Paraplegic hunters enjoy another special day


According to Trina Moruzzi, MA Division of Fisheries & Wildlife Supervisory Biologist and Paraplegic Deer Hunt Coordinator, sixteen hunters participated statewide in the paraplegic hunts which were held on November 2 through 4. Three deer were harvested, all bucks- one in Southern Berkshires, one at Devens and one at Otis/Edwards. This translates to a 19% success rate for this year’s hunt. In the past five years, these hunters have averaged around a 25% harvest success rate.
Here in the Berkshires, six hunters participated this year – four in the southern and two in the northern Berkshires sites.
The southern Berkshires folks hunted in the Mount Washington area and it was coordinated out of the DCR Headquarters there. Fred Lampro and Mark Portiere headed it up this year. The hunters were: Sidney Eichstedt of Lee, Greg Baumli of New Lebanon, NY, Steve Gladding of Westfield, MA and Vyto Sablevicius of Norwich, MA. Helpers included: Shaun Smith, Brian Ingerson, Marc Portieri, Greg Arienti, Rick Thelig, Tom Dean, Paul Antonozzi, Fred Lampro, Al Vincent, Paul Mullins and Chuck Pickert, all from the Berkshires or northern Connecticut.
For the 9th year in a row, Chuck Pickert brought his trailer-mounted smoker/grill and cooked breakfasts and lunches for the three days. Tricia Vollmer made the fish chowder and other individuals also prepared the desserts and other food needed for the three-day event. A lot of friends who own restaurants and businesses donated food and condiments. I intentionally arrived there on Friday, just before lunch. On that day, the lunch menu was: homemade fish chowder, smoked pot roast, smoked Vidalia onion gravy, Luau baked beans (with pineapple) and home-made desserts. The day before, Pickert prepared a smoked pork loin lunch.

So how did the hunt go this year? A button buck was taken the first day by Sidney Eichstedt. Over the last 20 years that he has been participating in the paraplegic hunt, he has taken 14 deer. Three of the four other hunters saw deer. I didn’t get to see the deer as it was already cut up.

The volunteers are amazing. They did a lot of prep work by scouting several areas and placing trail cameras to see where the best deer activity was. They analyzed the pictures to determine the best places in which to place the hunters. They set up wooden ramps on which to place the wheelchairs, transported the hunters to the locations and helped to drive the deer toward the hunters. If a hunter shot a deer, they tracked it, field dressed it and dragged it to the hunter’s van. In Sidney’s case, one of the volunteers even drove the deer to a butcher to be cut up that evening.

This year, one of the hunters and his volunteers encountered two other deer hunters who planned to hunt the same area. When they learned that paraplegic hunters wanted to hunt the area, they graciously left the woods with no hard feelings.

The two hunters at the Northern Berkshires site were: Dale Bailey of Clarksburg and Shawn Mei of Baldwinville, MA. Volunteer included Rick French, Alex Daigle, Tony Mei, Stacy Sylvester, and J. Sylvester. They hunted in the Williamstown area but had no luck.
DFW Western District Manager Andrew Madden and his staff of Nate Buckhout, Jacob Morris-Siegel, Derek McDermott and Ray Bressette were on hand at both sites to help out and check in the deer.

“Since 1972, this hunt has provided thousands of hours of recreational opportunities for paraplegic sportsmen and women and I am proud to be part of it.” said Moruzzi. She noted that volunteers are integral to the program and thanked them all for their enthusiasm and commitment. There is some concern that the numbers of hunters taking advantage of the paraplegic hunt have been dwindling, mainly due to their aging or passing away. If you are a paraplegic sportsman or sportswoman interested in participating in the 2018 hunt, contact Trina Moruzzi at trina.moruzzi@state.ma.us or call (508) 389-6318.
Incidentally, the definition for paraplegic per 321 CMR 2.06 states: “(b) Paraplegic: A Division (MassWildlife) application form completed by the applicant and an attestation on the form by a physician that the applicant is a person who has total paralysis of the lower half of the body, or a condition that prevents any use of the lower limbs.”
2017 Tri-Club Champions
Congratulations to the Sheffield Sportsmen’s Club which won the 2017 Tri-Club Championship Skeet Tournament. The scores were: Sheffield Sportsmen’s Club: 1350, Stockbridge Sportsmen’s Club: 1348, and Lee Sportsmen’s Association: 1216
Lee Donsbough was the high scorer for Sheffield. The “Iron Man Shoot” at Sheffield was won by Buddy Atwood. High trap was won by Mike DiGiovani and high skeet was won by Ryan Simmons. The 50 5-Stand, 25 Skeet and 25 Trap are shot in this contest.

Shotgun Deer Hunting Revisions
Shotgun deer hunting season will be starting on November 27. A new regulation revision is that hunters must check in their deer at a deer checking station the first week, but can check their deer on-line during the second week of shotgun deer season.

Also, DFW Western District Supervisor Madden recently reported that there is a new deer checking station in East Otis. It is Papa’s Healthy Food & Fuel, 2000 East Otis Road, Otis, MA, 413-269-7779. It will be open for the first week of Shotgun Season only with the special hours: from November 27 through December 2, 2017, Monday through Saturday from 10am to 6pm.

Shortnose Sturgeon
In August, near the Vernon Dam, in Vernon, VT, an angler caught and released alive a shortnose sturgeon. This is the first confirmed case of a shortnose sturgeon living above the Turners Falls, MA Dam. It was thought that the dam and the natural waterfall there had always been the limit of where these fish lived in the river. This is exciting news for the sturgeon, which is endangered in the Connecticut River.

However, this also has implications for the hydroelectric facilities in the region, particularly the Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage facility. It’s critical that their equipment function in a way that does not harm these fish. And the problem with Northfield Mountain is there’s not any protection against fish – big or small – from being drawn into the intake pipes.

The Connecticut River Conservancy (CRC), which issued this news release, was already on top of the problems with the intake pipes before the shortnose sturgeon was caught. It will be even more committed to ensuring that this problem be fixed when the new FERC hydro licenses are issued.

Benches dedicated in honor of Darey and Wislocki


Last Sunday afternoon, members of the Gould Meadows Restoration Committee held a ceremony at the waterfront of Gould Meadows on Stockbridge Bowl to dedictate two benches in honor of George Darey and George Wislocki. They were honored for their hard work and dedication enabling the transfer of land from the Gould Family to the Town of Stockbridge back in 1981.
After short talks by both men, paper weight plaques were presented to them with the same wording as on their benches: “To George”Gige” Darey/George Wislocki In recognition of George’s work in regard to the purchase and sale agrement from the Gould Family to the Town of Stockbridge in 1981” A toast of bubbly was presented by Tim Minkler of Interlaken, with the words “ “Hail! Hail! The two Georges for all their efforts preserving this land for future generations!”.
According to a historical note prepared by Wislocki, there were plans back in 1981to subdivide the 94.8 acre meadow into building lots. Committee member Minkler remembered that there were plans to build 60 homes on this land. “If this development had ever taken place, we could have seen 60 mega mansions on this land polluting Stockbridge Bowl. Thank God the two Georges stepped up to the plate to save this beautiful tract of land.” he said. (Darey was a member of the Lenox Board of Selectmen and MA Fish & Wildlife Board at the time and Wislocki was the Executive Director of the Berkshire Natural Resources Council).
In 1979, when Darey got wind that the Gould Meadows was going to be put on the market, he contacted Stockbridge Selectwoman Mary V. Flynn and soon thereafter a meeting was called. At that meeting it was decided that the Town of Stockbridge should attempt to secure an agreement to purchase the property from the estate of Lee Higginson Gould for the sum of $250,000.
The plan was to seek a grant from the State’s Division of Conservation Services for 50% of the cost and a second grant of 25% from the US Department of Interior. The remaining 25% was to be raised through a private fund drive. The Friends of Gould Meadows was formed to raise these funds.
The Boston Symphony Orchestra donated $22,000 . Other major contributors included the Laurel Hill Society and the Stockbridge Bowl Association. Joseph Kruger of Camp Mah-Kee-Nac contributed greatly and rallied the Bowl’s summer residents as well. During the next 24 months the Friends raised over $62,500 from 492 contributors with most of the credit for raising the monies going to Flynn whose affection for these lands appeared boundless.
George Wislocki attended to securing the State and Federal grants. State Senators Fitzpatrick and Webber as well as State Representative Duffin supported the endeavor. Unfortunately, there was a glitch. President Reagan’s Interior Secretary James Watt “froze” the entire allocation of the Land and Water Conservaion Fund with the consequence that the “federal share” came into doubt. Committee Co-Chair Henry Williams and Jack Fitzpatrick urged Congressman Silvio O. Conte to override Watt’s efforts.
However, it was not necessary as Rep. Duffin and Sen. Webber filed a bill in Massachusetts General Court which amended the State’s Open Space Grants Program. It was approved and the State could then contribute up to 80% of the purchase price of conservation land to be acquired by towns.
At its March 9, 1981 Town Meeting, the voters approved the necessary bonding authorization to acquire the property and keep it forever conservation lands. On August 19 of that year, a ceremony was held at Gould Meadows to honor Selectwoman Mary Flynn’s contribution to the purchase. A single oak tree was planted in the middle of the meadow and Bishop Leo O’Neil of Springfield blessed it. Governor King flew in by helicopter and music was provided by a small gathering of Tanglewood musicians. Beneath the tree a small plaque was installed which read: “This tree shall be known throughout time as the Mary Flynn Oak. Her wisdom, political skills and love of Stockbridge served to protect these meadows.”
The plaque has disappeared but the oak remains. Arthur Dutil of Stockbridge kept a watchful eye on the tree, watering and trimming it, and now it is sturdy and healthy. Every summer Gary Johnston of Interlaken mows the meadows around it. The Gould Meadows Restoration Committee is at the meadow most every Saturday morning doing various tasks. Volunteer helpers are always welcomed. Contact Tim Minkler at (413)644-3590 (w) or (413)298-4630 (h) if you wish to help out.
As Wislocki commented, the project wasn’t dominated by wealthy people but rather ordinary people and sportsmen who loved the Berkshires.
Talk about a beautiful meadow. It is on the southeast side of Rte 183, across from Kripalu.with signage and a small parking area. Access is free and open to the public. There are about 95 acres of open meadows and woods with around 1,000 feet of frontage on Stockbridge Bowl which comprises the area between the Tanglewood and Kripalu beaches.
Congratulations and many thanks to the two Georges!
Shad study
According to a recent news release, MassWildlife is teaming up with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Vermont Fish and Wildlife, and New Hampshire Fish and Game to better understand juvenile American shad production in the Connecticut River. The study focuses on 3 major dammed sections of the river.
Forage fish like American shad are important prey resources for numerous freshwater predators popular with anglers, including small and largemouth bass, walleye, and channel catfish. However, little is currently known about juvenile shad production.
Using electrofishing sampling, biologists are learning about the relationship between the number of juvenile shad and the number of adult shad returning to the river to spawn. This coordinated effort will help biologists understand which areas of the Connecticut River have a higher supply of prey fish for predators and where anglers may find better fishing opportunities. Data may also be used to inform relicensing of dams and provide perspective on how current shad production compares to historical populations which existed before dams were installed.
East Branch Westfield River
If any anglers are wondering why the fishing isn’t that great this fall in the East Branch of the Westfield River, there is a reason. MassWildlife decided to skip stocking the river this fall due to the low water conditions.

Labrador trip came close to a washout

Last week I wrote about the Alberta, Canada flyfishing trip that Allen Gray, Paul Knauth and I took a few weeks ago. If you recall from my September 24, 2017 column, good flyfishing buddy Attorney Michael Shepard of Dalton returned to flyfish in Labrador with 8 other anglers most of whom he had fished with in Quebec and Labrador before. Last year, you may recall, they fished the Minipi River system. This time the anglers fished out of Igloo Lake Lodge on Igloo Lake, a different river system. Like last year, Mike Miller of Athol, MA arranged the trip.
While we arrived in our cottage in Blairmore, Alberta the same day we left home, Mike’s trip was a bit more entailed. They first had to drive to the airport in Montreal, Canada on Wednesday, August 16 and spend the night there. They flew out the next morning with a stop in Halifax, Nova Scotia before landing in Goose Bay, Labrador. They spent that night in Goose Bay and then flew out (by float plane) to Igloo Lake arriving on Friday. When they returned, they did the same, with one exception which I will get into later.
Mike’s fishing partner on this trip was William Waite (Bill) from Westminster, MA (You may recall him from my article last year. He was the least experienced flyfisherman who caught the largest brook trout (8 lbs). Remember? His guide had forgotten the net and had to net it with a 5-gallon pail.)
Igloo Lake is located about 70 miles southeast of Goose Bay. Jim Burton is the owner of two lodges on that lake. According to Mike S., the facilities were beautiful, the boats were topnotch, his guide was the best he ever fished with and the food was restaurant quality. The lodges are located in one beautiful part of Labrador. Burton also owns a float plane which allows him to fly anglers out to other water bodies. There is a one mile stretch of river near the camp which flows into the lake, but the waters were low because of a drought there this past summer. The first day, Mike and Bill fished that stretch catching smaller trout.
The following day, Mike Miller and 3 others flew out to Char Lake, some 200 miles north of Igloo Lake to fish for Arctic Char. They congregate there during their spawning run. Because the float plane could only take 4 anglers at a time, Mike Shepard was scheduled to fly in on the second day. The anglers had phenomenal luck, catching some 80 char and sea run brook trout, many of them caught on char flies that Mike Shepard had tied for them. Well don’t you know, when it was Mike S.’s time to fly out the next day, there were 50 mph winds and the trip was postponed. Then came the rains and fog and a low ceiling. The nasty weather lasted for 3 days and Mike S. and Bill were never able to fly into Char Lake.) It was a big disappointment because Mike really wanted to catch an Arctic char on this trip.
While the other guys were fishing Char Lake, Mike S. and Bill fished the pond at the bottom of the nearby river and caught 6 or 7 pike averaging around 30 inches. Mike caught a 7 ½ lbs. brook trout.
The next day, they fished Burton Pond. To get there, they had a 30-minute boat ride across Igloo Lake and then trek 1 ½ miles across a peat bog. Burton Pond is a big lake, not connected to Igloo Lake, which runs into the Eagle River and ultimately to the North Atlantic. Mike S. and Bill trolled Zoo Cougers and green leech flies. They got into some 5-6 lbs. brook trout which were podding up and boated a dozen or so of those bruisers. Bill and Mike caught 17-18 northern pike in the 30-inch range in Igloo Lake using big green and purple bunny leeches.
On the last day at Burton Pond, Bill and Mike S. caught 22 brook trout all over 5 lbs. Bill caught 14 trolling and Mike caught 8. In the last hour of fishing, Mike proceeded to catch three 5-pound brookies, as well as a 6 and 7 pounder all on size 8 and 6 green drake dry flies.
Incidentally, all fish were released unharmed. They all had a very successful trip, wouldn’t you say?
On the August 25 return trip, they hit a snag. Their luggage was left behind in the Goose Bay airport. They had planned on spending the night in Montreal and enjoying a good meal; however, without their luggage, they didn’t even have a change of clothes. So, they drove home that evening. (Incidentally, Mike Shepard never got his luggage until September 25.)
There’s always potential drawbacks when you book a fishing trip to these hard to reach Canadian destinations. In order to reserve a spot, you have to book early, sometimes a year in advance, and you never know what conditions you will encounter when you get there. In Mike’s case, it was 3 solid days of wind and rain. If you recall, in our trip to Alberta, it was the fires that closed down our rivers. As they say, “You pays your money and you takes your chances”. (An old idiom with intentional grammatical errors).
At the time of this writing, there is another local angler on his way home from a Canadian fishing trip. Rex Channel of Pittsfield, who is a local fishing guide and owner of Allure-Outfitters. He actually fished Igloo Lake a couple of weeks before Mike and then headed west fishing all across Canada and parts of western US. Hopefully, I can write about his trip when he returns home.
Berkshire Natural History Conference
On Saturday, October 14, the 3rd Annual Berkshire Natural History Conference will feature presentations by local and regional naturalists, as well as acclaimed authors at the Berkshire Community College from 9 a.m.to 4 p.m. MassWildlife will have a table set up at the event, and retired MassWildlife Biologist Jim Cardoza will make a presentation on wild turkey conservation.
Watch out for moose
MassWildlife urges drivers to use caution because it’s mating season for moose. During September and October, moose become more active and cross roads more frequently. Also in May and June during yearling dispersals, when yearling moose are driven away by their mothers. Moose eyes rarely shine because their eyes are above headlight level and their dark color makes them very difficult to spot at night.
I’m sure readers are tired of reading this advisory year after year. However; as you know, each year we have an influx of new young, inexperienced drivers on our roads who may not have gotten the word. It’s a good time to talk about this with your new drivers.
Questions/comments: Berkwoodsandwaters@roadrunner.com. Phone: (413)637-1818

Attached is a picture of Attorney Michael Shepard with one of his large brook trout

Making the best of a fishing trip

Allen Gray of Pittsfield, Paul Knauth of Hinsdale and I recently spent 9 days flyfishing in south western Alberta, Canada. We were concerned even before we left that there would be fires all over the place out there. While flying into the Calgary, Alberta airport, the pilot commented that there was fair weather and there should be a smooth landing and that the only problem that we may encounter would be the smoke. We had also heard rumors that parts of Crowsnest Pass and Hillcrest, Alberta were being evacuated. (Upon arrival, we found that not to be true. Fake news!)
Driving the 2 ½ hours southwest to our cottage in Blairmore, Alberta, we could smell and see the smoke. We had intended to fish the Livingstone, Carbondale and Oldman Rivers, located in or near the Rocky Mountain Provincial Forest. But upon arrival, we quickly learned that these rives were closed to fishing in order to prevent the possibility of starting more fires. Not only were they closed, but also the roads which led to them. One person who owned land along a closed road told us that they had to have a permit just to get to their homes. They weren’t even allowed to ride their horses on their own property (presumably a ranch).
Our first morning, we went to the local fly shop to purchase some flies and fishing licenses. There we met other fishermen and guides and we all were facing the same problem….where to fish? Anglers were disappointed to learn that after traveling hundreds or thousands of miles to fish a particular river, it was closed. Prior to leaving home we knew that there were forest fires in Alberta, British Columbia and Montana, but we had already purchased airline tickets, rented a cottage, arranged for a car rental, etc., well in advance and we would lose the down payments. So,we took our chances and went anyway.
Susan Douglas-Murray, co-owner of the Crowsnest Café and Fly Shop said that basically there were only 2 nearby rivers which we could fish that were still open, the Crowsnest River and the Castle River. We had known about these rivers from past trips, but we usually bypassed them in favor of the more popular Livingstone and Oldman Rivers, where we could catch West Slope Cutthroat Trout. Because all of the visiting anglers were referred to these same two rivers we expected to see shoulder to shoulder fishermen on them.
We needn’t have worried for these rivers are large and cover great distances with plenty of room for everyone. If we wanted to, we could have fished over 25 miles of the Crowsnest River, a beautiful river which flows through farms, grasslands and several towns.
On our first two days, we fished the Castle River, another gorgeous river. Paul and Allen had decent luck but I lost two giant rainbow trout that broke my leaders. We were fishing in 88 degree weather those days with no shade to speak of. It was definitely hat dunking weather.
For most of the remaining days, we fished the Crowsnest River, a river that is virtually loaded with rainbow trout, some of them really large. They were very frisky trout, nothing like the hatchery- reared rainbows around here. Paul phrased it accurately, “You hook into one of those large rainbows and after jumping a few times, they settle onto the river bottom and say, c’mon angler, let’s have at it”. One behemoth broke three of his tandem fly rigs before he finally landed it. Same thing happened to me. I lost 5 of those big rainbows, the likes of which the world has never….. before I could land one. Allen lost a couple of the big ones, too, before landing some. Although they would leap 3 or 4 times, we were able to handle the smaller rainbows, but the big ones gave us serious trouble.
During our entire stay, we could smell and see the smoke from distant fires and hear the sounds of helicopters ferrying firefighters and equipment somewhere. There was one day we were fishing in what appeared to be a snowstorm, but it was actually falling ashes. We never saw the normal color of the sun, for it was always orange or red caused by the smoke. At times it looked like a big balloon in the air. Fortunately, it wasn’t a choking type of smoke and the days were usually gorgeous.
There were a couple of days when the wind was horrific, making it difficult to place your fly where you wanted it. Once while crossing a river, a sustained strong wind came up which almost blew me over. I grabbed my hat and stuffed it into my shirt, while bracing against the wading staff. The wind was so strong that it bent my flyrod like I had a fighting fish on. Trying to handle the river current, strong wind, hat, fly rod and cigar was a chore. Something had to go and it was the cigar. I watched that expensive cigar float down the river. It cost darn near a buck.
In the evenings before dinner, we would sit out on the deck, have a drink and look at the Canadian Rockies, or at least what we could see of them through the smoke. Then we would enjoy a delicious meal expertly prepared by Allen.
In the mornings we made our sandwiches and headed for the fly shop. One morning as we entered the shop, one of the fishermen there pointed to Paul and said to the others, “That’s him!” The day before he happened to see Paul land a large trout and agreed to take a picture of him holding it. Paul became an instant celebrity whose advice was sought. Even the resident professional fishing guide who was in the shop that morning wanted to know what flies he used. They were quietly huddled over the fly selection as Paul advised the guide which ones to use.
It started to get chilly the last couple of days with rain and hail and temperatures in the low 30’s, but that didn’t deter us from fishing to the end. I doubt any of us were overly upset at not fishing our intended rivers because we discovered great new fishing areas.
The memorable 10-day fishing trip cost less than $2,500 per person and that included our food which probably shouldn’t be included in the cost as one has to eat somewhere anyways. If you decide to go there someday, be sure to stop at the Crowsnest Café and Fly Shop and Susan will steer you to some fantastic fishing waters.

Summer fisheries research wrapped up

Each summer, MassWildlife fisheries biologists take to the water to sample the Commonwealth’s rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds for fish. Biologists gather information on fish species at each location in order to evaluate the quality of recreational fishing opportunities and to monitor overall ecosystem health. Waterbodies are typically surveyed on a 10–15 year rotation to track changes in fish communities over time.
Large rivers sampled this summer included the Bass, Chicopee, Concord, Coonamessett, Herring, Hoosic, Housatonic, Manhan, Nashua, North Branch of the Nashua, Quaboag, and Swift rivers. Over twenty lakes and ponds were also sampled across the Commonwealth. One of the many highlights of the summer sampling effort was an encounter with hundreds of healthy trout in the Swift River – including a 17 lb., 33″ Brown Trout!
Fish are collected through electrofishing by boat, barge, or backpack. Electrofishing equipment consists of a small generator and control box used to produce a small, localized electrical field in the water. Fishes within the field are stunned just long enough to be captured with a net and placed into a live well. Biologists then identify, weigh, and measure the fish before returning them back to the water. Temperature, pH, conductivity, and other information about the waterbody are also recorded.
Fisheries biologists use this data to evaluate the health of fish populations. Fish health is assessed by calculating a ratio of weight to length, known as condition factor. Fish that weigh more than average for any given length are considered in good condition. Fish lengths can also be used to approximate age classes. By noting the relative number of individuals in each age class, biologists can determine if species are recruiting younger individuals into the population and assess reproductive success. The health of fish populations within a particular lake or stream can then be compared to other waterbodies in the state.
Massachusetts anglers can use the information collected in these surveys to learn more about fishing opportunities in a particular area. MassWildlife has also been hard at work collecting new bathymetry data in lakes and ponds, which will be released to the public as a paired depth map with pond information like depth, fish summaries, and access and ramp information.
Fall trout stocking
According to MassWildlife, more than 60,000 rainbow trout that are 12 inches or longer will be stocked across Massachusetts this fall. Fall stocking season should begin about now and be completed by the second week of October depending on water temperatures. Anglers will be able to view daily stocking reports by visiting Mass.gov/Trout. Anglers can search for a specific waterbody or town using the sortable list, or explore new fishing spots with the map feature.

Oh, the unrelenting pressure to go fishing
I turn 75 in a couple of months and that will qualify me for grumpy old man status. (Although my wife Jan will tell you that I reached that landmark decades ago.) With that age comes the realization that there are lots more fishing days in my past, than in my future. Probably it’s time to sit out on the stoop and recollect those wonderful angling days. It will be a time to reflect on those 7-inch trout caught from little neighborhood streams many years ago to the culmination of catching 7+lbs brook trout in Labrador last year amidst some of the most scenic areas in the Western Hemisphere.

I wouldn’t have gone on that Labrador fishing trip last year if it wasn’t for fishing buddy Attorney Mchael Shepard of Dalton. He kept twisting my arm to make one more trip north. To ease the pain from the arm twisting, I relented and went on that last trip north. I’m glad I did for there were some memorable fish caught there. That trip provided more memories to ponder while sitting on the stoop. Mike once again tried to get me to go on another trip to Labrador this year with many of the same anglers that went last year, but I had fortitude, held back the tears and politely declined. Besides, my arm hasn’t fully recovered…..nor my pocketbook.

Well, don’t you know, recently a couple of other close fishing buddies, Paul Knauth of Hinsdale and Allen Gray of Pittsfield started twisting my arm again, this time to go fishing with them in Alberta, Canada. Yes, to once again see the breathtaking Canadian Rockies and to catch the beautiful west slope cutthroat trout that inhabit the foothills. But really, I told them, I’m not sure my legs can take the punishment of wading those large beautiful rivers, and I am not as steady on my feet as I used to be.

But the arm twisted persisted …intensely……on my casting arm, too. Resist as much as I did, there was one logical point that I could not overcome. I am a God-fearing man and they took advantage of that by quoting some passage from somewhere that goes something like this: “God does not deduct from man’s allotted time here on earth those hours spent fishing.” I don’t recall reading that in the Bible, but, if God indeed said that, I should heed His words. I decided that to prolong my life it was probably best if I went fishing with those guys. I didn’t want to leave Jan a widow sooner than I had to. I hope she appreciates that.

So, when you are reading these words, I should be home from that fishing trip. Hopefully the trip was a safe and enjoyable one, the forest fires abated and those grizzly bears up there didn’t remember me from the last trip. Hopefully, I wasn’t dragged down an airplane aisle bloodied, screaming and kicking. And, hopefully my arm will make a full recovery. I’ll let you know how the trip went perhaps in next week’s column.

Do fish feel pain?

That’s the age-old question about which we anglers wonder. Some folks say yes while others say no. We anglers certainly wouldn’t want to inflict pain on our finny friends for we love them too much. If fish did feel pain, I doubt any of us would quit fishing because of it, but we certainly would feel better if pain was avoided.
The aquatic biologists at MassWildlife say this: “The best that modern science can tell us is that it’s unlikely that fish can feel much, if any, pain. They assert that that the brains of vertebrate animals vary greatly, and those of cold blooded animals like fish, frogs, snakes and lizards are simpler than warm-blooded vertebrate animals like birds and mammals. In fact, fish have the simplest brains of all vertebrates. So, the question really comes down to brain development.
The human brain is highly developed (the most complex of all vertebrates) and has specialized regions within the cerebral hemispheres for pain activation (a conscious awareness for the generation of the pain experience) whereas a fish’s brain is primitive by comparison, and has no specialized regions for pain. Basically, a fish is a brainstem-dominated organism, while the existence of humans and other more complex animals is dominated by the cerebral hemispheres -highly developed areas to the brain where pain Is processed.
Observing a fish’s behavior upon being hooked, one could conclude that the fish is experiencing pain. However, the fish is actually demonstrating a flight response, no differently from if it were trying to evade a predator. This is a protective reaction, and can occur from a range of stimuli associated with predators or other threats to which a fish automatically and quickly responds.
So, while the fish isn’t likely to be experiencing pain or fear when it is hooked, this doesn’t mean that it will not become stressed from the experience; we know that stress hormones are released during such times. Too much of this stress could harm the fish either initially or shortly thereafter. So, if it is your desire to practice “catch-and-release,” it’s a good idea not to play the fish out completely, to handle it as little as possible and to return it to the water in short order.”
Well, that’s certainly good news. One thing that is disturbing to me is that if the fish has such a simple brain, why is it so hard for me to fool it into biting one of my elaborately prepared and presented trout flies? I have spent thousands of dollars on equipment and endless hours trying to catch fish with a brain no larger than a pea.
As long as we are on the subject of our finny friends, MassWildlife also has recommendations for releasing fish. They recommend that if you are not going to have your fish mounted or not going to eat it, get it back into the water as quickly and with the least amount of handling as possible. They claim that the best way to release a fish is to do so without removing it from the water at all. They remind us that fish have a slimy mucus coating so when you have to handle them, remember to wet your hands first.
They advise us to never pick up a fish by the gills because it can damage them, and, if you plan to release the fish, gill damage eventually kills. Also, you can cut your hands on the gill plates of some fish and chewed up by others. Again, when you release a fish, do so quickly and with care. Don’t let the fish flop around in a boat or on the bank. A properly released fish can live to grow, thrive and potentially be caught again.
This useful information was obtained from the latest Massachusetts Division of Fisheries &Wildlife Fishing Guide. It’s 26 pages are packed with useful information such as fishing and our aquatic resources, frequently asked fishing questions, information on rods and reels, learning to cast, fishing knots, how to fish with live bait and the use of bobbers and weight, using artificial baits and lures, fish anatomy, fish senses, setting the hook, playing, landing and handling the fish, temperature references of fish, limits imposed, a basic fishing glossary and more.
It is a great fishing resource, is free and can be obtained at your nearest DFW Regional Headquarters.

Sunfish revisited
Say, remember my article a couple of weeks ago regarding sunfishes? Well, Bob Gageant of North Adams read it and offered some more information. He was fishing Goose Pond some time back with a friend and they were fishing a tree lined shady shore. They started catching some interesting looking fish that day. They had a tab on their gills like a panfish, but they were about a foot long and shaped and striped like a bass.
He brought it to the attention of a DFW technician who thought that because the bass is a member of the sunfish family (which we noted in that column), that the fish that Bob was catching were likely the result of cross breeding between a female bass and a male sunfish. At the time, the technician said that while rare, they are not totally uncommon.

Recently, I discussed this with DFW Western District Supervisor Andrew Madden (who is an aquatic biologist) and Todd Richards who is the MassWildlife Assistant Director of Fisheries and also an aquatic biologist. Both felt that those fish were probably Green Sunfish. They can grow to one foot long and have been caught in Western Massachusetts. They believe that it is unlikely that a bass and a sunfish can cross breed.

Life preservers
Don’t forget that from September 15 to May 15 Massachusetts regulations require that anyone using a canoe or kayak must wear a life preserver. Not sit on it, but wear it.

State record Bowfin caught…twice

Readers may recall that in my August 6 column I reported that the then existing state record for the Bowfin fish was broken and a new record was established. The fish which was caught by 16-year old Tauri Adamczyk of Taunton and it came out of the Taunton River. It weighed 7 lbs 14oz measured 26 ½ inches and had a girth of 14 inches.

Well, guess what, that record was beaten and a new record was established at 8 lbs 1 oz, and, get this, it was set by two people, a father and son. On August 6, David Souza of Berkley, MA caught the first one which measured 27 3/8 inches long with a girth of 13 inches. On August 8, his son, 21-year old Jake caught another one which measured 26 ¾ inches and had a girth of 13 ¾ inches. Both fish were caught from a boat out of the Taunton River. Now, what are the chances of that, a million to one?

David caught his on an early sunny day. His fish was the best of 7 Bowfin that he caught that day and most averaged 4 to 7 lbs. Two days later Jake caught his around dusk with low light around the same area. Both were using live and sometimes dead bait. Catching and then tying the record breaker was the “climax of the whole experience”, said Dave. “We are very competitive anglers. This is a blessing for a father, it felt like we hit the lottery.” Dave feels that the record will be beat, for he has lost some bowfin even larger. He thinks that there are some 10+lbs Bowfins swimming around there, possibly even 12 lbs.

The record breaking Bowfins were officially weighed in at the DFW Field Headquarters in Sandwich, MA.

If Souza’s name sounds familiar, it could be because Jake was the 2012 Angler of the Year and the 2013 and 2014 Youth Angler of the Year. In 2012, he caught the gold pin Largemouth Bass weighing 9.7 lbs. (His mom, Deirdre had a replica of it made for him). In 2012, he caught the gold pin Brown Trout weighing 8.8 lbs. In 2013, he caught the gold pin Sunfish weighing 1.2 lbs. In 2015, Dave caught the gold pin White Catfish which weighed 6.7 lbs.

But wait, there’s more. Dave and Deirdre’s other son, 18-year old Luke caught the 2014 gold pin Crappie weighing 2.3 lbs. Perhaps he will set the next record. Now wouldn’t that be something. (A gold pin is annually awarded by MassWildlife to the person who catches the largest fish in the Commonwealth of a particular species. It is a component of its Freshwater Sportsfish Awards Program)

Deirdre is very proud of her men and their accomplishments. I asked her if she fishes and she said that she loves going out with them ice fishing. She likes to skate and do the cooking while they are on the ice.

The Souzas. What a wonderful angling family.

Trapper Education Course
This course is being offered in an alternative format known as Independent Study. In independent study, students are guided by an instructor team and take the same course as students in a traditional course but will work independently to complete some of the work on their own. This essential homework is only part of the course. Students must also attend two class sessions as well.

A Trapper Hunter Education Course is being offered at the Lee Sportsman’s Association, 565 Fairview Street, Lee on September 19 and 30. The times are: 9/19 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm and on; 9/30 from 8:00am to 2:30pm. If you are interested in this course and wish to enroll, call 508-389-7830 immediately; students are enrolled first-come, first-served, and enrollment cannot be processed via email. When calling, provide your Notification ID: 48700.

If the above course is not suitable, an additional Trapper Education course is being offered in Hadley, MA on September 20 and October 1, 2017. Course listings can be found online at:
http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dfg/dfw/education-events/hed/trapper-education-courses.html

Early Canada Goose Hunting Season
On September 5, the Early Canada Goose hunting season opens up and runs until September 22. New this year for the Early Goose season only, the hunting hours are ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset. Previously one could only hunt until sunset. The daily bag limit is 7 birds per day. All the regulations regarding migratory bird hunting applies, such as the requirement for a HIP number, waterfowl stamps, the use of non-toxic shot (no lead) etc., apply. The new 2017-2018 migratory game bird regulations are available from MassWildlife.

Black Bear Hunting
The First Season of Black Bear Hunting opens on September 5 and runs through September 23. A hunting or sporting license and bear permit is required for all seasons. Hunters may use rifles, handguns, muzzleloaders or archery during the First Season. The Second Season runs from November 6 through November 25. During that season, one can hunt with a rifle, muzzleloader or archery only, handguns may not be used. Muzzleloaders and rifles cannot be used on Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) stocked with pheasant or quail during the pheasant or quail season. A hunter orange hat is required if you hunt on a WMA. The Shotgun Season runs from November 27 to December 9 and only muzzleloaders, archery and shotgun may be used. Hunters must wear 500 square inches of hunter orange on their head, chest, and back.
No hunting of any bird or animal is allowed on Sundays in Massachusetts.

Fishing Derbies
The Berkshire Hatchery Foundation in Hartsville-New Marlborough is having its last free children’s fishing derby of the year next Saturday, September 9, from 9 to 10:30am at its lower pond. Children aged 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult.

 

Think you know all of the freshwater fishes in Massachusetts?

 

Don’t answer that until you read the new MassWildlife brochure entitled Freshwater Fishes of Massachusetts. I don’t know about you, but I thought the only sunfish in Massachusetts were Bluegills (Lepomis Macrochirus) and Pumpkinseeds (Lepomis gibbosus). True, some classify the Crappie, Perch and Rock Bass as sunfish, but I don’t. Some others, including MassWildlife, categorize Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass as sunfish, but not me. I call them gamefish.

Well, according to the new MassWildlife brochure, there are also Banded Sunfish (Enneacanthus obesus), Redbreast Sunfish (Lepomis auritus) and Green Sunfish (Lepomis cyanellus) residing in the Commonwealth. In fact some have been caught here in the Western District. It also lists another kind of pickerel in Massachusetts called the Redfin Pickerel (Esox americanus) which only grows to a size of 6 to 10 inches and resides in the eastern part of the Commonwealth. Interestingly, in the Minnows family is listed the Common Carp (Ciprinus carpio). I don’t know about you, but I have a problem calling a 40 lbs carp a minnow!

This excellent new brochure, which is free at any DFW Regional Office, has excellent color pictures of them and other Massachusetts freshwater fish as well as other interesting information. Local DFW Aquatic Biologist Leanda Fontaine Gagnon had a hand in producing it.

New Natural Heritage Atlas
On August 1, 2017, the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (NHESP) released the 14th Edition of the Natural Heritage Atlas. The Atlas is used by project proponents, municipalities, and others for determining whether or not a proposed project or activity must be reviewed by the NHESP for compliance with the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act and the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act Regulations.
Updated Priority and Estimated Habitats will be posted on the Division’s website and made available electronically as a downloadable geographic information system (GIS) data layer. Additionally, the Division will provide the town-based Priority and Estimated Habitat maps to planning boards, building inspectors, and conservation commissions in municipalities where these areas have been delineated. See www.mass.gov/nhesp for more information, including the final maps and a summary response to the Priority Habitat public comments.
NHESP, part of the Massachusetts DFW, is one of the programs forming the Natural Heritage network. NHESP is responsible for the conservation and protection of hundreds of species that are not hunted, fished, trapped, or commercially harvested in the state, as well as the protection of the natural communities that make up their habitats. The Program’s highest priority is protecting the vertebrate and invertebrate animals and native plants that are officially listed as Endangered, Threatened or of Special Concern in Massachusetts.
The overall goal of the Program is the protection of the state’s wide range of native biological diversity.
Riverside Trails Seminar, Saturday, September 9
According to the Great Barrington Land Conservancy, Trail Building is a process that is , complex and rewarding especially in a riverfront area.
The GB Land Conservancy invites you to learn about the planning and implementation of riverside trails from expert trail builder, Peter Jensen. The seminar will run from 10:00am until noon.
Peter has been building trails for over 30 years, and the Great Barrington River Walk was one of his early projects. Attendees can learn how this National Recreation Trail grew from a garbage filled bank to a rehabilitated riverfront area and peaceful in-town walkway celebrating the beauty and history of Great Barrington and the Housatonic River.
Peter will share his expertise and trail building experiences in a power point presentation followed by a guided walk along River Walk. The seminar is free and open to the public. Participants will have an opportunity to talk to Peter about their own trail projects or riverside trail goals. Register as soon as possible as space is limited at info@gbtrails.org
This program is provided by Great Barrington Land Conservancy as part of the 2017 River Walk Community Programs.

Community Celebration Day, also September 9
From 10:00am until 4:00pm, the Berkshire Natural Resources Council will be having a Community Celebration Day at the Holiday Farms, 100 Holiday Cottage Road in Dalton, MA. There will be hay rides, guided walks, archery, fishing, birds of prey with Tom Ricardi and music all day. While registration is not required, they ask you to consider letting them know by registering and getting a free ticket.

Massachusetts Outdoor Exposition, Sunday, September 17
The Massachusetts Outdoor Expo, also known as The Big MOE is a free, family-friendly event designed to introduce young and old to wildlife and the outdoors. Attracting several thousand attendees annually, the Big MOE features a variety of skills stations, craft tables, and other exhibits relating to wildlife and the outdoors. This is your opportunity to try new outdoor skills and activities such as fishing, archery, kayaking, shooting, building a bird box, geocaching, mountain biking, nature arts and crafts. Visit a New England Pioneer Encampment, take a peek at live birds of prey and native reptiles, be part of a tree stand safety demonstration and get up close and personal at the 4-H petting zoo. Local sportsmen’s clubs, outdoor businesses, conservation organizations and state agencies sponsor most of the activity stations.
You may recall last year that the event was cancelled, presumably due to liability issues. Well, this year adults and youths will be required to sign a Liability Release Form. This form can be found at the Big Moe Fawns Expo website and you are asked to print it off beforehand and bring one per person with you.
The Big MOE location is the Hamilton Rod & Gun Club in Sturbridge, MA. Admission, parking and all activities are free. Convenient parking provided at the Sturbridge Business Park, 660 Main St., with free shuttle bus transportation. No pets or alcohol allowed, but food and drink are available for purchase.

Massachusetts has a new state record Bowfin

It weighed 7 lbs 14 oz and was caught Sunday evening, July 23, out of the Taunton River. 16-year-old Tauri Adamczyk, from Taunton, MA, caught that fish. The Bowfin was 26.5 inches long with a girth of 14 inches.
Fishing with her father Jeff from shore and using cut bait, she saw a little nibble on her line. When she picked up her pole and set the hook, the fish took off down the river. Tauri who was using a strong rod and line was able to work the fish back close to shore. It was then that they realized they had forgotten the net. Her father ran to the car and got it. He was sure happy to see that and the fish was still on Tauri’s line when he came back and netted it. They are undecided as to whether or not to have it mounted.
Tauri is no novice when it comes to catching Bowfins. In 2015, she received the MassWildlife gold pin for catching the largest Bowfin that year weighing 7 lbs 4 oz. (The gold pin is awarded to the largest fish of a particular species that year). That was the first year that the Bowfin was recognized by MassWildlife as a sportfish and became part of the Freshwater Sportfishing Awards Program. It replaced the Broodstock Salmon pin which was delisted as an eligible fish after the MassWildlife and the US Fish & Wildlife Service stopped stocking the Broodstocks into our waters. To be eligible for a pin (bronze or gold) a bowfin must weigh at least 6 lbs for adults and 4 lbs in the youth category.

In fact, 2015 was the year that she won the Youth Catch & Keep Angler of the Year. She won the award by catching the following “pin” fish: Bowfin out of the Taunton River, Taunton; Brook Trout, Hamblin Pond, Barnstable; Brown Trout, Grews Pond, Falmouth; Brown Trout, Long Pond, Plymouth; Bullhead, Snipatuit Pond, Rochester; Carp, Housatonic River, Lee; Carp, Charles River, Dedham; Chain Pickerel, Snake Pond, Sandwich; Crappie, Long Pond, Lakeville; Landlocked Salmon, Wachusett Reservoir, West Boylston; Largemouth Bass, Chartley Pond, Norton; Rainbow Trout, Cliff Pond, Brewster; Smallmouth Bass, Flax Pond, Brewster; Sunfish, Little Pond, Plymouth; Sunfish (another gold pin fish), Coonamessett Pond, Falmouth; Tiger Trout, Long Pond, Plymouth; White Perch, Snipatuit Pond, Rochester and Yellow Perch, out of Monponsett Pond, Halifax. Quite an accomplishment for a 14-year old kid. Tauri said that she has been fishing with her dad since she was a little girl.
So, you never heard of a Bowfin? Well, it’s a primitive fish in the Gar family. They go by other names such as, Dogfish, Grinnel, and Mud Fish. They are easily identifiable with a single dorsal fin that runs from mid body to the tail, large head, sharp teeth, two barbells projecting anteriorly from its nose, and a black spot near its round tail. They average from 1 to 5 lbs and 15 to 25 inches in length. The world record is 21 ½ lbs. They breathe under water through their gills, and breathe on the surface with their gas bladders. They are very aggressive weedy predators. They are considered rough fish and not recommended for the table, but perhaps you can smoke them.
According to Alan Richmond from the biology department of UMASS, only one species of the family Amiidae has survived over the millions of years and that is this one, the (Amia calva). They are native to the Mississippi River watershed but were first noticed in the Connecticut River drainage in the 1980’s. Now it lives mainly in the Connecticut and Taunton river drainage systems, although they have been caught right here in the backwaters of Onota Lake in Pittsfield. In fact, the first year that I began writing this column, I featured this fish in my May 9, 2004 column. John Valentine of Pittsfield a caught a 28-inch Bowfin out of Onota Lake. At that time, the DFW did not consider it a sportfish and recommended that you not release it back into the waters because it is not native to this area. They didn’t want them to spread in our local lakes and compete with our native fish. We can only speculate how these fish got into our waters, but some say they may have been the result of accidentally getting in with live bait that is imported from the south.
Catch & Release validated
Remember my July 23, 2017 article about 12-year old Nina from Queens, NY who caught that big bass in Ashmere Lake? If you recall, she was fishing with her 10-year old cousin Gage at Dave and Maggie Bimbane’s cottage on July 4 weekend when she caught the 18 inch, 2.5 lbs largemouth bass which was living under a boat dock. After catching and photographing it she released it.
Well, don’t you know, young Gage also caught an 18 inch, 2.5 lbs bass from under that same dock on July 26. According to grandparents Dave and Maggie, he remained calm and collected, in spite of the fact that his fishing pole was bent under that dock. After catching and also releasing the fish, Gage said, “Oh, I think I’m done for a while”.
Dave and Maggie feel that the same fish was caught by both children……and so do I. That being the case, what better testimony for the concept of Catch & Release than this. If you are not going to mount or eat your catch, then release it and let someone else experience the excitement and joy that you got when you caught it.
Young Gage may not realize it now, but he sure owes his cousin Nina a huge thank you.
Questions/comments: Berkwoodsandwaters@roadrunner.com. Phone: (413) 637-1818.

 

Kids fishing with little fish sometimes catch lunkers

 

Over the Fourth of July weekend, 12-year old Nina from Queens, NY was visiting her grandparents Dave and Maggie Bimbane on Ashmere Lake in Hinsdale. She was netting some small “baby” sunfish along the shoreline with her 10-year old cousin Gage. She decided to rig the sunfish onto a fishhook and toss it out near their dock. She saw a nice largemouth bass follow the bait and attack it. According to grandpa Dave, there was a lot of excitement (screaming and yelling) when they tried to net the bass. It was too big for their net but she was able to land it anyway.

Nina went through the decision of either mounting it as a trophy or cooking it. She finally decided that it had lived all these years and it should be set free, which she did. Grandpa Dave is really proud of young Nina. “It was a great choice for a 12-year old person.” he said. That fish may provide great pleasure to another angler in the future and maybe that angler will also release it.

The bass measured 18 inches long and weighed 2.5 lbs. Looks heavier than that, don’t you think? I’ve got a feeling that she will do more visiting and a lot more fishing up at the lake in the future.

It never ceases to amaze me. Most bass fishermen fish with rubber worms, lures, plugs, spinner baits, etc. They probably have hundreds of dollars invested in their equipment. I wonder if they remember their younger days when they would simply hook a small bait to the red and white bobber and cast it out. Kids sure caught a lot of fish in those days using that method. I don’t remember practicing “Catch & Release” back then, because we fished for food.

In addition to the small fish, we would fish with what we called crabs (crayfish), perch bugs (dragonfly nymphs) and any other wiggly pinching critter that we caught along the shorelines and riverbanks.

Basic Hunter Education Courses
All first-time hunters who wish to purchase a Massachusetts hunting or sporting license must complete a Basic Hunter Education course. One will be taught at the Ashfield Rod & Gun Club, 161 North Street, Plainfield, MA, on August 3 and August 19. The times are 6:00 to 9:30pm on August 3 and 8:00 am to 3:30 pm on August 19.

The second course will be taught at the Pittsfield High School, 300 East Street, Pittsfield. The dates are September 5, 7, 12, 14, 19 and 21 from 6:00 to 9:00pm.

Participants must attend all class dates and times to successfully complete the course. To enroll, call (508)389-7830.

Land Acquisitions
Recently, MassWildlife completed three Western District land projects. All three of them built on existing land holdings and enhanced access for sportsmen while protecting a diversity of
habitat.

The first one was the acquisition of 24 acres of land located within the Long Mountain Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Otis. Based upon topo maps, it appears to be between Angerman Swamp and Hayden Swamp and to the east of the boundary with Beartown State Forest near the Tyringham town border. There does not appear to be any ready access to it, but the closest road appears to be Stebbens Road in Otis. There is no informational write-up of the property available yet.

The second one was the acquisition of 24 acres of land abutting the Chalet WMA in Lanesborough. It is between the Chalet WMA and the Boulders Wildlife Conservation Easement area with access from Gulf Road. There is limited parking space (2 cars) nearby on Gulf Road. The Chalet WMA has over 6,400 acres within its boundaries.

The third one was the acquisition of 66 acres abutting the Ram Hill WMA in Chesterfield, MA. Access to the area is off of Route 143, across from Dead Swamp. Sorry, there is no informational write-up of the property available yet. This increases the acreage of Ram Hill WMA to 244 acres.

Incidentally, much of the information about the WMA’s was obtained from MassWildlife’s Wildlands Web Viewer where one can find out information about all of the WMA’s and other preserved lands. There are three base maps of the properties: USGS older maps, the newer topographic maps and satellite maps. These maps are currently being updated to give valuable information such as total acreage, access and parking locations, boat launches, etc. Check them out on http://maps.env.state.ma.us/dfg/masswildlifelands.

Eagle Update
Readers may recall my June 18, 2017 column wherein I noted that it appeared that eagle nests in Pittsfield, Great Barrington, Richmond, Russell and Lenox failed to produce young this year. Things were looking dismal. Well, there is some good news. This year they had successful eaglets develop in June in Buckland, Otis, and Monterey. MassWildlife banded only 2 chicks in the Western District and both were in the Monterey nest. Statewide, MassWildlife banded 29 chicks, recorded 57 active nests and had 50 eaglets fledged.

MassWildlife also reported that when an early spring storm destroyed a Bald Eagle nest containing eggs, chances were extremely small that the pair could re-nest. However, one pair of eagles beat the odds this spring by building a new nest and hatching two eggs. This successful second nesting is the first ever recorded in Massachusetts. MassWildife recently visited the nest and banded two chicks.

Questions/comments: Berkwoodsandwaters@roadrunner.com