April 5, 2003

Hearings coming up on Massachusetts Striped Bass Regulations

Frank G. Dwyer
April 5, 2003

In my last column, I wrote about the proposed changes to the New Hampshire and Massachusetts recreational striped bass limits. I spoke to Doug Grout at the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department to get an update, and the proposal to change the limits was approved and will go into effect sometime this coming May. The new limits will change the recreational striped bass limit from one fish a day measuring 28 inches and above to two fish a day above 28 inches, only one of which can be over 40 inches.

Massachusetts still has a proposal on the table to change the striped bass limits from one fish per day to two, however as mentioned in my last column, public hearings are slated for April 14th in Gloucester, April 16 in Sandwich and April 17th in Braintree. At these hearings, the Department of Marine Fisheries will accept comments on the proposed changes and on alternative minimum sizes. The hearings on the 14th and 17th will be from 7pm-10pm and the April 16th hearing will run from 6:30pm-10pm.


Speaking of New Hampshire, the state offers a “Lets go Fishing” program that is part of the New Hampshire Fish & Game Department's Aquatic Resources Education Program. The program offers a variety of courses at locations statewide covering a range of topics including Introductory Fishing and Saltwater Fly-Fishing classes and much more. The courses are not limited to New Hampshire residents, so Daily Newsreaders in Massachusetts can take part in the program and best of all, the courses are free.

The courses offered cover the basics of certain types of fishing including equipment, techniques and safety, but also offer instruction on fish ecology, conservation and responsible outdoor behavior. Most courses are offered in the spring and summer, plus in January and February ice fishing classes are offered. A typical class includes 6 hours of hands-on instruction and includes a field trip. Classes are offered for adults and children eight and older, but an adult must accompany children. The first class scheduled is a spring fly fishing weekend currently scheduled for May 3rd and 4th.

If you would like further information, you can call the N.H. Fish and Game Department's Aquatic Resources Education Program at (603) 271-3212, or send an email to aquatic-ed@wildlife.state.nh.us. In addition, a very detailed website is available at www.wildlife.state.nh.us/fishing/lets_go_fishing.htm


The New England Saltwater Fly Rodders is an organization of about 140 fishing enthusiasts who meet monthly from October to May and meet on the water during the prime fishing season. The general purpose of the organization is to provide a non-competitive environment in which members can share and learn from each other.

The club sponsors a variety of programs throughout the year and trips which facilitate information sharing among its members. During the regular club meetings, guest speakers present on a wide variety of fly-fishing related topics including technique, equipment, fishing related destinations, fly tying, safety and conservation. The club includes fly-fishers of all experience levels as well as published authorities on saltwater fly-fishing, including fishing guides and fly tiers.

The next monthly meeting will be on Tuesday, April 8th at 6:30 P.M. at Northern Essex Community College in Haverhill, just off Route 495. The meeting will feature ``Chart Night'', which has been quite a success in the past. Local experts will be on hand with nautical charts covering their areas of expertise. In addition, there will be a section on fly line rigging, knots and setups as well as a discussion on fly-fishing saltwater estuaries from a float tube.
They will answer questions about water access, parking, technique, seasonal patterns and hot flies. All meetings are open to the public and admission is $10 for non-members, which can be applied to the club dues if the attendee signs up at that meeting. For additional information, contact Tom Sheehy at 978-367-6284 or via e-mail at tom_sheehy@hotmail.com

The local fishing scene is slowly awakening from the long winter. Reports have the herring running in southeastern Massachusetts, which means the first striped bass of the season will soon be arriving. The alewife count in the Parker River is also upcoming, another clear signal of springs arrival. Sporadic reports of sluggish trout being taken from local waters are beginning to trickle in.

Kay at Surfland Bait and Tackle on Plum Island is currently back on a seven day a week schedule and is the definitive place for local fishing information. The store opens at 8am on weekdays and at 6am beginning this weekend. As is usual at this time of year, rumors of cod caught from the beach persist, however neither Kay nor anyone else I spoke to can confirm this annual rumor. If you are so inclined, try a fresh clam off the beach at night.

When I placed a call to Captain’s Fishing Parties on Plum Island on Tuesday, they were preparing to get one of their boats in the water. Weather permitting, full day trips will begin this weekend with the boat leaving the dock at 7:30 A.M. in search of cod and haddock.

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