In the Freshwater Sport Fishing Awards Programs, anglers receive bronze pins for catching fish of certain minimum weight requirements for 22 species. They must have their catch weighed at a certified weigh station and submit an affidavit and photo to the Sportfishing Awards Coordinator. Beginning in 2005, a youth category (aged 17 and under) was added to recognize anglers 17 years and younger for their accomplishments.
Anglers who catch the largest fish in each category receive a gold pin and plaque commemorating their accomplishment. During 2014, Berkshire waters yielded four trophy fish.
No adults won any gold pins here last year, but the following youths did: Tauri Adamczyk of Taunton caught the largest carp in the youth division. It weighed 27 lbs 8 oz and was caught in the Housatonic River in Lee. Jake Burke of Pittsfield caught the largest Northern Pike, weighing 27 lbs 2 oz and it came out of Onota Lake in Pittsfield. It was nearly 4 lbs larger that the largest pike caught by an adult. Dylan Crea of Pittsfield caught the largest Tiger Muskie weighing 13 lbs 8 oz out of Pontoosuc Lake in Pittsfield. It was nearly 1 lb larger than the largest Tiger Muskie caught by an adult. (Readers may remember reading about Dylan in my column of March 9, 2014). Christian Gougeon of Williamsburg caught the largest Tiger Trout in the youth division. It weighed 2 lbs 10 oz and came out of Stockbridge Bowl.
Once again, it is interesting that so many out-of-area fishermen are coming to the Berkshires to fish our waters. Our area truly has become a destination point for fishermen.
Since 2002, the Angler of the Year Award has been given to the person who weighs in the largest number of species that meet minimum weight requirements. The award promotes awareness of the Commonwealth’s underutilized fish species and recognizes an angler’s ability to catch a wide variety of trophy species. Since 2013, the Angler of the Year is now awarded in two categories, Youth and Adult.
In 2014, there was a tie for the Adult Angler of the Year; Mark Mohan Jr. of Pembroke and Todd Matera, of Palmer. Mohan caught the following pin fish last year: a gold pin Brown Trout (weighing 8 lbs 4 oz), a Bullhead, Crappie, Landlocked Salmon, Largemouth Bass, Rainbow Trout, Smallmouth Bass, Sunfish, White Perch and a gold pin Yellow Perch (weighing 2 lbs 9 oz).
Matera caught the following pin fish: Brook Trout, Bullhead, Carp, Channel Catfish, Landlocked Salmon, a gold pin Smallmouth Bass (weighing 5 lbs 6 oz), Sunfish, White Catfish, White Perch, and five Yellow Perch.
The 2014 Youth Angler of the Year was Jake Souza of Berkley. He caught the following pin fish: Brook Trout, three Brown Trout, two Bullhead, two Chain Pickerel (one of which came out of Onota Lake in Pittsfield), Crappie, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, two Sunfish, Tiger Trout, White Perch, and Yellow Perch.
Familiar names? Well, Mohan was Angler of the Year in 2013, Mantera was Angler of the Year in 2005, and Souza was Youth Angler of the Year in 2013 and 2012. There is a little more than luck involved here, they’re just good fishermen.
Incidentally, beginning this year, MassWildlife will be including a Catch and Release component to its Freshwater Sportfishing Awards Program.
- Fish must be taken on hook and line from State or interstate waters that are open to the public at all times. Private ponds or sporting club ponds are not eligible for awards.
- Fish must be measured at the site of capture, photographed against a standard measuring device, then immediately released. The photo must include the entire fish and the measurement must be clearly discernible. In addition to a side view photo, all affidavits for catfish and bullheads must also include a full body, dorsal (back) view of the fish.
- Fish measurements will be rounded up to the nearest ¼ inch.
- C&R anglers will receive the classic bronze pin for each eligible fish submitted. Additionally, the longest of each species annually will be awarded a gold pin and plaque.
- A C&R Angler of the Year trophy will be awarded annually to the angler who submits the widest variety of eligible species.
- Anglers aged 17 or under are eligible for Youth C&R Sportfishing Awards.
Check out the MassWildlife website for more details. *****
A Basic Hunter Education Course will be held at the Cheshire Rod & Gun Club, 310 Curran Road, Cheshire, on March 2, 6, 9, 13, 16 and 20 from 6:00 to 9:00PM. All first-time hunters who wish to purchase Massachusetts hunting or sporting licenses must complete a Basic Hunter Education course. For more information, call 508-389-7820. *****
DCR will be holding a Public Trails Workshop for the Pittsfield State Forest this Wednesday evening from 6:30 to 8:30PM at the DCR West Region HQ, 740 South Street, Pittsfield. They will hold another workshop for October Mountain State Forest, same place and time on March 4.
DCR staff will share information on the trails planning process and will work with trails system users to identify destinations and desired experiences, trail constraints and maintenance issues, and long-term trails management considerations. The intended outcome is an environmentally sustainable trails system that all users can enjoy in the future. *****
Next Saturday, the Lee Sportsmen’s Association is holding a “Zumbation” to raise money for the Lee High School Senior Class and the LSA. Call Mary at (413)243-2710 for more details. *****
Last week I erroneously listed the bear population in Massachusetts as being 50,000 instead of 5,000. My apologies! Hope I didn’t cause panic and a rush of people to sell their homes and move out of the state.