The Division of Marine Fisheries (MarineFisheries) has adopted a 1-fish recreational bag limit for Atlantic Striped Bass but the recreational minimum size limit remains the same at 28 inches. This bag limit reduction (from 2 fish) was undertaken to reduce recreational harvests in Massachusetts by at least 25%, as required by the Interstate Fishery Management Plan (IFMP). Massachusetts’ commercial quota has also been reduced by 25%.
Last October, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission approved an addendum to the IFMP for Atlantic Striped Bass. The addendum responds to results of the 2013 benchmark stock assessment, which found that fishing mortality in 2012 was above target, and female spawning stock biomass has been steadily declining below the target level since 2006. Enforcement of alternative rules across the entire population of for-hire permit holders (numbering 900), particularly when they are fishing without patrons aboard, would have proven troublesome. A universal rule also removes any negative perceptions about benefits from a “dual-standard” allowed to for-hire patrons. Anglers in Massachusetts will operate under the same rules as those in neighboring states in 2015, as New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Connecticut have also adopted 1 fish at 28″ minimum rules. For more information, refer to www.mass.gov/marinefisheries. *****
According to club spokesman Tim Minkler, 65 anglers participated in the Stockbridge Sportsmen’s Club Fishing Derby that was held on May 3 from dawn to 3PM at Stockbridge Bowl. It was a perfect day with good sun and temperatures reaching into the mid-70s.
The following individuals were $100 Winners: Largest Trout: 12 year old Seth Slemp from Lee, (2 lbs, 16.5”); Largest Bass: Austin Consolati, from Lee (1 lb, 9 oz., 14”); Largest Pickerel: Silas Amlaw, New Lebanon, NY (4 lb, 26”); Largest Bullhead: Seth Slemp again (1 lb, 13”).
Ages 12 and Under Winners: Largest Trout: First – Seth Slemp, noted above ; Second – Colin Mackie, from Becket, 1 lb 12 oz, 14.5”; Third – Dylan Trumps, South Lee, 1 lb, 7 oz., 14”; Fourth- Gabriel Nascimento, Richmond, 13 oz, 12”. Largest bullhead was caught by Seth Slemp noted above. *****
The Onota Fishing Club will be holding its annual Trout Derby on Onota Lake on next Sunday at the Pavillion. The derby will run from 6:00 AM to 12:00 Noon. Trophies and prizes will be awarded for both children and adult divisions. Cost for adults is $15 and for children $5. Breakfast will be available to all participants with an all-you-can-eat fish fry following the derby. There will be a $10 fee for all non participants for the fish fry. Tickets are available in advance at Portsmitt’s Lakeway Restaurant or at The Onota Lake Pavillion the day of the derby. *****
The following waters were scheduled to be stocked last week: Deerfield River received Tiger Trout in Buckland, Charlemont and Florida; Westfield River in Chesterfield, Cummington, Huntington, Russell and Windsor; Housatonic River in Dalton and Hinsdale, Hubbard River in Granville, West Brook in Great Barrington, Bennett Brook in Hinsdale, Town Brook in Lanesborough, Hop Brook, Beartown Brook and West Brook in Lee, Trout Brook in Peru, Buck and Clam Rivers in Sandisfield, Hop Brook in Tyringham, Hemlock Brook and Green River in Williamstown, Plunkett Lake, Laurel Lake, Lake Garfield, Lake Buel, York Lake, Otis Reservoir, Onota Lake and Stockbridge Bowl.
Mark your calendar, free fishing days this year are June 6 and 7 in Massachusetts. Other nearby states’ free fishing days are: Maine – May 30 and 31, New Hampshire – June 6, Vermont – June 15 and New York – June 27 & 28. *****
The Lee Sportsmen’s Association will be holding a Basic Pistol Course on May 11 and May 18. The course cost is $100.00. To sign up, contact Larry Karlquist at (413) 442-7807. *****
The Lenox Sportsmen’s Club is holding a Chicken, Sausage and Polenta dinner fund raiser this Friday evening. Doors open at 5 PM and dinner is served at 6:30 PM. Tickets cost $15 per person. *****
According to MassWildlife, some 1,130 turkeys were harvested the first week of spring turkey season. The weather is great, the birds are gobbling, and there is plenty of season left (season ends on May 23). They urge you to get out there.
Last week I mentioned that brothers Owen and Travis Bush each bagged a bird during the Lee Youth Turkey Hunt. Their picture is shown above.