Looking for fish variety? Try Onota Lake

In the most recent issue of Massachusetts Wildlife Magazine, Richard Hartley, DFW Warm/Coolwater Project Leader wrote an excellent article entitled 50 Years of Fishing Pins. It is a history of the MA Sportfishing Awards Program wherein “pins” are awarded to anglers who haul in trophy fish. These pins are awarded for 22 categories of fish species in two age categories (adult and youth). At the end of each year, the angler who caught the largest fish in each category is presented with a gold award pin and a plaque from DFW. The following information comes from Hartley’s article.

Of the nearly 3,000 named lakes in the Commonwealth, Onota Lake holds top honors for having produced pins for the most eligible species (17 out of 22). Pontoosuc Lake didn’t do bad either, coming in 4th in the State (numbes not available).

Over the 50 years, nearly 26,000 fish entries have been submitted from over 4,000 individual anglers. Largemouth bass holds the number one spot with over 3,100 pins awarded, followed by trout with approximately 2,860 pins, pickerel with 2,600, smallmouth bass with 2,400 and yellow perch with about 2,200.

The top bass water in the Commonwealth is Samson Pond in Carver with 89 pins and Onota Lake is 5th with 59 pins. Quabbin Reservoir/Swift River has garnered the most pins for trout with 334 of them. In second place is Onota Lake with 116.

77% of the pins were recorded during open water season followed by ice fishing (tip-up) with 21%. Fly fishing and bowfishing comprised the remaining 2%. Most of the pin fish (75%) were caught on live bait or worms while lures and plastic baits accounted for 15%. Most of the pin fish were caught in May followed by the month of April and then June.

So there you have it folks, some of the best fishing is right here in the Berkshires. Grab a rod, a kid or two and “go git ‘em.*****

Fishing is good for you. At least that’s what Dame Juliana Berners wrote in 1496 in her book Treatyse of Fysshynge with an Angle. She wrote: “Youre aige maye more flowre and the more lenger to endure”. I think that means fish and you will live a longer and happier life.

I love those old fish sayings. Apparently you do too based upon the positive response I received from listing some in my April 15, 2012 column. Well, here are a few more: “ The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope. ~John Buchan. “Only when the last tree has been felled, the last river poisoned and the last fish caught, will man know, that he cannot eat money.” – A Cree Indian saying. Anonymous wrote, “Bragging may not bring happiness, but no man having caught a large fish goes home through an alley.” He also wrote, “ An angler is a man who spends rainy days sitting around on the muddy banks of rivers doing nothing because his wife won’t let him do it at home”. Also, “Nothing makes a fish bigger than almost being caught.” This “Anonymous” character is a busy writer. Lastly, one for the ladies: “Give a man a fish and he has food for a day; teach him how to fish and you can get rid of him for the entire weekend”. ~Zenna Schaffer *****

Congratulations to Taconic High teacher Ron Wojcik of Windsor for concluding another successful after-school flyfishing class for six Taconic students. Last week they put their training to good use and fished an undisclosed pond. Ron thought of everything; not only did he provided pizza, but solicited a great mentor, Dr Herb Rod of Pittsfield, for his one lefthanded young fly flyfisher.

Dr. Rod is one of the best southpaw flyfisherman in the Berkshires. He had young Alex Kent casting his fly better than I could ever do on my best day. Other participating students were: Adam Delphia, Adam Sperlonga, Michael Boc, Joe Kozlowski and AJ bowman. In addition to Dr Rod, and Wojcik other mentors included TU members William Travis, Allen Gray and me. *****

The following local waters were stocked with trout last week: Konkapot River in Monterey, New Marlboro and Sheffield and the Deerfield River in Buckland, Charlemont and Florida. This could very well be the last of the spring stockings. *****

On May 7, I received an e-mail from Dennis Regan of the Housatonic Valley Association informing me that a Simon’s Rock student had discovered didymo in the Green River off of Boice Road in Great Barrington. As of this writing (Thursday morning) no public announcement has been issued confirming the finding; however, I learned that signs are posted there informing the public of its presence.

Didymo (also called “rock snot”) is an invasive freshwater alga that can form massive blooms in rivers and streams and potentially disrupt an ecosystem. They look slimy, but feel like wet cotton or wool and can damage the habitat by choking out bottom-dwellers and removing food organisms for fish and other aquatic species. They can be unwittingly spread by anglers and outdoor enthusiasts from one waterway to another through contaminated boots, fishing gear and boats.

Anglers and boaters are advised to help prevent its spread by scrubbing dirt and debris from anything that comes into contact with it. Equipment can be disinfected with a five percent salt solution or by scrubbing well with dish detergent. If disinfection is not possible, let equipment dry completely for at least 48 hours. (much longer for felt soled boots). You may want to consider having two sets of boots in order to move safely from one spot to another.

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