Thursday, April 27, 2017


Posted by Wayne G. Barber

PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) today announced Free Fishing Weekend will take place Saturday, May 6 – Sunday, May 7.  As part of the event, the public is invited to fish without a fishing license or trout conservation stamp in the state's freshwaters.  Six local ponds will be stocked with over 6,000 rainbow trout and 4,000 golden trout for the event.  

Stocked waters include:
·         Peck Pond, Burrillville
·         Browning Mill Pond, Exeter
·         Silver Spring Lake, North Kingstown
·         Upper Melville Pond, Portsmouth
·         Meadowbrook Pond, Richmond
·         Shippee Sawmill Pond, Foster

The free fishing program was established in Rhode Island in 1995 as an opportunity to encourage people to experience freshwater fishing as a new outdoor experience and highlight some of Rhode Island’s premier freshwater fishing areas.  As part of a larger network of recreational opportunities in the state, fishing plays an important role in connecting people with nature, promoting health, attracting tourism, and supporting a treasured tradition for Rhode Island families. According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, there are approximately 175,000 recreational anglers (age 16+) in Rhode Island.  And recreational fishing contributes more than $130 million to the economy each year. 

Anglers who catch a golden trout on free fishing weekend and throughout the season will receive a free golden trout pin.  Take a picture of your catch and send it to Jessica Pena at

Free fishing weekend does not apply to saltwater fishing or saltwater licenses. Freshwater fishing regulations on size and limits apply on May 6 and May 7. The daily creel and possession limit for trout is five from April 8, 2017 through November 30, 2017, and two from December 1, 2017 through February 28, 2018.  The use of external felt soled or any natural or synthetic porous material capable of absorbing water in any freshwaters in Rhode Island is strictly prohibited. This includes any waters shared with adjacent states in which Rhode Island fishing regulations apply.  For more information or to purchase a license, visit

Follow DEM on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) or Facebook at for more information on recreational opportunities in Rhode Island as well as other timely updates.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Ohio Hunters Harvest more than 3,100 Wild Turkeys on Opening Day

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

Ohio hunters in the south zone checked 3,123 wild turkeys on the first day of the spring wild turkey hunting season, April 24, 2017. New for the 2017 season, the state has been divided into two zones: a south zone, which opened April 24, and a northeast zone, which opens May 1. This two-zone season structure was established following a hunter survey and a two-year study of hens in the northeastern part of Ohio. Hunters can view the 2017 spring turkey season zone map and harvest regulations at
See below for county-by-county results from Ohio's 2017 wild turkey hunting season.
Ohio's spring wild turkey season is divided into two zones: a south zone, which is open from Monday, April 24 to Sunday, May 21, and a northeast zone, which is open from Monday, May 1 to Sunday, May 28.
• In 2016 hunters checked 2,511 wild turkeys on opening day state-wide (in 2017, the northeast zone opens May 1)

• Hunters are required to have a hunting license and a spring turkey hunting permit. The spring season bag limit is two bearded turkeys. Hunters can harvest one bearded turkey per day, and a second spring turkey permit can be purchased at any time throughout the spring turkey season. Turkeys must be checked by 11:30 p.m. the day of harvest.

• Hunting hours in the south zone are 30 minutes before sunrise until noon from April 24-May 7 and 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset from May 8-21. Hunting hours in the northeast zone are 30 minutes before sunrise until noon from May 1-14 and 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset from May 15-28.

• Hunters may use shotguns or archery equipment to hunt wild turkeys. It is unlawful to hunt turkeys using bait, live decoys or electronic calling devices or to shoot a wild turkey while it is in a tree.

• The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife advises turkey hunters to wear hunter orange clothing when entering, leaving or moving through hunting areas in order to remain visible to others.

• Wild turkeys were extirpated in Ohio by 1904 and were reintroduced in the 1950s by the ODNR Division of Wildlife. Ohio's first modern day wild turkey season opened in 1966 in nine counties, and hunters checked 12 birds. The wild turkey harvest topped 1,000 for the first time in 1984. Spring turkey hunting opened statewide, except for Lake La Su An Wildlife Area, in 2000, and Ohio hunters checked more than 20,000 wild turkeys for the first time that year.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Connecticut Striper News

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

Bonus Striped Bass Fishing Program

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is again conducting the Bonus Striped Bass Fishing Program, which will run from May 1 through December 31 in 2017. See the attached pdf document for program details.

Tags will be available beginning Thursday, April 20th at DEEP Offices and Facilities listed below. There is a limit of TWO TAGS annually per Connecticut fishing license holder. However, for convenience, one person may pick up at most FOUR tags by presenting valid Connecticut fishing licenses for two anglers. Children are also eligible to receive a tags by signing up for a free Youth Fishing Passport. Tags will be available on a first come first serve basis for as long as supplies last.

DEEP Offices/Facilities
Marine HeadquartersM-F 8am-4pm, 860-434-6043 333 Ferry Road Old Lyme CT 06371
Eastern District,
M-F 8:30am-4pm, 860-295-9523
209 Hebron Ave Marlborough CT 06447
Western District,
M-F 8:30am-4pm, 860-485-0226
230 Plymouth Rd Harwinton CT 06791
Franklin WMA860-642-7239
M-F 8:30am-4:30pm
391 Route 32 Franklin CT 06254
Sessions Woods WMA,
M-F 8:30am-4pm, 860-675-8130
341 Milford Street (Rte 69) Burlington CT 06013
CTDEEP Main Office
M-F 9am-4pm, 860-424-3105
79 Elm Street Hartford CT 06106

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Why not a Two Fly Tournament in your State ?

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

What began as a one-day tournament with only a handful of fishermen has expanded into a two-day event with close to 100 participants. But throughout the years, the mission remains the same: to celebrate the joy of fishing, the spirit of sportsmanship, and the preservation of the Ausable River.
“The mission in the beginning was to bring commerce to the community and to bring people together at an event that they would want to come back to each year, and create memories,” said local fly fisherman and guide Tom Conway. He also owns the Ausable River Two Fly Shop. He and his wife co-founded the event back in 2000. 
Organizers are now preparing for the 18th installment of the Ausable Two-Fly Challenge, which will be held Friday and Saturday, May 19 and 20, on roughly 10 miles of the Ausable River’s west branch. Participants can fish anywhere from the bridge at the ski jumps on state Route 73 in Lake Placid all the way to the bridge in the heart of Wilmington on state Route 86. Two sections on this stretch are special catch-and-release zones, but participants must release any fish they catch, no matter the section, during the competition.
According to Tom, April can be unpredictable based on the harshness of the winter, but May usually brings early season Mayfly hatches. This is when the fish, namely brook and brown trout, become more active and begin to feed from the surface. All of this hatching and fly activity makes it the perfect time to hold the two-fly challenge.
Unique to the Eastern United States, the West Branch of the Ausable River is legendary for abundant hatches of Stoneflies, Caddis, and Mayflies, a culinary delight to the trout who call this river home. A large portion of the West Branch is regulated to "catch and release" only. No fish may be taken from the river.
There are four competitive categories: junior, men, women, and professional. Each fisherman can choose just two flies to use per day.  ach angler must pick his or her flies prior to the beginning of the day and that’s all they’re allowed to use. If they lose them, they’re done.
The choice is a tough one and once chosen, they’re stuck with those flies, even if they find the finicky fish are definitely not interested in a particular fly on that particular day. At the end of the day, each competitor tallies up the total inches of the fish hooked that day and turns in the card. 
For those unfamiliar with fly fishing, here is a very basic primer: The intent of fly fishing is to fool a fish on any artificial fly that is made with animal pieces (feathers, hair, etc). The fly is cast using a heavier than normal line, which allows the line to gain distance through the air. Typically, a fly fisherman is standing in knee to waist-deep water and casts to a target on the water.
Michelle Preston, the manager at the Whiteface Regional Visitors Bureau, is now the lead organizer of the Two-Fly. She explained that the event is not just about fishing, but also camaraderie. Therefore, the weekend also includes a reception, dinner with live music, fly-tying demonstrations, and a casting competition. One of the off-river locations is the region's newest pub, the Pourman's Tap House at Wilmington's four corners.
All of the money raised from the entrance fees goes back to preserving the river via the Ausable River Association. If you’re in the area, or want to witness this annual event, make plans to visit the Whiteface Region May 19 and 20. We have comfortable lodging options and delicious places to grab a meal while you're visiting! 

Be Alert to Avoid Moose on the Highway

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

MONTPELIER, Vt. -- Drivers need to be alert and cautious because moose are on the move, according to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department.   Moose are more likely to be crossing roadways at this time of year, especially after dark or early in the morning as they move from wintering areas to spring feeding locations.
More moose are hit by motorists in the spring than at any other time of the year.  There is another peak of activity in September and October, the breeding season for moose.

Moose are a threat to motorists, but there are measures you can take to avoid hitting them, according to Fish & Wildlife:
-Always be aware of the danger -- moose cross the road randomly, as well as at their regular crossings.
-Increase your roadside awareness and reduce your speed when you see MOOSE CROSSING signs along the highway.  When on secondary roads, the recommended speed is 40 mph or less in these moose crossing areas.
-Drive defensively and don't overdrive your headlights.  Moose are more active at night and early morning, and they are difficult to see because of their dark color.
-If you see a moose ahead, slow down or stop.  Trying to speed past them "before they can move" can be a serious mistake.
Vermont highway sections most frequented by moose:
-Rt.105 from Island Pond to Bloomfield.
-Rt.114 from East Burke to Canaan.
-Rt.2 from Lunenberg to East St. Johnsbury.
-Interstate 91 at Sheffield Heights.
-Interstate 89 from Bolton to Montpelier.
-Rt. 12 from Worcester to Elmore.
-Rt 118 near Belvidere Corners and the Rt. 109 intersection.
Nineteen people have died in motor vehicle collisions with moose on Vermont highways since 1985.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Phenology Calendar April

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

Third Week of April

Common loons return soon after lake ice melts.

Trout lilies are blooming. The pretty yellow flowers follow the sun during the day and close at night.

The question mark is the largest of the angel wing butterflies. The beautiful adults overwinter and rarely visit flowers. Instead, they can now be seen seeking out carrion, dung, and the nutrients found in puddles.

Fourth Week of April
When given a choice, bluebirds in one study opted for 4x4-inch nest boxes instead of 6x6-inch ones. These lovely birds are bringing in pine needles and grasses for their nests now.

Male spotted salamanders arrive at vernal pools before the females. This is the best time of year to see them; back in the woods they are almost always out of sight, usually underground.

Fox sparrows are passing through; they're the big, handsome sparrows that kick up grasses.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Hunt Safely This Turkey Season

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

Hunt Safely This Turkey Season
VTF&W photo by V. Calcagni Dylan Smith of Northfield with a nice gobbler he got in 2016.
MONTPELIER, Vt. – Hunting safely during turkey season is easy if you follow tips issued by the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department.

Vermont's spring youth turkey hunting weekend is April 29-30, and the regular turkey season is May 1-31. While Vermont's spring turkey seasons are safe (Vermont had only one turkey hunting incident in the last seven years) precautions are needed to ensure they stay that way. Camouflage or drab colored clothing is almost mandatory to outwit a keen-sighted gobbler. Unfortunately, camouflage often makes it just as hard for hunters to spot one another as it does for turkeys.

"Almost all of the incidents during turkey season have been caused by hunters who didn't positively identify the target before they pulled the trigger," said Nicole Meier, with Vermont's hunter education program. "And the person they mistake for a turkey is often a friend trying to stalk a turkey call."

With the opening of spring turkey hunting season near, the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department urges hunters to consider these safety tips:

Never shoot unless you're absolutely sure of your target and what is beyond it. Look for a beard as only turkeys with beards are legal during the spring season. If you're not sure, skip the shot. Lack of positive identification could result in shooting an illegal bird, or worse, another hunter. Be sure to have a good backstop any time you shoot a firearm or bow.

Never stalk a gobbling turkey. Your chances of getting close are poor, and you may be sneaking up on another hunter.

Avoid red, white, blue and black in clothing and equipment. A tom turkey's head has similar colors.

Stick with hen calls. A gobbler call might draw in other hunters.

Avoid unnecessary movement. This alerts turkeys and attracts hunters.

Don't hide so well that you impair your field of vision

Wrap your turkey in blaze orange for the hike back to your vehicle.

Always sit with your back against a tree trunk, big log or a boulder that is wider than your body. This protects you from being accidentally struck by pellets fired from behind you.

Place decoys on the far side of a tree trunk or a rock. This prevents you from being directly in the line of fire should another hunter mistakenly shoot at your decoy.

Wear hunter orange while moving from set-up to set-up. Take it off when you are in position.

"Have fun!" said Meier. "Spring turkey season is one of the best times to get outside and interact with wildlife."