheduled for Massachusetts
The New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC) is holding public listening sessions to discuss the possibility of developing an amendment to the Northeast Multispecies Groundfish FMP to establish a limited access program for the party and charter boat fishery.
Three listening sessions have been scheduled for Massachusetts in early May. Listen sessions will be held May, 7, 6 p.m. at the Chatham Community Center, Chatham; May 8, 6 p.m. at the Hampton Inn, Plymouth; and May 9, 5:45 p.m. at the Sawyer Free Library, Gloucester. For details on public sessions and a planned webinar visit www.nefmc.org.
Where’s the bite?
Striped bass. The striped bass migration started to hit Rhode Island early last week with school bass at the West Wall. Mike Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters, Westerly, said, “We have customers catching holdover bass far up the Pawcatuck River at the Westerly/Pawcatuck Bridge and others at the West Wall of the Harbor of Refuge in South Kingstown catching migrating bass. The fish are loaded with sea lice.” Neil Hayes of Quaker Lane Bait & Tackle, North Kingstown said, “Anglers are catching migrating striped bass all the way to Conimicut Point and beyond up the river. We have good reports of a striped bass bite in Apponaug and East Greenwich Coves.” Manny Macedo of Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren said, “One of our customers caught a 30” keeper in the Barrington River and two others caught over 30 school bass. They said they successfully released all of them.”
Tautog. “Tautog fishing for commercial fishermen has been getting better. Some are catching five to six keepers using clam as bait, not a lot of green crabs around. They are setting traps but the water is still too cold around here and the crabs are still dormant.” Macedo said, “Tautog fishing is very good. Anglers are limiting out (three fish/person/day) using green crabs. The bite is on in Tiverton, in the Sakonnet River and at the Barrington River Bridge.” Hayes said, “The tautog bite off Newport and Jamestown was very good this week. Anglers are using both worms and green crabs for bait.” Angler John Migliori has been catching keeper tautog along Ocean Drive, Newport. This past weekend he caught a 22” fish from shore.
Freshwater fishing. Macedo said, “The bite at Bad Luck Pond for trout has been very good, however fishing at Brickyard Pond, Barrington has not been good at all. The largemouth bite continues to be good in the area.” Hayes said, “Customers are still catching golden trout. We weighed in two that were caught at Silver Spring Lake, North Kingstown. So the trout bite is still good. The largemouth bass bite has been good for anglers too.” Wade said, “The trout bite is still great at ponds that DEM stocked such as Carolina and Bradford Ponds. And, they are still catching golden trout. Once again DEM has done a great job stocking.”
Visit www.mass.gov/orgs/division-of-fisheries-and-wildlife for a list of stocked trout ponds and regulations in Massachusetts. For stocked ponds and regulations in Rhode Island visit www.dem.ri.gov.
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. Follow Capt. Dave on twitter @CaptDaveMonti. He’ll be tweeting about ‘Where’s the bite’, fishing regulations, national fishing policy, and issues that impact the fish. Forward fishing news and photos to Capt. Dave at email@example.com or visit www.noflukefishing.com.