Joshua Christman has been named the 2016 Angler of the Year in the Adult Catch & Keep category. During the year, he caught and received pins for 17 species of freshwater fish, a new record in that category. The species were: Bowfin, Brook Trout, Brown Trout, Bullhead, Carp, Chain Pickerel, Channel Catfish, Crappie, Largemouth Bass, Northern Pike, Rainbow Trout, Smallmouth Bass, Sunfish(Rock Bass), Tiger Trout, Walleye, White Perch and Yellow Perch.
He will receive a gold pin and trophy for catching the largest Tiger Trout which measured 17 inches in the Catch & Release Category, a 6 lb 10 oz Bowfin and a Rock Bass which weighed 1 lb 9 oz. ( In Massachusetts, a Rock Bass is classified as a Sunfish).
This is the first time the Angler of the Year trophy will be awarded to a Berkshire County angler. “That’s because the anglers in Berkshire County have a disadvantage”, says Christman. “There are not as many species of fish available here. For example there are no catfish, walleyes, landlocked salmon or lake trout in the Berkshires.” Joshua learned to catch them through his Facebook friends, through Massfishing4life. There are about 3,200 members scattered statewide, and some of them provided pointers such as bait selection, tackle, water bodies, etc.
Joshua works 40 hours a week and has two children, so most of his fishing takes place at night. When asked if he will have any of his fish mounted, he said that he will probably not. He encourages anglers not to kill the fish just to have them mounted. He usually only kills a fish if he intends to eat it. He encourages anglers to get replica mounts of their large fish.
There are two other angler award categories, the Youth Catch and Keep and the Catch & Release categories.
Jason Bunar of Kingston, MA was named the Youth Catch & Keep Angler of the Year. He caught18 species, also a new state record: Bowfin, Brook Trout, Brown Trout, Bullhead, Carp, Chain Pickerel, Channel Catfish, Crappie, Largemouth Bass, Rainbow Trout, Shad, Smallmouth Bass, Sunfish, Tiger Trout, Walleye, White Catfish, White Perch and Yellow Perch.
Michael Nee, of Northborough, MA was named the Catch & Release Angler of the Year. He also caught 18 species and set a new record in that category. He received pins for: Brook Trout, Brown Trout, Bullhead, Carp, Chain Pickerel, Channel Catfish, Crappie, Landlocked Salmon, Largemouth Bass, Northern Pike, Rainbow Trout, Shad, Smallmouth Bass, Sunfish, Tiger Trout, White Catfish, White Perch and Yellow Perch.
In our local waters, the following gold pin/trophy fish were caught: Joshua’s bowfin came out of Onota Lake, his Rock Bass out of the Housatonic River in Pittsfield and his Tiger Trout out of Goose Pond. A 24 lb 14 oz Northern Pike was taken out of Onota Lake by Shaun Klammer of Adams. He also got a gold pin in the Catch & Release category for catching a 43 inch Northern Pike out of Onota Lake.
In the Youth Catch & Keep category, the following gold pin catches were made: Cooper Shepardson of Lenox Dale caught a 23 lb 9 oz Carp out of the Housatonic River in Lenox Dale. Zachary Buccigross of Abington, MA caught a 14 lb 10 oz Northern Pike out of the Housatonic River in Sheffield. Troy Michalak of Lanesborough caught a 1 lb 13 oz White Perch out of Pontoosuc Lake. James Najimy of Savoy caught a 1 lb 10 oz Yellow Perch out of Bog Pond in Savoy. Incidentally, Madison Sniezek, of Peru, caught an 8 lb 11 oz Lake Trout out of the Quabbin Reservoir.
In the Catch & Release Category, John Lander of Pittsfield caught a gold pin Brown Trout measuring 28 inches out of Onota Lake.
Last year there were two state record fish caught. William Roy of Palmer, MA caught a 25 lb 7 oz Lake Trout out of the Quabbin Reservoir. Val Percuoco of Leominster, MA caught a 3 lb 8 oz White Perch out of Wachusett Reservoir in West Boylston, MA. Readers may recall articles and pictures of these anglers and fish in this column last year.
Congratulations to all of these anglers who had a memorable year of freshwater fishing. They will be awarded their trophies later at a time and place to be announced by MassWildlife. For more information about the Sportsfishing Awards Program, click onto the MassWildlife web page.
Basic hunter education courses
First-time hunters who wish to purchase a Massachusetts hunting or sporting license must complete a Basic Hunter Education course. This course is designed for first-time hunters and is standardized across North America.
The following local Basic Hunter Education courses are scheduled as follows: Pittsfield High School, 300 East Street, Pittsfield, March 7, 9, 14, 16, 21 and 23. Cheshire Rod & Gun Club, 310 Curran Road, Cheshire, February 20, 24, 27, March 3, 6 and 10. Both are 6 class sessions which run from 6 to 9 PM. You must attend all class dates and times to successfully complete the course.
If you are interested in this course and wish to enroll, call 508-389-7830. Students are enrolled first-come, first-served, and enrollment cannot be processed via email. *****