Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Walleye Report in Connecticut warm waters....

Posted by Wayne G. Barber


WALLEYE.   A total of 27,900 walleye fingerlings was stocked into state-owned management waters on October 20, 2017. Similar to last year, 12% of the fingerlings the Fisheries Division (FD) purchased were larger than the typical size fingerlings (averaging 7 inches instead of the typical 5 inches in length). These larger fingerlings have been stocked into Mashapaug and Gardner lakes for the last three years because the adult walleye populations had been declining in the two lakes since 2009. As a result of this experiment, spring electrofishing catch rates of yearling walleye have more than tripled in both lakes, suggesting improved overwinter survival of the larger fingerlings. Based on walleye growth rates these fish should be reaching legal size (18 inches) in spring of 2018 in Mashapaug Lake (3.4 years to reach 18”) and 2019 in Gardner Lake (4.3 years to 18”).
The remaining standard 5-inch size fingerlings were stocked into Batterson Park Pond, Beach Pond, Cedar Lake (Chester), Coventry Lake, Lake Zoar, Mount Tom Pond, Squantz Pond, and for the first time,
Long Pond in North Stonington. Stocking in West Thompson Reservoir was discontinued this year because it did not meet expectations; after 5 years of stocking only one Walleye was ever sampled via nighttime boat electrofishing. Standard size fingerlings were also purchased by Aquarion Water Company and by South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority, and stocked into Saugatuck Reservoir and Lake Saltonstall respectively. Due to budget constraints, fish were not purchased by the Town of East Hampton this year for stocking into Lake Pocotopaug.

Ice Fishing Clinics are Scheduled

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

Ice Fishing Clinics are Scheduled

Learning how to participate in an outdoor activity can be challenging, and ice fishing is a good example.  Knowing this, the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department has scheduled a series of ice fishing clinics for first-timers and those who would like to learn more about hard water fishing.
“Our ice fishing clinics will be held from mid-January to mid-February with the possibility that some dates may change according to ice and weather conditions,” said Fish & Wildlife Education Specialist Corey Hart.  “Everyone is welcome no matter their experience level.  We want this to be fun and helpful for all.”
The Basic Ice fishing courses will teach beginners all the skills they need to know to be successful and safe while ice fishing. The Introductory courses will review the basics while focusing on teaching anglers the skills they need to target a specific species.
Each clinic will last 2 ½ to 3 hours, and exact location details will be given when people register for the event.  Topics to be covered include ice safety, hole drilling, equipment and techniques, regulations and different techniques for different fish.  
All participants will have the opportunity to practice what they have learned near the end of each event.  Everyone is urged to wear clothing suitable for the weather conditions. 
Pre-registration is required by contacting Corey Hart at or 802-265-2279.
Vermont Fish &Wildlife’s Ice Fishing Clinics for 2018
Tuesday, January 16 -- 10:00 a.m.  Introduction to Walleye Fishing at Lake Carmi
Thursday, February 1 -- 10:00 a.m.  Basic Ice Fishing Clinic at Shelburne pond
Saturday February 3 -- 10:00 a.m.  Introduction to Walleye Fishing at Chittenden Reservoir
Thursday, February 8 -- 2:00 p.m.  Basic Ice Fishing Clinic at Lake Bomoseen
Thursday, February 15 -- 4:00 p.m.  Introduction to Smelting at Waterbury Reservoir

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Rhode Island’s Osprey Numbers Continue to Soar

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

Ospreys were driven to near extinction in the 1960s and 1970s because of the effects of the pesticide DDT. (Ed Hughes/for the Audubon Society of Rhode Island)

Rhode Island’s osprey population is climbing, after a highly productive year in 2016, and while the wet spring of 2017 will likely cause a decrease in nesting success this year, the once-rare fish-eating hawk is a model conservation success story, according to new report issued by the Audubon Society of Rhode Island, which has coordinated the monitoring of osprey nests statewide since 2010.
“We’ve had an amazing long-term trend of not just active nests but successful nests and the number of young,” said Jonathan Scoones, Audubon’s director of volunteer services who coordinates the osprey monitoring program. “Only nine of our nests were not successful this year, so it seems that our ospreys are becoming experienced at raising young.”
More than 100 volunteers recorded 159 active osprey nests in the state last year, with 150 of them successfully raising chicks, an increase of 28 successful nests over the previous year and 45 more than in 2014. The number of young ospreys that fledged from their nests skyrocketed from 186 in 2014 to 297 in 2016.
“Last year was the perfect year for ospreys, mostly because of the weather,” Scoones said. “The birds have to be able to see through the water to find the fish to bring them back to their chicks. They have to be able to see down about three feet into the water. If the weather is bad, they can’t see well enough.”
For the third year in a row, osprey nests in Barrington and South Kingstown produced the most fledglings, with 42 and 41, respectively. The Palmer River area of Barrington and Warren had the densest aggregation of osprey nests in the region, with 22 nests between the East Bay Bike Path bridge in Warren and the Swansea Country Club just over the Massachusetts border.
Butch Lombardi, who monitors a dozen of the nests on the Palmer River, said that food availability and water conditions make the area an ideal place for osprey to nest.
“Food is the prime reason they’re there,” he said. “The river is pretty shallow once you get past the Warren bridge, and there is very little boat traffic except for kayaks and canoes. The key is that the river is so shallow that the birds can hunt it pretty easily because the fish can’t go deep on them.
“If you add Merriman’s Pond at the country club, which is just two feet deep, it’s like McDonald’s takeout for them. It’s an easy place for a meal.”
Ospreys were driven to near extinction in the 1960s and ’70s because of the effects of the pesticide DDT, which caused reproductive failure in many fish-eating birds, including bald eagles. When the osprey monitoring program began in 1977 — originally coordinated by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management — just eight young ospreys fledged from nests in the state.
Today, ospreys nest in 28 cities and towns in Rhode Island, including every coastal community except Cranston, as well as inland communities such as Coventry, Exeter, Scituate and West Greenwich.
“There are probably more nests out there that we’re not aware of,” Scoones said, “so we’d love to get feedback from people who may know of nests we can’t easily access. The Scituate Reservoir probably has ospreys, but we don’t have access there to look for them.”
While ospreys appear to be quite common in many parts of the state, Scoones doesn’t believe the area has reached maximum capacity.
“Westport [Mass.] has 80 nests along a short stretch of the river there, so the birds can live communally rather than just one every mile or so, which is what we have here,” he said. “So we can still take on more capacity.”
Scoones said the Palmer River area may not be able to support many more ospreys, but there are numerous places around Greenwich Bay in the Warwick and Cranston area that are available for additional osprey nests.
The Audubon staffer doesn’t believe 2017 will be a banner year for ospreys, however. He expects to see evidence of more new nests being built by many of the birds that fledged from nests in the area during the past two years, but the rainy spring will probably mean that successful nests will produce fewer young than in 2016.
“It’s just harder to find food in the rain; the birds can’t see into the water,” Scoones said. “They don’t like to fly in the rain anyway, and the mother spends her time covering her chicks when it rains, so she can’t help find food.”
Despite his prediction for this year, Scoones anticipates that the increasing trend in osprey numbers will continue into the future.
“We have enough population here already that we can probably weather a few years of something going wrong, like bad weather or food not being available,” he said. “I’m excited about the future because more people are aware of the osprey and are willing to protect them. The birds are being accepted and no longer seen as a threat to fish.”
Scoones remains concerned, however, about continued coastal development that could limit the availability of nesting habitat.
“They need to be able to live in trees or nests close to the water where they can get to their food,” he said. “Nearshore development is forcing ospreys to leave their natural nests, and now they’re going to cell towers and power line towers.”
Anyone interested in becoming an osprey monitor or helping to repair osprey nest poles, should contact Scoones at 401-245-7500 or
Source: Rhode Island resident and author Todd McLeish runs a wildlife blog.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

New Hampshire: Volunteer Ice Fishing Instructors Needed

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

New Hampshire: Volunteer Ice Fishing Instructors Needed

CONCORD, N.H. – Are you an ice angler who is looking to give back to your community? Do you want to share your love of fishing on the ice? New Hampshire Fish and Game's "Let's Go Fishing" Program is currently seeking new volunteer instructors to take part in ice fishing programs around the state. All levels of fishing experience are welcomed.

To sign up for a certification training session, print out and return a Let's Go Fishing Program volunteer application form, which may be found on the Fish and Game website at To request a form by mail or email, contact (603) 271-3212 or

Applications must be received by Friday, January 5, 2018, to reserve your spot in the trainings.

The Let's Go Fishing Program will hold the one-day training for new instructors on Saturday, January 13, 2018, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at N.H. Fish and Game Headquarters, 11 Hazen Drive, Concord, N.H. All materials and lunch will be provided.

The training will cover teaching techniques and presentation skills, along with ice safety, ethics, fish identification, ecology, fishing regulations, and more. Once instructors have completed the training, there will be an opportunity to take part in programs and join an existing team of volunteer fishing instructors. These programs are offered in partnership with schools, camps, scout groups, and community centers all over the state.

"Becoming an instructor is extremely rewarding and is a fun way to get people involved in fishing," said Let's Go Fishing Program Coordinator Kyle Glencross.

Thousands of children and adults have learned to be safe, ethical, and successful anglers through the Let's Go Fishing Program. The program is federally funded through the Sport Fish Restoration Program, supported by an excise tax on fishing equipment and motorboat fuels.

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department works to conserve, manage, and protect the state's fish and wildlife and their habitats, as well as providing the public with opportunities to use and appreciate these resources. Visit

Wednesday, December 6, 2017


Posted by Wayne G. Barber

PROVIDENCE - The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is advising anglers of steps they can take to minimize the spread of Largemouth Bass Virus (LMBV). The advisory comes in the wake of confirmation that largemouth bass sampled from Watchaug Pond in Charlestown have tested positive for LMBV.
DEM offers the following suggestions to minimize the spread of LMBV:
·         Do not transplant bass from one waterbody to another – it is against the law!
·         Drain, clean, and dry boats, motors, and fishing gear between each use.
·         Do not release bait fish into any waterbody.
·         Refrain from catching and releasing bass during periods of high water temperatures.
·         Report all fish kills to DEM at 222-3070.
DEM, in collaboration with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), first began testing bass from Rhode Island lakes and ponds in 2006 for LMBV. The fish have been tested at the USFWS Lamar Fish Health Center in Pennsylvania. The disease has previously been found in Echo Lake in Burrillville and Olney Pond in Lincoln. 

LMBV was first isolated in Florida in 1991, and the first large-scale fish kill occurred in 1995 in South Carolina. Since 1995, LMBV has been found in 17 southeastern states and has spread along the Mississippi River and into Lake Champlain. LMBV is a naturally-occurring fish virus that does not pose a human health risk for people who eat or handle infected fish. However, all freshwater fish should be thoroughly cooked before being consumed.
Infected fish may not show any effects of the virus until it is activated by stressful environmental conditions such as high water temperatures, low oxygen levels, droughts, secondary injuries, or bacterial infections.  These are conditions which could trigger the virus and potentially cause fish kills. The virus is specific to bass and does not impact any other species of fish. LMBV closely resembles Doctor fish virus and Guppy virus 6, which suggests its origin from Southeast Asia. The common symptoms are hyper-buoyancy, spiral swimming, and lethargy which are attributed to damage to the swim bladder.
DEM will continue to test Rhode Island lakes and ponds for LMBV.
For information of interest to anglers visit  Follow DEM on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) or Facebook at for timely updates.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Ice Fishing Booms thanks to New Products

Wayne K., Mason, and Graham a few years back at Bowdish
Posted by Wayne G. Barber

Jack Polachek, Lakafish, Lake

Best and Brightest New Ice Fishing Items Extend Your Season

2″ or less – STAY OFF
4″ May allow Ice fishing or other activities on foot
5″ often allows for Snowmobile or ATV travel
8″ – 12″ of good ice with supports most Cars or small pickups
12″ – 15″ will likely hold a Medium sized truck.
Remember that these thicknesses are merely guidelines for new, clear, solid ice. Many factors other than thickness can cause ice to be unsafe.

– Maybe it's no wonder folks living south of the Mason-Dixon line view ice fishing as slightly senseless; the Arizona Senator McCain once called "moronic." Who in their right mind, after all, would stare through a hole in the ice for eight hours straight? Or drive a full-size truck onto a frozen lake? Or risk frostbite for a fish bite?

The answer, according to data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is well over 2 million people — that's who. In 2006, outdoors folks spent about $105-million on ice fishing tackle and equipment, a figure that had ballooned to $178-million by 2011 and is expected to easily exceed $200-million when 2016 data is unveiled. That's nearly a 100-percent expansion in sales of ice fishing gear in a single decade.

So why all the excitement for a sport that's conducted in the cold? For one, becoming a first-time ice angler is simple and relatively affordable, even for families. And even while innovation among other segments of the sport fishing industry, in some cases, has plateaued, creativity in new ice fishing tackle and equipment continues soaring to new levels of awesome.

Stroll the jam-packed aisles at events such as the New England Fishing and Outdoor Expo with ice fishing shows and you meet as many young anglers as you do hard water veterans. Each and every one of these folks flock to the show floor for the same simple reason: to see the new stuff — amazing lures, rods, electronics, apparel, shelters and other equipment that promises to make their time on the ice more exciting, comfortable and efficient.

To celebrate the approaching, eminent ice fishing season, we've handpicked some of the most attended Ice Fishing Derby's in New England .

RI, Between the Cracks, Annual Kevin Thatcher Memorial Derby at Crystal Lake, Jan. 28, 2018 7 till 2 pm and the Burrillville Grid Iron Hebert Memorial Derby with a Free Dynamite Sub at Wilson's Reservoir, Pascoag, RI and the New Hampshire Meridith Rotary Lake Wiini. Derby on Feb 10, 11th 2018
Crystal Lake Derby, Gray Me. Last week end of January, 2018 and the Sebago Lake Rotary Derby, ME

Monday, November 27, 2017

Public Meetings on Moose in Vermont

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

VTF&W photo by Wayne Laroche

MONTPELIER, Vt. – The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is holding three public informational meetings about Vermont’s moose in December. 
“We are holding the meetings on the status of Vermont’s moose population, including information about new challenges facing moose and current research efforts here in the Northeast,” said Vermont’s Director of Wildlife Mark Scott.  “We want to share information and educate Vermonters about Vermont’s moose population, and get a better feel for what other information the public would like about Vermont’s moose herd. Anyone interested in Vermont’s moose population will want to attend one of these meetings.”
The meetings will include information about historical moose populations in Vermont, the impacts of climate change and winter ticks on Vermont’s population, and the current three-year moose study in which moose cows and calves are being monitored for survival.
Wildlife staff will be on hand to show pictures of Vermont moose and their habitats.  The meetings are free and will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the following locations:
December 13 -- Northwoods Stewardship Center, 154 Leadership Dr, Island Pond, VT 05846
December 14 – Montpelier High School, 5 High School Drive, Montpelier, VT 05602
December 19 – Billings Farm & Museum Visitor Center Theater, 69 Old River Road, Woodstock, VT 05091