#Stripers are nailing flies on the Narrow River in #RI

Ed Lombardo at Middle Bridge in November.

Ed Lombardo at Middle Bridge in November.

Striped bass are still biting in southern New England, so don’t put your fly-fishing tackle away.

Geno Rapa caught a fat 25-inch fish late last week on the Narrow River in Narragansett RI, reports fly-fishing guide Ed Lombardo.

Geno and Ed started around 3 p.m. near the Sprague Bridge on Route 1A where they spotted baitfish that appeared to be sand eels, according to Ed. “We didn’t do anything there, so we worked our way to the rocks at the mouth of the river. That didn’t work out either, so we headed to Middle Bridge, and that’s where we found the bass,” he said.

Heavy fog fell on the river, forcing the anglers to head home, but before they left around 5, each had caught four “footballs,” Ed said. He was fishing a sky-blue streamer, and the other anglers were casting shrimp patterns.

As good as the fishing was, it may get better, Ed said. His fishing log from 2011 shows a banner day on Dec. 18.

Advertisements

Regulators plan to cut striped bass catch

Fly fisherman Ed Lombardo

Fly fisherman Ed Lombardo

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has voted to develop management options for reducing fishing pressure on striped bass beginning with the 2015 season. One option is to reduce the daily recreational limit from two to one fish beginning in 2015

The action by the 15-state commission came in response to a new assessment of the coastal striper stock, presented at the ASMFC’s annual meeting last week St. Simons Island, Georgia.

The stock report concluded that striped bass are not over-fished and that overfishing is not occurring, but it did show a dramatic decline in adult fish in recent years and projects that the breeding population is on course to cross the overfished threshold in the near future.

“The ASMFC did the right thing, responding to anglers’ concerns about the future of striped bass, concerns that are backed up by troubling trends in the science,” said Wild Oceans president Ken Hinman, who attended the meeting.

Some members of the Striped Bass Management Board argued for immediate action to reduce the current recreational bag limit from two fish of at least 28 inches to one fish, with an equivalent reduction on the commercial side. But a majority supported a more deliberate process that will allow them to consider all the options, after the board’s technical advisers determine how much of a cut in fishing mortality is needed to reach the target and what percentage would come from changes in the bag limit, size limit or season.

 

New book, ‘Inland Fishes of Rhode Island,’ is a keeper

libby book cover croppedTwenty years in the making, Inland Fishes of Rhode Island by Alan D. Libby, with illustrations by Robert Jon Golder, is a beautiful book meant for everyone who loves wildlife and surprises.

The 287-page book is published by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management’s Division of Fish and Wildlife where Libby is a  a principal freshwater biologist. He has been there for over 26 years.

He surveyed more than 375 sites on streams and ponds, and found more than 70 species, including some pretty exotic fish including the lookdown (pictured here), jacks and pipefish,  With each species, Libby describes its typical habits and habitat, and an accompanying map shows where he found it. He and his colleagues caught several saltwater species, including snappers and flatfishes, in estuaries.

Libby book lookdown croppedLibby found the greatest diversity in the Pawcatuck River (67 species) and the Blackstone River basin with 31 species. Since 2008, his team has found five additional species: guppies, rock bass, green sunfish, striped mullet and sea-run brook trout.

The illustrations by Robert Jon Golder are at once scientifically precise and stunning.  His paintings of sunfishes and herrings are outstanding.

Fishes of Rhode Island by Alan D. Libby, with illustrations by Robert Jon Golder is the perfect gift for anglers and nature lovers. It costs $26.75, and is available at the Division of Fish and Wildlife Headquarters at 277 Great Neck Road, West Kingston RI between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. where only cash and checks are accepted. To order by mail, click here for an order form.

This book is a treasure.

Janet Coit: ‘What I did this summer’

Janet Coit, director of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, wrote these loving memories of her summer among her state’s natural wonders. The essay has appeared in The Providence Journal and the latest newsletter of the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association. We’re pleased to share it here, too.

janet coitLast week, I bit into my first apple of the season, a fresh MacIntosh from Phantom Farm in Cumberland, and tasted the sweetness of September. As they have all summer, my senses felt acutely alive.

Showing off the tastes, smells, sights and sounds of beautiful Rhode Island to millions of residents and visitors is the work and pride of dedicated professionals at the Department of Environmental Management and organizations across the state. The special qualities of the experiences and places that we safeguard and steward provide tens of thousands of jobs across a variety of economic sectors.

When I think back on “what I did this summer,” here’s what comes to mind.

Kayaking down the Blackstone River, enjoying conversation with other paddlers, who also marvel at how the teeming, green corridor has rebounded from the pollution and stress associated with its industrial past.

Picking strawberries in the sun, my daughter’s fingers and lips stained red with juice, anticipating my favorite dessert — strawberry shortcake.

Climbing to the Fishermens’ Memorial at Camp Cronin on a lovely summer evening, paying respects to the people who have lost their lives at sea, and recalling the power of the surf the day I watched the waves toss boulders around that cove during Superstorm Sandy.

Fly-fishing (poorly) in the Narrow River, my heart pumping as I pulled in a small and feisty skipjack, and later, watching the sun drop behind the ridge lighting up the spartina in Pettaquamscutt Cove.

Attempting “geo-caching” for the first time in the woods of Arcadia (and deciding it is for those who are more techno-savvy).

Frying my first, homemade calamari, and enjoying the special texture and tang of squid harvested earlier that day from Narragansett Bay.

Pedaling down the East Bay Bike Path and seeing every kind of person — from a little girl in her patent leather shoes to a bald, buff, tattooed fisherman — taking in the view off the bridge over the Palmer River, as I ride to my destination at Colt State Park.

Crunching sweet kernels of fresh-picked corn purchased hours earlier from a farmer at his road-side stand, and swearing there is nothing better.

Shooting at a modern range in a beloved old club in Tiverton, excited to finally hit a bullseye.

Drinking Rhody Fresh milk at the “Great Outdoors Pursuit” event at Fort Adams State Park, while drinking in the sights of the kites and kids on the north lawn, surrounded by the breezy backdrop of Newport’s world-class sailing venue.

Spotting the bright-red bill of an oystercatcher at Napatree Point, and delighting in the diversity of birds that find sustenance where the shifting sands and eel-grass beds frame the edge of Little Narragansett Bay, and the Pawcatuck River meets the sea.

Slurping a raw oyster off its rough shell in Matunuck, appreciating the unique flavor, and knowing that, for thousands of years, others have enjoyed the same sensation.

Meeting friends in the gray light of dawn to motor out beneath the Mount Hope Bridge and catch some stripers — my friend’s daughter reeling in one big enough to take home for a delicious dinner.

Getting lost in the maze at the Clayhead Trail on Block Island’s northern bluffs on a hot day in July, and then cooling off with a therapeutic swim in the cold Atlantic.

Helping to measure and weigh the fish we hauled in as part of DEM’s regular trawl survey, and seeing firsthand what our fishermen know innately, that the diversity of life in our salty waters is a natural bounty that sustains us (and sometimes confounds us).

Laughing with sheer joy at the power of the waves that toss me on the sand as I boogie-board at the beach.

Joining family and friends in a towering natural amphitheater at Camp Yawgoog for my son’s Boy Scout ceremony.

Clambering up Pulpit Rock, wading through Nag’s Marsh, and taking in the panoramic view from the T-wharf on Prudence Island.

Watching an osprey scoop up a fish from Hundred Acre Cove out the window of my car during my daily commute.

Walking from the sandy to the rocky shore at Rocky Point, and daydreaming about the larger park that will open on that glorious stretch of coast.

Savoring steamers, fresh fluke and local tomatoes as part of a scrumptious dinner out.

Learning about the Native Americans, the colonial farmers, and the mysteries of those who lived near the Tomaquag River during a magical late-August hike in Hopkinton.

Spending a recent afternoon in Galilee, where an exciting fishing tournament and seafood festival celebrated commercial and recreational fishing at one of the most important ports in New England. The event did more than that; it brought people together.

We are fortunate in Rhode Island to have a vast diversity of beautiful places that support our economy and fill us with wonder. Our natural assets are there every season for all to enjoy. Get out there, enliven your senses, eat local, and discover beautiful Rhode Island!

All aboard the Fly Fishing Express train

Fly-fishing guide Ed Lombardo boards the Fly Fishing Express

Fly-fishing guide Ed Lombardo boards the Fly Fishing Express

The fly-fishing train, offering access to some remote hot spots, is returning to Rhode Island, along with other saltwater fly-fishing opportunities.

Old Colony Railroad photo

Old Colony Railroad photo

The state’s Department of Environmental Management aquatic resources program is planing a variety of fishing programs this fall. Stripers and bluefish are plentiful in Narragansett Bay, and autumn is one of the best times of the year to fish for them. Hosted by the Division’s Aquatic Resource Education program, the programs include an introduction to saltwater fly-fishing, a fly-fishing trip via train around Aquidneck Island, and autumn fly-tying workshops.

Most of the instructors belong to local organizations such as Trout Unlimited, Rhody Fly Rodders, and United FlyTyers. Together, they have over 60 years of fly-fishing experience to share. Kimberly Sullivan, director of the program, said the goal is to train future fly-fishing anglers in what equipment is needed and how to use the equipment safely, and share pointers on where anglers can find some of the best fishing spots in Rhode Island. The variety of programs isdesigned to accommodate beginning anglers to the advanced. Families with children 10 years of age and older are encouraged and welcome to attend.

Introduction to Saltwater Fly-Fishing will be held on Saturday, October 5 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Kettle Pond Visitors Center in Charlestown. Fly-fishing instructors will teach participants fly-tying, casting techniques, and knot-tying. All materials and equipment are included with the $35 per-person registration fee. Lunch is not included, so participants should pack a lunch and bring a pair of waders. The program is open to adults and children age 10 and older.

Fly-Fishing Express, a fly-fishing safari around Aquidneck Island on the Old Colony train will be held on Saturday, October 19 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The train will stop at several remote public access fishing areas around the island. Fly-fishing instructors will offer advice on the best flies and fly- fishing tactics. The program is designed for advanced beginner, intermediate and advanced fly-fishing anglers, and is perfect for those who have already participated in the Introduction to Saltwater Fly-Fishing workshop and would like to hone their fly-fishing skills while fishing. Pack a lunch and your chest waders and join other anglers on this fishing adventure. All other equipment, including flies, is provided with the $35 per-person registration fee.

Fall Fly-Tying 2013 sessions will be held on six Thursdays from November 7 to December 19 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the North Kingstown Community Center. Professional fly-tyers will teach beginning and intermediate fly-tying techniques for both freshwater and saltwater fishing. All material and equipment is included. Cost of the program is $5 for each class or $25 for all six sessions. Pre-registration is recommended, although walk-ins are accepted.

For information and for registration, contact Kimberly Sullivan in DEM’s Aquatic Resource Education program at 539-0037 or via e-mail at kimberly.sullivan@dem.ri.gov..

Strollin’ and Trollin’ for TaTas in Hope Valley #RI

Pink ribbonHope Valley RI will be “Strollin’ and Trollin’ for TaTas” Saturday, Oct. 19.

An unusual combination of fishing derby and fund-raising walk, the event aims to raise money for the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation, offering support to breast cancer patients and their families.

The idea for “strolling and trolling” was Shannon Tate’s and Stephanie Reynolds’s after they completed a fund-raising walk in Providence. “We had so much fun, but it was hard on some of the older ladies,” Shannon says, “so we are making our walk much shorter — a little over one-and-a-half miles.”

The day will begin with breakfast from 6 to 9:30 a.m. at American Legion Post 27 on Thelma Drive in Hope Valley. The cost is $7 per person, and 100 percent of the proceeds with go to the Gemma foundation, Shannon says.

The fishing tournament is scheduled to start at 7 a.m., and the entry fee will be between $5 and $10, depending on the number of anglers entered.

The stroll through Hope Valley is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. Donations will be accepted, and T-shirts will be available for sale for $15 in advance or at the walk.

For more information or to pre-order a T-shirt, contact Stephanie Reynolds at 401-206-1916 or Shannon Tate at 401-316-6439.

Learn surf fishing in Rhode Island

Surf caster croppedRhode Island’s Division of Fish and Wildlife will offer an introductory workshop on saltwater surf-fishing in Narragansett next week.

Hosted by the agency’s Aquatic Resource Education program, “Surf Casting: The Basics” will be held on Thursday, Sept. 19 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Scarborough State Beach.

Participants will learn about saltwater tackle and gear, safety measures, surf casting and knot tying, and have an opportunity to fish at one of Rhode Island’s premier saltwater fishing areas.

Kimberly Sullivan, head of the program said families with children over 8 years old are encouraged to participate.

Space is limited and registration is required. All materials and equipment are included with the $10 per-person registration fee. The fee for families with three or more participants is $5 per person.

For information and to register, contact Kim at 401-539-0037 or email to kimberly.sullivan@dem.ri.gov.