#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.

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.

Striped bass, hickory shad are taking flies in #RI

Richard Santos with a healthy school striper

Richard Santos with a healthy school striper

Striped bass and hickory shad have been hitting flies in the estuaries of Rhode Island, says fly-fishing guide Ed Lombardo.

We fished the Warren River just above the old American Tourist building last Tuesday late afternoon and night and did very well,” Ed said. “Fish this time of the year are nice and fat, football like in size.

“On Thursday with an out going tide we also did very well at The Narrow River in Narragansett. The shad prefer a smaller sized fly; a size 2 works well in pink or black over white. Shrimp patterns for the bass and flies in a size 1/0 short shank in the same colors as above are very good choices as well.” 

Russell Kessler near the Sprague Bridge on the Narrow River

Russell Kessler near the Sprague Bridge on the Narrow River

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..

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.

Hickory shad are early – and big – this season

If you have time this weekend, wet a line. Fishing is very good.

Hickory shad are giving fly fishermen plenty of action, and it’s early. Fly-fishing guide Ed Lombardo reports: “We fished the Narrow River and all of us did very well. The shad came in on the incoming tide about 6:30 p.m. Most of the shad this year are big, average size maybe 18 to 20 inches — lots of fun! A very simple fly that I tie worked very well. I tie this fly on a size 4 or 6 hook, tie in a body of Bill’s Body Braid the whole length of the shank, and a sparse wing of black over white bucktail. Black thread for the head of the fly. Eyes are optional. It seams that the shad like the incoming tide, and they have started early this year which is a good thing. I also took three schoolies schoolies!”

On Long Island Sound, Pat Abate of Rivers End Tackle says striper fishing isn’t that hot. “We’ve been saying it’s been getting better every week, well this week it didn’t. If anything it took a step backward. Some areas away from shore such as the Race did better, but only at night when you can get through the blues. Bartletts Reef has a few more schoolies as does Watch Hill, but they can be tough to hook up at times. They seem to be feeding on crab hatches.

“Some schoolies are showing up in the Connecticut River at times hitting Snapper Poppers and Kastmasters meant for snappers. Anglers fishing live bunker on the Westbrook reefs are also scoring bass when they avoid the blues.

“Shore fishing has been slow both here and the RI beaches. Hopefully the mullet will start running soon and the surf bass behind them.

“The bunker are back below the bridge in the Connecticut River.”

Galilee RI fishing tourney and seafood fest next week

galileeThe second annual Galilee Fishing for Hope Tournament and Seafood Festival is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 7 and 8 in the Rhode Island port of Galilee.

Organized by the state Department of Environmental Management and the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association, RISSA the festival is sponsored by the Flood Auto Group.

The festival and fishing tournament celebrate and promote Rhode Island’s recreational and commercial fishing industries, locally-harvested seafood, and the Port of Galilee. Proceeds will be donated to the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Foundation, Narragansett Parks and Recreation Financial Aid Program, and the Point Judith Fishermen’s Scholarship Fund.

The festival will feature local seafood and food vendors, arts and craft vendors, music, and education exhibits. At last year’s festival, locally grown oysters and little neck clams were fantastic.

Festival goers will have an opportunity to tour a fishing trawler, a historic scallop boat, a fish processing plant, and a fish net manufacturing company as part of a self-guided tour around the Port. Other activities include a fish and critters touch tank, kids fishing off the pier of Galilee, a rock climbing wall, and a fishing survival suit contest.

The fishing tournament begins on Friday, September 6 at 5:00 p.m. Participants will be able to weigh in their catch on Saturday, Sept. 7 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday, Sept. 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The leader board will be present at the weigh-in station. The weigh-in station is accessible by boat and by car. Winners will be determined by fish category and weight, and awards will be presented at 4 p.m. on Sunday. Prizes include gift certificates for fishing charters and fishing equipment donated by local businesses. Juniors will receive trophies, too.

Tournament entry fees are $15 for adults and $5 for juniors (14 and under). Tournament entry is available on the Galilee Fishing Tournament and Seafood Festival website and at many local bait and tackle shops. Detailed entry information, official rules, and the list of prizes may by found on the website. 

Stripers eager to take flies – on the right tide

Fly-fishing guide Ed Lombardo and some friends fished inside Charlestown Breachway over the weekend and had two different experiences on two different tides.

Friday night, the tide was incoming and there was a ton of bait,” Ed said. “Silversides and a lot of skipjacks. The incoming tide brought with it some nice clear, cool water and a lot of schoolies. The fish were not selective at all, hitting flies of many colors and in sizes 1, 2, and 1/0. Pink flies worked very well. We managed to take a good number of fish up until just before dark.

Sunday morning was a different story, The tide was outgoing and full of weeds and grass, we were picking up weeds almost on every cast, not enjoyable at all. No fish were hooked, not even a bump.”

Outdoor notes: Wade and find lovely aquatic wildflowers

Marsh rose-gentian

Wading in Worden Pond, RI late yesterday afternoon  was a rewarding experience. Fish weren’t biting, but white waterlilies were everywhere and marsh rose-gentian plants were in blossom in about six inches of water along the shore.

What a stunning flower! With eight to 12 pink petals, the delicate looking flowers usually grow in brackish water, according to some online sources. The US Department of Agriculture and a couple other sources also say that Sebatia dodecandra grows as far north as Connecticut.

If you’re on the water this weekend, stop to notice the flowers.

Fishing report

On Long Island Sound, it’s a typical August, says Pat Abate of Rivers End Tackle. There is still a “fair number of bass and some good sized ones on the local reefs, mostly on live bait,” he reports. “Bunker days, eels at night. Long Sand Shoal isn’t on every day, but it’s a worthwhile shot most days. Fresh bunker chunks are the most effective way to fish if you don’t have live ones. There have been some schoolies to medium sized bass along the Old Lyme shore for eel casters. The Race has had some bass also if you can get through the blues and the winds.”

RICKA picnic

The Rhode Island Canoe/Kayak Association (RICKA) This year’s  RICKA Family Picnic will be held on Saturday, August 24, at Goddard Memorial State Park in Warwick, RI.  There will be paddle trips in the morning, and a southern barbecue lunch (veggie burgers will be available) will be served around 12:30.

RICKA is a terrific group. For more information about the picnic, click here.

Look to the future: Release sharks today

snappamako

Every once in a while a good fishing story comes along.

“I think I’ve got a good one for you,” writes Charlie Donilon, skipper of Snappa, a charter-fishing boat out of Point Judith, R.I.  “We were out fishing for sharks yesterday in the Mud Hole area when a huge mako shark decided to take one of our baits. Within 15 minutes of the hookup, a 350- to 400-pound mako shark jumped 15 feet  out of the water performing a spectacular spinning cartwheel. Upon landing in the water it once again displayed another jump equal to the first.  As the battle between the shark and angler approached 50 minutes I asked the angler Bob Ferrell who is a local Rhode Islander if he wanted to take the shark or tag it for research. Bob said that if I didn’t mind he would like to release the shark. After providing us with such a battle with two of the most unbelievable jumps one could ever imagine, there was no reason to kill such a magnificent animal. He said that if he wanted a mako steak he would buy a pound at the fish market rather than kill this one.  I fully agreed with him and tagged the shark for research.

“I have been shark fishing for over 40 years and have been an advocate for tagging and releasing sharks over this entire time. The total count of released sharks is now over 2,325. It’s not just by chance that over the last two years I have released 31 mako sharks without killing a single one. It’s something I work at from the moment a person calls to book a shark fishing trip right through until the first hookup. Informing  the public and making them aware of the current state of the shark population estimates that are down 90 percent from where they were 30 years ago. Trying to put into perspective that a 200-pound. mako shark is still immature and that it won’t reach reproductive age until it weighs 400 pounds.

“If I can take 31 groups who have paid a charter fee to catch and observe sharks and have all of them release the sharks for research why can’t other fisherman do the same?  It sickens me every time I see a small mako shark of 4 or 5 feet. killed for a few steaks or a picture. It may take giving up that picture of an angler standing next to his catch. It may take eating a burger rather  than a mako steak or not having a set of jaws hanging on your wall.  For anyone who truly cares about preserving the ocean and the fish it holds, you are going to have to give back a little. In doing so you may be giving your kids or their kids an opportunity at viewing  one of Nature’s most beautiful creations.

“I’m quite sure that the shark we released will eventually be caught again and will not be so lucky to be released a second time. But maybe it will have produced a litter of mako sharks at least once to preserve the species for future generations. I tip my hat to Bob Ferrell and his charter group for releasing this trophy fish.”

Bass and blues are biting

Striped bass and bluefish were biting along East Beach in Charlestown, RI today, says Robin Nash of Quonny Bait & Tackle.

Snapper bluefish were biting in Quonochontaug Pond in Charlestown, and scup have been biting on the flood tide there, she said.

In nearby Connecticut, Pat Abate of Rivers End Tackle says, “The Race was good this week when you can get there and again better at night; Bartletts Reef was the same at night drifting eels.

“Bluefish have been thicker at the Race and Plum Gut this week with some fast top water action at the Gut.”

NH Fishing Report: Bass and trophy trout

Avery Traffie of New Ipswich, NH, age 15, caught this Brown Trout in July 2013 on Whittemore Lake in Greenfield. It weighed 11 lbs., 13 oz.; was 26.5 inches long, with a girth of 18 inches.

Avery Traffie of New Ipswich, NH, age 15, caught this Brown Trout in July 2013 on Whittemore Lake in Greenfield. It weighed 11 lbs., 13 oz.; was 26.5 inches long, with a girth of 18 inches.

After many days of high and discolored water conditions, the mighty Connecticut River is finally returning to more normal summertime levels. As such, bass fishing and bass locations should be more predictable in the coming week. Try fishing in and around aquatic vegetation for largemouth bass during sunny days and rocky drop-offs and deeper water for smallmouths.

I’m going to try to get out on the Connecticut River over the next couple weeks and try for channel catfish. There is an up-and-coming fishery for them below the Vernon Dam, and biologists have also reported them using the fish ladder at the Vernon Dam to move upstream. Fish caught by anglers in recent years have reached sizes of up to almost 12 pounds! Sturdy rods and reels and line will be the tackle of choice, and chunked up dead fish or chicken livers will be the desired bait. I will update you on any success I have in the coming weeks.

Reports are coming in of excellent bass fishing in Spofford Lake, with largemouth and smallmouth bass up to five pounds being caught. I also talked to one angler who recently landed a number of rainbow trout there that were over 18 inches.

A verified report has also surfaced of a brown trout recently caught at Whittemore Lake in Bennington that was just shy of 12 pounds! Who says it is too hot to fish!  Whittemore is known to produce some really nice browns and Milford Hatchery fish culturists relayed that a five-pounder was caught there this spring while they were in the process of stocking it.

– Gabe Gries, Regional Fisheries Biologist

The summer of 2013 has started to look more like a summer now. It hasn’t rained for a few days, the water levels are dropping and some of our ponds are in the mid to upper 70’s. For river fishermen, this means that trout have finally been forced into more identifiable areas. For the last few weeks, they have been spread out all over the place and difficult to find even after a thousand casts. Now I can fish runs and pools that look fishy and have a better chance of finding some. This also presents better opportunities for dry fly fishing on smooth water surfaces. Adding the recent emergence of large terrestrial flies like grasshoppers makes my fishing approach more effective. 

I have also been enjoying the hot and hazy days on some of our large bass waters. I fished Moore Reservoir and Lake Umbagog last week in hot, sunny, middle-of-the-day situations. Fish were not easy to find, but were aggressive once I located them. I did well casting near inlet streams with plastic baits and surface lures. The fish seemed schooled up, which may have been explained by groups of bass seeking thermal refuge. Either way, I was catching two or three in a row before moving to a different location. I had no luck on the fast and aggressive retrieves of a spinner-bait, favoring slower, presentations with more finesse. At the end of the day, I was hot and plenty sunburned but happy to have fished on such nice days.

— Andrew Schafermeyer, Regional Fisheries Biologist

RI Fishing Report

NARRAGANSETT BAY

Bass are still biting in the upper reaches of Narragansett Bay and off Block Island.

Surface temperatures on the bay are quite high, but Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle says that temperatures are much lower in deeper water. As long as stripers have quick access to cooler waters, they will stay where the bait is, says David Henault of Ocean State Tackle. He recommends Rocky Point in Warwick, RI and Fields Point in Providence RI. Jacob Ganhadeiro has been catching stripers at Fields Point with his dad, Jose. “Watch where the ospreys are catching menhaden,” Henault says, “and you’ll find bass.” Ken Ferrara recommends the waters near Gould Island (in the lower bay), Halfway Rock, Beavertail Point, Bonnet Shores, and the rocks on the east side of the Jamestown Bridge.

Scup fishing is excellent in the bay, says Henault. He recommends the Warren River, Colt State Park, Rocky Point, and the rocky shorelines of Newport and Narragansett. Ferrara recommends the waters off Plum Light, Dutch Island and Hope Island. Scup are nailing clams, worms and squid. “With squid, you’ll catch fewer fish, but they tend to be larger,” Henault says.

Bluefish have been biting in the waters near Halfway Rock Rumstick Point, and along the north shore of Greenwich Bay, Ferrara says. Skipjack bluefish are beginning to arrive, says Henault, reminding anglers that the daily limit on bluefish is 15. “A bluefish is a bluefish, whether it’s 4 ounces of 4 feet long,” he says.

Sea bass have been pretty scarce in the bay: Ferrara suggests fishing near Seal Rock and Seal Ledge.

RI BEACHES & BREACHWAYS

Taryn Leigh Dillon with a nice brace of fluke, one a 7.5-pounder, and the other an 8-pound fish. Watch Hill Outfitters

Taryn Leigh Dillon with a nice brace of fluke, one a 7.5-pounder, and the other an 8-pound fish. Watch Hill Outfitters

Fluke fishing has been very good in fairly shallow water from Old Reef off Weekapaug to Watch Hill Light, says Mike Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters. At Old Reef this week, the fish were concentrated so you would catch, then lose the fish, return and catch again, and then lose them again, he says.

Striper fishing has slowed as water temperatures rise. The early morning bite, has been more active, but the evening bite is important, too, Wade says. Fish deep water, close to shore, he says. Look for steep drop-offs.

Triggerfish have arrived, so bonito should be here soon, Wade says.

BLOCK ISLAND

Schools of bay anchovies were thick in the waters off Southwest Point this week, and bluefish were all over them, says Mike Wade. There was so much bait that the blues locked on to them and became very selective, refusing anything that didn’t look like an anchovy.

OFFSHORE

Mako sharks and blue sharks have been biting in the waters near the Mud Hole, according to David Henault.

FLY FISHING

Fly fishing guide Ed Lombardo reports on fishing yesterday:

“Last night we fished the Narrow River just upstream from Sprague Bridge on an incoming tide. The fishing was good, and we took a nice number of bass–not any size to speak of. The river had the most bait I have seen all year.  An hour and a half later when the tide changed to outgoing the bite stopped. All the warm water coming out from Pettaquamscutt Cove had a great effect on the fish moving out. We should have moved down river toward the mouth. Incoming tide this time of the year is much better at least in that section of the river. Small size flies seem to work better. Two-inch silver and olive colored flies worked well last night.

CAPE COD

Ed Lombardo found some great fishing on a week-long holiday. He reports:

“Got up each morning at 5:30 a.m. and was fishing at no later than 6. I fished Morris Island which is at the very tip of the town of Chatham, Mass. You drive on Morris Island Road all the way to the National Wild Life Refuge which is as far as one can drive. Parking is free, and they have the cleannest facilities I have seen. Also available is fresh water to rinse off equipment when done. The walk to the beach is only two to three minutes away and all easy wading. One can start fishing right there in front or move to the right or left on the beach. If you Google this area you will see from a satellite image that the whole beach offers some very nice anatomy, both in the form of tidal movement and just deep holes from time to time. I used my shrimp pattern which has a medium hot pink marabou tail, a body of gold, pink, orange and gray, Aura yarn, and a wing of Silver Polar Flash. You can use other body material that has some of the same colors. I also used a high tie in hot pink as well and got fish to take. A method I like using when fishing water that has a clean sandy bottom is what I call dusting. I allow the fly to reach bottom and drag the fly alone creating sand dust coming off the bottom which draws the fish to the fly. I do believe that fish see this as a natural food item such as shrimp, sand eel, juvenile flat fish, and other organisms creating sand dust. For the four days I fished every morning I landed a good number of fish and lost a bunch as well. I did in fact take four keepers, one fish a 37″ bass! I’m using an Airflow intermediate line called their Sniper Line, It’s a great fly line and I always over load my fly rod at least one or two weights. over what the rod has been designated for. As and example if the rod is an 8-weight, I put a 9- or even a 10-weight line on it. This area is a good bet; if you can take the time to get there, it’s well worth it.” 

NH Fishing Report: Hex in due in Lakes Region

Fly fishers in New Hampshire’s Lakes Region can expect some good fishing, reports regional fisheries biologist Don Miller:

This is the time of year that trout anglers anticipate with fervor. Due to the extensive rains we’ve experienced here in the Lakes Region, the “Hex” hatch has been delayed slightly this year, for whatever reason I trolled Lake Winnisquam at sunrise this past Sunday with my fishing buddy, daughter Holly, and was amazed at the amount of spent Hexagenia mayflies that littered the surface of the lake. Our big lake water temps are high for this time of year, mostly mid-70 degree range, although we measured 79 degrees this past Monday at Big Squam Lake. These large mayflies are a real great source of food for trout and salmon. Luckily, we don’t see the swarms of them, as some cities around the Great Lakes have endured, sometimes to the point of calling out snow plows to clear streets of them!

Lake-Winnisquam5Now is the time to hit trout ponds and fish till dark. Brook and rainbows go crazy when this hatch occurs. Any large dry fly, tied with a good amount of hackle, especially in cream or white color will do the job. Mayflies are a good indicator of the health of a pond or lake, as they require soft bottoms with a good supply of oxygen.

Speaking of trout ponds, fellow biologist John Viar and I have been busy stocking some great, surplus brook trout into area ponds throughout the White Mountains and Lakes Region. Boat stocking is the only method to use on these fish, as water temps are above normal right now. Enjoy these fish, raised by our great team of fish culturist’s right here at New Hampton Hatchery.

The summertime thermocline is well in place, and salmon anglers will find their favorite fish in this band of cold water, generally down 30-40 feet. I may sound like a broken record, but these salmon are growing at a rapid rate now, feeding on the abundant smelt found in most of our salmon lakes. Catch and release is problematic when we have surface temps in the range we see now, so be mindful of this fishery and the effects we may have on it.

The amount of rainfall we have seen these past few weeks in the Lakes Region is staggering! Lake levels are way above normal, and the problem does not seem to be going away. There is a ton of debris in the lakes now, so be careful boating and keep those lines clean!”

Photo: squamlake.org

RI Fishing Report

Author John Skinner trolls a tube-and-worm rig using Berkley Gulp! worms aboard a kayak on Long Island Sound.

Most of Narragansett Bay’s big striped bass are moving south to colder water in the ocean, says Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle. Steve Elliott and Tyler Ward caught keepers near Brenton Reef this week, despite rough conditions. Ferrara recommends the waters off Bonnet Shores, Gould Island, and Beavertail Point.

Laptew photo

Catching stripers on eels during the day? It’s tough. Mike Lapttew, who made this photo, says: “That’s why I brought the eels along for the ride and I fished the biggest eels I had. I took three on three way rig with various weights. My largest bass was approaching 30 pounds…she’s still swimming around with all the other bass we took on scup. We started the day off drenched by heavy rain…I couldn’t wait for the sun (haven’t said that in a few days) and I was even a bit cold at times when Capt. Blaine throttled up on his new Skeeter — a sweet ride and well laid out fishing platform.”

Warming waters in the upper bay haven’t affected fluke fishing Ferrara said this morning. They’re biting in the waters bounded by Providence Point, Conimicut Point and Rocky Point, and also off the Warwick Country Club.

Sea bass have been biting in the waters near Hope Island, Plum Point, and General Rock off North Kingstown.

Shore fishers are catching lots of scup, says David Henault of Ocean State Tackle. He recommends Colt State Park, Beavertail Point, Hazard Rock in Narragansett, Sakonnet Point, Stone Bridge, the East Wall and the West Wall on the Harbor of Refuge.

Block Island

Large bass have been feeding on sand eels in the North Rip, said Ray Miclette of Pete’s Tackle who fished in the fog Tuesday morning. “We caught a few 30-pound fish,” he said. “They were all on the surface. Then we went to the south side, and it was barren — nothing going on.”

Offshore fishing

Andrew Miller, fishing aboard Dusky caught a 260-pound mako shark to take the top prize in the Snug Harbor Marina Shark Tournament over the weekend. Rich Betts, aboard Reel Chaos, caught a 203-pounder for the second-place make trophy.Tom Lai, aboard Bilda, landed a 216-pound thresher shark to win that division.

Freshwater fishing

“The dog days are definitely here,” says Ray Miclette, “but there have been a few 4- and 5-pound largemouth bass taken on Lower Slatersville Reservoir this week.”

 

More big bass caught at Block Island

Nine striped bass over 50 pounds apiece were caught on a single night at Block Island RI this week, says Al Conti of Snug Harbor Marina this morning. All of them went for live eels near Southwest Ledge at night.

In Narragansett Bay RI, 34- to 35-inch stripers have been taking menhaden chunks in a chum line, says Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle. He recommends the waters off Bear Point, Rumstick Point and Potter’s Cove on Prudence Island.

Mako sharks appear in Mud Hole; BI bass are biting

Joe Fagan, fishing aboard Big Daddy, caught three mako sharks in the Mud Hole this weekend, a good sign for the Snug Harbor Marina Shark Tournament, scheduled for July 6 & 7 in Wakefield, RI. Fagan’s largest shark was 8 feet long, said Elisa Jackman of Snug Harbor Marina.

Striped bass fishing continues to be very good off Block Island where more 50-pounders have been taken at night, said Jackman. During the day, anglers trolling umbrella rigs have been catching stripers in the 30-pound class, Jackman said.