March 13, 2003

Take Heart, Spring is Right Around the Corner

Frank G. Dwyer
March 13, 2003

Spring is now just days away, and it can’t get here quick enough for me. The eternal winter we endured this year is sure to make the first casts of the upcoming fishing season sweeter, and that first catch a stake in the heart of the winter that would not end.

It’s not a bad time to think about taking your equipment out of the corner of the garage or basement and dusting it off. If you’re like me, you probably cleaned your equipment well when it was stored for the winter so a quick spruce up is all that is needed. Now is also a good time to take a look at your tackle and make a list of things that need to be replenished, like hooks, leaders, snap swivels and the like. It’s also a good idea to take a look at all your lures and flies and change out any rusty or dull hooks.


Changes to recreational striped bass limits are being proposed in both New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

I spoke to Doug Grout of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department and there is a proposal on the table to change the recreational striped bass limit from one fish a day measuring 28 inches and above to two fish a day, only one of which can be over 40 inches. Thus an angler could keep two fish between 28” and 39” or one fish between 28” and 39” and one over 40 inches, essentially creating a “slot limit” regulation. While the public hearings have already taken place, the Public Comment period runs through March 17, allowing those in favor and those opposed to the new limits to voice their opinions. To do so, submit written comments by March 17, 2003, to:; or Executive Director, N.H. Fish and Game Department, 2 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03301; or fax (603) 271-1438.
After placing a call to Gary Nelson at the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, I learned that the one fish a day of 28 inches or above remains in effect for recreational striped bass anglers. There is however a proposal to change the limit to two fish a day, apparently along the lines of the proposed changes in New Hampshire described earlier. Three public hearings will be held around the state so that interested parties can hear about the proposed changes and voice their opinions. The hearings are tentatively scheduled for April 14th in Gloucester, April 16 in Sandwich and April 17th in Braintree. To confirm dates and times, visit the Division of Marine Fisheries web site at or call 617.626.1520


You may recall that I’m predominantly a saltwater fisherman, but this winter has prompted me to dig out and prepare my freshwater gear for some early spring trout fishing. Local waters will be stocked in the coming weeks, so it’s a great chance to get in some fishing, even if it doesn’t quite feel like spring. Local trout waters that typically yield good catches include Bald Pate Pond and Styles Pond in Boxford, Pentucket Pond in Georgetown and the Parker River in Newbury/Byfield. You may even hook into a “holdover” striped bass or an elusive sea-run brown trout if the fish gods are with you.

Specifics around trout stockings were released in late February and the numbers of fish stocked might surprise you. Approximately 536,000 trout measuring from 6 to 18 inches will be released this spring around the State. The breakdown equates to 330,000 rainbow trout, 85,000 brown trout, 115,600 brook trout and 4,500 tiger trout. Rounding out the total number of stocked fish are 700 “trophy ” brook, brown and rainbow trout all measuring over 18 inches.

Don’t forget your 2003 freshwater fishing license for which you will pay the state $27.50.


The Plum Island Surfcasters continue to meet the third Tuesday of each month at the Newbury Fire Hall. On March 18th, Al Gags of “Gags Lures” will be the featured guest and will present on “Top Water Striper Fishing in the Connecticut River”. Doors open at 6:30 PM.

The Plum Island Surfcasters is a growing club of over 250 recreational fishermen who enjoy all manner of fishing while also spending time on related areas such as conservation, beach access, fishery management and much more. Annual dues are $30.00 and can be paid when attending a meeting for the first time. In addition, information on membership can also be found at or by writing to the Plum Island Surfcasters, PO Box 364, Newburyport, MA 01950.

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