31 December 2008

National Marine Fisheries Service Issues Saltwater License Rule

The Federal Register of 30 DEC 2008 contains a final rule issued by the National MarineFisheries Service (NMFS)and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that will require approximately 2.5 million New England anglers to pay $15-25 each year to fish in saltwater, effective 01 JAN 2010:

"NMFS issues this final rule to adopt regulations to implement the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA). The regulations establish a national registry of recreational anglers fishing in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), for anadromous species in tidal waters or for Continental Shelf fishery resources beyond the EEZ. Persons will not be required to register with NMFS if they are licensed by a state that provides data determined to be sufficient for the agency's needs. The requirement is intended to improve existing angling effort surveys in order to improve their efficiency, to reduce possible sources of bias and to improve confidence in survey results by anglers and fishery managers."

www.Boston.com: "The rule will mean most fishermen--whether fishing from a dock, beach, or a boat--will have to have a permit. State waters within 3 miles of shore aren't normally covered by federal rules. But the new regulation would apply to fishermen who might catch any species that travels between fresh and saltwater, such as striped bass, one of the most popular New England sportfish."

Read the entire final rule: NMFS/NOAA Final Rule

Milford, CT: Walnut Beach Funding Released

"The $1 million in state bond funds approved more than a year ago for Walnut Beach improvements has been released and is available to be spent, city officials said Monday….

"At least 100 feet of new beach access at the foot of Stowe Avenue will be created over the winter with $20,000 from the state bond funds and an earlier $14,000 grant from the Department of Environmental Protection's Long Island Sound grant program….

"Although some erosion-control measures will be included, the new Stowe Avenue Beach will not need sand restoration, he said.

"A separate project to build a boardwalk connecting Walnut Beach and Silver Sands State Park is also scheduled to be completed over the winter…."

Article No Longer Available from Connecticut Post

30 December 2008

$16 Billion Tunnel Would Connect Long Island to Rye, NY

Speaking before the Association for a Better Long Island, [NY Governor David] Paterson said that…It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when….”

“…finding financing for the ambitious project shouldn’t be a problem because of the steady stream of revenue expected once the toll tunnel opens for business.” [Skip: Until the oil runs out.]

Photo Source and Read the Whole Article

29 December 2008

What's the Truth about the Status of the Striped Bass?

Stock Is Fully Recovered: [Vineyard Gazette Online] “Today the striped bass is one of the great conservation stories in the last quarter of a century. Indeed, the recovery of the striper may be one of the only hopeful developments in the Atlantic fishing industry which has been in a depressing state of collapse for the last decade, decimated by years of overfishing and political gridlock among fisheries regulators.

“Twelve years ago federal marine fisheries officials declared the striped bass officially restored, calling for a widespread relaxation of the stringent conservation measures that had been in place for a decade.”

Stock Is in Big Trouble:
"But there is a troubling trend afoot, which can be seen in both the scientific data from our Department of Natural Resources and observations of many fishermen along the coast who for decades have followed striped bass trends.

"First the anecdotal: Friends who fish up and down the striper coast, particularly in New England waters, have in recent years noted the absence of the big breeders. Also, for several years there has been disturbing “dock talk” detailing the deeds of miscreant sport anglers who fish outside the legal boundaries, catch more than the legal number of fish and even “double dip” – catch their legal limit, sprint to the dock where they dump the striper in a cooler in the truck and head back out.

"This is more than idle talk—I’ve seen it happen on a few occasions, and have heard it from reliable sources." [Article no longer available from HometownAnnapolis.com.]

28 December 2008

Global Warming's Impact on Fishing

“The build-up of heat in our atmosphere releases itself in the form of more intensified storms, which are usually followed by rising barometric pressure and miserably high winds. It’s a one-two punch that has kept many outdoorsmen from launching boats, hunting, camping or even hiking since early fall….”

"Tackle and gun shops were already hurting as a result of the trickle-down effect from super-high fuel prices last summer combined with more stringent regulations on marine species such as scup, blackfish and fluke. Every lost weekend is one those hard-working local shop owners can never recover. So give them your business during this holiday season and throughout the year.”

Article at: Norwich Bulletin

NOAA's information on Global Warming

27 December 2008

It May Not Be Fishing Season…but It’s Repair Season

Once the holiday madness is over, it’s time to do the major clean-up of the fishing gear for next season. I say “major” because the gear always…always get the “minor” clean-up after every…every trip. Minor clean-up includes a gentle, fresh-water rinse of rods, reels, lures, pliers, and anything else that’s been in…or near…or sprayed by salt water; gentle, because the equipment manufacturers tell us that a strong spray can drive salt into reels where, out of sight, it will work its damaging ways.

Major clean-up begins with taking each reel off each rod.

Rods: Start with a fresh-water rinse using warm water; dry it thoroughly and then spray all but the cork with silicone spray. Inspect for bent guides and other obvious defects…especially check the tip-top guide for cracks and nicks. Wipe down the rod and store safely. I have rod racks on a barn wall that hold the rods vertically where they can’t be stepped on or develop a warp from leaning in a corner.

The fly rods are a different story, however. These expensive rascals—after inspection to ensure they are thoroughly dried—go back in their cloth sleeves and into the hard cases they were in when I laid out those many dollars for them. Fly rods, snuggled in their cases, then get stored flat on a high shelf where they're completely out of harm's way.

Reels: I keep a record for each reel as to what line is on it and what date the line was installed. If it’s time to replace, the old stuff comes off. Remove the spool and do the fresh-water rinse using warm water; a thorough drying, and then spray with the silicone spray. Don’t spray reels with WD-40; this product is a cleaner, not a protectant; it will remove grease and oils from the reels. I check the reel’s operation looking for any obvious problems with bearings and spool lips, and then do some light oiling. An excellent guide to routine spinning reel maintenance can be found at Shimano.

After thorough drying, each reel goes in the drawer in the workbench where it will remain dry and dust-free until spring.

Fly reels, as with fly rods, are different critters. Each line should be removed from the reel and, if it’s not going to be replaced, rinsed in warm fresh-water [no detergent as that can damage the line’s finish]. Then each line is looped into loose coils and tagged with info on size and type [such as WF-10-F]. Leaving the line unused on the reel for winter's duration will result in the line taking on the shape of the reel, making it too kinky to cast easily. Forgetting to tag each line will leave you scratching your head next spring to remember which line goes on which rod.

Gear: One day when the wife is out of the house, all the fishing clothing gets sneaked into the house for a trip through the washer and dryer [be sure to check the inside of each appliance afterwards to ensure no incriminating evidence has been left behind…flies, hooks, bottle caps, sand…that sort of thing].

Gadgets: Pliers, Bogas, knives, nets…there’s no end of the stuff. It all gets the warm-water rinse and thorough drying…followed by the silicone spray and wipe-down. Then it’s into the same drawer with the reels.

That’s about it. This simple process has kept my equipment in excellent condition for decades. In fact, this year I sold on the Internet several reels that I’ve had since the 1950s. They all were working beautifully.

26 December 2008

The Life of An Oysterman

"On a raw November morning, when the tide is low and the wind blows steadily from the northwest, oysterman Alan Sterling clambers aboard a makeshift raft and paddles to his fishing boat a few hundred yards out.

"The 26-foot vessel isn't much, a ramshackle wooden hut plopped atop sheets of plywood hammered onto a plastic foam base."

Read complete article and photo source: Hartford Courant

25 December 2008

NOAA to Create Saltwater Angler Registry

Prepare to Watch More of Your Dollars Fly Out the Window

NOAA’s Fisheries Service released a final rule to create a national saltwater angler registry of all marine recreational fishermen.

Said Jim Balsiger, NOAA acting assistant administrator for NOAA’s Fisheries Service. "The registry will help us gather comprehensive data to ensure sustainable fisheries built on the best available science."

If anglers are not licensed or registered by a state that has been exempted and want to fish in federal waters, they will be required to register with NOAA. They must also register if they fish in tidal waters for migratory fish such as striped bass and salmon that spawn in rivers and spend their adult lives in estuaries and oceans. However, those who fish recreationally for these migratory species inland of tidal waters need not register, according to the final rule.

Federal saltwater angler registrations will include an angler’s name, date of birth, address, telephone number, and the regions where they intend to fish. This information will be used by NOAA to conduct surveys on fishing effort and amounts of fish caught. Once anglers have registered, they may fish anywhere in U.S. federal waters, or in tidal waters for anadromous species, regardless of the region or regions they specified in their registration. The registration will be valid for one year from its date of issue. Anglers must comply with applicable state licensing requirements when fishing in state waters.

Saltwater anglers will be able to register online or by calling a toll-free telephone number, and will receive a registration certificate. Anglers will need to carry this certificate (or their state license from an exempt state) and produce it to an authorized enforcement officer if requested. No fee will be charged in 2010. An estimated fee of $15 to $25 per angler will be charged starting in 2011.

Anglers who fish only on licensed party, charter, or guide boats would not be required to register with NOAA since these vessels are surveyed separately from angler surveys. Those who hold angler permits to fish for highly migratory species, such as tunas or swordfish, and those fishing under commercial fishing licenses will also be exempt. Anglers registered or permitted to fish in a formal state or federal subsistence fishery will also be exempt, as will anglers under 16.

To read the final registry rule and other information about the Marine Recreational Information Program, go to: Marine Recreational Information Program

24 December 2008

Tsunami Hits New York City

"An odd layer of material found in bodies of water from Long Island Sound to the Hudson River indicates that what is now New York City suffered a tsunami about 2,300 years ago. If that weren’t disturbing enough, evidence in the sediments hint that the massive wave was the result of an extraterrestrial object striking somewhere offshore."
Note: This report is from 2008; for the latest information, please go to:
Read the complete article: ScienceNews.org

Source for Photo

23 December 2008

Connecticut Anglers: Beware of NY Waters

Connecticut anglers who troll across the Connecticut/Westchester line or into Long Island waters may have a lot to worry about in 2009. It’s a mistake easily made, if you don’t watch your GPS…there’s no line in the water marking the boundary.

NY Gov. Paterson's proposed budget includes a $40 non-resident saltwater fishing license; not having one might cost Connecticut anglers a bunch of money. And, if they have legal Connecticut fish in their possession that do not meet the NY size, season, or bag limits, NY’s fines are steep—anglers have paid as much as $300 to $500 for certain violations—and there are few warnings, only tickets. The NY budget deficit needed that out-of-state money.

Paterson has proposed 137 tax hikes, including a five percent luxury tax on boats costing more than $200,000. James A. Donofrio, executive director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance, said the tax will hurt the already staggering boat building and sales industry.

"Gov. Paterson isn't stopping there," Donofrio said. "He's establishing a trout and salmon stamp on top of the freshwater fishing license. This will be $10 to start with, but bureaucrats looking for money on their runaway spending spree will soon increase that. Maybe they'll get creative with a fluke stamp, a blackfish stamp or a winter flounder stamp."

Paterson also has proposed an increase in state park fees for camping, cabin rentals and marina usage. Some of these fees had already been increased as late as 2007.

NY’s budget will balloon to $121.1 billion, and spending will increase by $1.4 billion. The tax package hike is the largest in the state's history. But, the governor admits that his plan will not cure the budget deficit… in fact, the deficit will grow to $5.8 billion by 2011-12 fiscal year. [Sounds like "tax and spend," doesn't it?]

When a Connecticut resident drifts into NY waters without a NY license in 2012 they may confiscate his boat in payment of the fine.

This blog is based on the article, Beware of Costly New York Waters which appeared in APP.com on 21 December 2008.

p.s.: In case you're wondering, the Middleground lighthouse on Stratford Shoal, in the middle of Long Island Sound, is considered to be part of Fairfield County, Connecticut.

22 December 2008

The Holy Aquaculture Grail: Farmed Atlantic Cod

“A millionaire dot-com executive turned fishing entrepreneur is pursuing the holy grail of industrial aquaculture -- the Atlantic cod.

“…Harald Dahl, founder of Norway's Codfarmers ASA, wants to infuse ancient Viking fishing grounds with high-tech equipment and modern management techniques, returning the Atlantic cod to the commercial prominence it once held.

“… Mr Dahl's dream comes as aquaculture, more craft than science until recently, appears ready to come into its own. "This year, for the first time, humans will eat more farmed fish than wild fish, according to a report….”

Click here to read rest of article

Photo Source [Atlantic Cod]

21 December 2008

Cos Cob Dumps More than One Million Gallons of Untreated Waste into Long Island Sound

“A sewer main rupture in Cos Cob* that forced the town to pump untreated waste into Long Island Sound for four days was finally repaired Tuesday… it likely exceeded 1 million gallons.

"The long-term environmental impact is negligible," said Daniel Warzoha, the town's emergency management director …colder water temperatures in Long Island Sound are not conducive to the survival of E. coli bacteria found in untreated sewage."

[Skip: Oh that's OK then...in that case, why not dump a whole bunch more in!]

Read the Article: Greenwich Time

Source for Photo

*A municipality in southwestern Connecticut

20 December 2008

Connecticut Coastal Access

"With over 350 years of post-European settlement along Connecticut’s coast, nearly all of the state’s coastal lands have been subject to human use or occupation. Developed land now covers 51% of the area within Connecticut’s coastal boundary compared to 23% developed land cover statewide.

"Much of the remaining undeveloped land within Connecticut’s coastal area has also been influenced by past human activity (agriculture, forestry, recreation, etc.) that may have compromised its conservation value through, for example, introduced and invasive plant species that displace native vegetation and degrade wildlife habitat value. It is estimated that approximately 30% of Connecticut’s tidal wetlands have been filled and up to 90% may have been ditched or otherwise altered through human activity."

Link #1: Connecticut DEP Online Interactive Guide

Link #2: Connecticut Coastal Access Online

19 December 2008

Part of Hammonasset Beach Being Eroded into the Sound

“The western section of beach at Hammonasset Beach State Park is disappearing from erosion that also threatens two bathhouses and a boardwalk.

“Connecticut's most popular State Park is falling victim to the sea [sic] with each passing storm. The wild weather, we've had lately, has led to major erosion.”

Read more about this at: WTNH.com

18 December 2008

Plans Afoot to Harness the Sound for Wave-Energy Electricity

“Three plans to produce large amounts of electric power by harnessing the tides and waves around Long Island were recently submitted to the federal government for approval.

“Two companies have applied to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission with the aim of placing marine generators off Shelter Island, in the ocean in an area from Jones Beach to Montauk, and in a third region south of Block Island.”

Read the whole article at: EastHamptonStar.com

Photo: Wave-energy comes in all forms

17 December 2008

We Do Some Things Better than the French

"Pierre Affre visited from Paris last month, filming a report for French television on the health of the striped bass population in the United States contrasted with the steep decline in population of the European sea bass. (The European bass is identical to the striped bass, except it has no stripes.)"

Whole article at: New York Times

Photo Source [European Sea Bass]

16 December 2008

Housatonic Gets Another Present from Massachusetts: Coal Tar

“Federal environmental officials provided more details Wednesday night about exactly where and how much coal tar was removed from the Housatonic River in Pittsfield, contamination caused by the predecessor of Berkshire Gas Co.”

Read the whole article at: Berkshire Eagle

Photo Source [Housatonic River near Pittsfield, MA] and Related Article

15 December 2008

California Stripers Born Deformed

"An alarming report released by UC Davis Professor David Ostrach documents the maternal transfer of pollutants to striper larva in Central Valley rivers and the California Delta, resulting in stunted and deformed fry.

"Photo: The top fish is a normal striped bass larva from a hatchery mother. The bottom fish is an abnormal striped bass larva from a river mother. The green arrows indicate areas of abnormal fluid accumulation, yellow areas indicate blistering and dead tissue, and red arrow indicates skeletal abnormality/curvature of the spinal cord. (David Ostrach/UC Davis)"

Read the complete article at: Central Valley

14 December 2008

Fishing Advice…from Someone Who Appears to Know Nothing about Fishing

“Using a fishing rod of 6 to 8 feet is convenient for catching average size of fishes. Most commonly used types of fishing rods are spinning rods, freashwater [sic] rods, saltwater rods etc….

“Fishing reel helps to reel back and hold the fishing line by dragging it. There are different types of fishing reels like the spinning reels, bait - casting reels and spin casting reels. The spinning reel is the most popular. There are some other type of reels like ultra light spinning reel, light spinning reel, heavy spinning reel.

“We will learn more about the best fishing equipments in the forthcoming article.”

[Ed.: We can’t wait!]

Read the entire piece of misinformation

Angler in the photo has apparently been trained by the author of this article

13 December 2008

Researchers: Long Island Sound Algae as Biodiesel Source?

“Algae might be near the bottom on the totem pole of life, but they could someday help power your car, and researchers from the University of New Haven will use a state grant to find out if any species found in Long Island Sound could become a viable source of biodiesel fuel.

"There are several [species] that hold promise….

“Research into the uses of algae is blooming around the world, but this is the first time that anyone has studied whether what grows in Long Island Sound can be used…."

Read the whole article: Hartford Courant

Photo Source [Biodiesel Algae]

12 December 2008

Brit Fly-Fishes NY Harbour

"The adverse winds continued, somewhat abated, and we cast our flies leeward, stripping line as fast as we could. It was then, finally, that the rolling seas got to me. Feeling suddenly ill, I had a look on my face as if I’d swallowed something unpleasant. McCarthy, not unkindly, suggested I take a seat, lest I foul his decks. I obliged, and after a few minutes I recovered myself and resumed fishing.

"An hour later we trolled the calmer waters of Gerritsen Creek. Sandwiched between Flatbush Avenue and Knapp Street, the creek is a ship graveyard, holding the rotting hulks of 200-year-old fishing boats on its banks. At high tide, the place doubles as a hideout for striper. But our luck was out. We caught nothing here."

Read the full story at: FT.com

Photo Source: Click Here

11 December 2008

Cooling Towers Needed at Millstone

"Critics at a public hearing...urged the state to require the owner of Millstone Power Station in Waterford to build cooling towers that use less water and kill fewer fish as a condition of the granting of a permit."

Read the whole article at: TheDay.com

Photo Source

10 December 2008

Got A Half-Mil for a Cool Christmas Present?

“Just in time for Christmas shopping the 104th New York National Boat Show cruises into the Javits Center this Saturday, Dec. 13.

“This year's show features more than 1,000 of the newest and best in luxury motor yachts, cruising yachts, sport fishers, bass boats, performance boats, pontoon boats, personal water craft, inflatables, fishing gear, engines, and marine accessories at the best deals of the year."

Photo: Why not buy a UselessCraft?

“As always there are plenty of features and shopping opportunities for every member of the family to enjoy.”

Read more about the Show at: The Advocate

09 December 2008

Fishing Editors Sign-Off for the Season

It's a sure sign of the end of the fishing year when the fellows who write about what's going on out on the waters stop sharpening their quill pens and put the stopper back in the ink bottle.

Yet, Charles Walsh of the Connecticut Post is still penning his column which appears at the end of the Sports Section each Sunday. If he stops, the only reason I'll have left to purchase that paper is to read the obits.

Who was it who said...he gets up each morning and reads the obituaries, and if his name isn't listed, he gets on with the day; Twain? Mark Twain is famous for the line, "The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated," when his obit appeared before he had died. And Clarence Darrow's, "I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure," also strikes a note, but I don't know who said that first line.

Well, we got a bit off course there. Here are three sign-offs:

Tim Coleman, New London, CT: "And, with that folks, we wrap up another season, closing down this report for the winter. God bless, good luck or may the force be with you. Have a nice holiday season and we'll see all in the spring."
The Day

Ken Almeida Plymouth, MA: "As you’ve probably guessed by now, this will be my last article for 2008."
Wicked Local Plymouth

Marc Folco New Bedford, MA: "This is the last Catchin' Anything? weekly fishing report for the year. Thanks to all the tackle shops, charter/party boat captains, skippers and anglers who contribute throughout the season. This report will resume the first week of May."

So, we can only hope that next spring our names will not have appeared in the obits. Once again the columns will be printed. Once again the fish will be there for the catching.

08 December 2008

I-95 Bridge to Get Rehab before Rebuild

"The Moses Wheeler Bridge — the I-95 span over the Housatonic River between Stratford and Milford — is about to get another major rehab job, even though that bridge will soon be replaced by a new span."

Image source: www.stvinc.com

"The Connecticut Department of Transportation has announced the start of a contract to perform structural repairs to the bridge. The new project is a continuation of preventative maintenance work which has been ongoing and 'will preserve the structural integrity of the bridge and approaches until the replacement bridge can be constructed,' the DOT said."

Read further at: Connecticut Post

07 December 2008

There’s Dirty Derby and Nasty Naugatuck, and then...there’s Shelton

"In June, 2008, Shelton was fined $142,000 and agreed to eliminate raw sewage overflows into the Housatonic River by 2010. In 2007, the most recent year for which data is available, 27 percent of beach closings were due to sewage overflow. And we are not the worst state in this regard — nor are we the worst country."

Read the story at: FairfieldWeekly.com

Long Island Man Drowns in Fishing Accident

"When the anchor line of Marty McMillan's fishing boat snagged a rope holding a lobster pot in place Sunday morning in Block Island Sound, he decided not to cut the trap free and deprive a commercial fisherman of his property, his son said.

"The decision proved fatal."

Full story at: Newsday.com

05 December 2008

Westchester faces $235M Work On Sewage Plants to Limit Sound Pollution

"Westchester residents who live along Long Island Sound could pay as much as $350 more on average a year in sewer fees under a plan to drastically reduce nitrogen levels in the water.

"Nitrogen, a nutrient that gardeners love, stimulates algae growth that eventually settles on the bottom of Long Island Sound, dies and decays, and sucks precious oxygen from the water, leaving aquatic life to suffer."

Read the complete article at: LoHud.com

04 December 2008

Supreme Court Deals Fatal Blow to Sound Pipeline

"A gas pipeline proposed for Long Island Sound suffered a potentially fatal blow yesterday after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of a Connecticut ruling that rejected the project on environmental grounds.

"The pipeline, known as Islander East, would have supplied gas from Canada and under the Sound to Shoreham. Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal was the project's most vocal opponent.

"He argued it would decimate wildlife in the Thimble Islands off Connecticut, while New York officials, including Suffolk Executive Steve Levy, favored it as a 'critical piece of the region's energy infrastructure.'"

Complete story at: Newsday.com

03 December 2008

Connecticut's Atlantic Salmon Hatchery

"The Kensington hatchery is among seven in New England that raise salmon in programs coordinated by the federal Connecticut River Atlantic Salmon Commission. All told, the states in the program stock 9 million salmon fry each year in New England rivers and streams."

Photo: Atlantic Salmon Smolts

"In Connecticut, the goal is to establish an annual spawning run of at least 4,000 Atlantic salmon, the minimum number fishery folks say is required for high-quality sports fishing. But the numbers of fish returning to the Connecticut River from feeding grounds off Greenland remain small."

Read the article at: Hartford Courant

02 December 2008

North Carolina Still Allows Seining for Stripers

"Effective at 6 a.m. Dec. 8, the DMF will open the striped bass beach seine fishery in the Atlantic Ocean waters of North Carolina….

“The minimum size limit for striped bass will be 28 inches total length. An Atlantic Ocean beach seine operation may sell or possess no more than 250 striped bass per calendar day, regardless of the number of individuals in the operations. Striped bass taken in a beach seine operation in excess of 250 fish may be transferred to other Standard Commercial Fishing License (SCFL) holders who are not members of the operation. Any SCFL holder may have up to 50 fish per calendar day transferred to them….

“A beach seine is defined as a swipe net constructed of multi-filament, multifiber webbing fished from the ocean beach that is deployed from a vessel launched from the ocean beach where the fishing operation takes place. One end of the beach seine shall be attached to shore at all times during the operation.”

Carolina Coast Online

01 December 2008

Chesapeake Scarring Disease Can Kill Striped Bass

“A chronic bacterial disease that infects more than half of all the striped bass in the Chesapeake Bay is also lethal to the prized game fish, researchers concluded.

“Scientists at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science said they are the first to conclusively link mycobacteriosis to the death of rockfish, the more common name for bay stripers." [Photo: Striped Bass Larva]

“Although the disease was first detected among bay rockfish in 1977, its virulence was not immediately apparent because the fish weren’t dying in large numbers.”


30 November 2008

28 November: Last Trip of the Year

Charlie W. accompanied me for the final fishing trip of the 2008 season…the last venturing-forth of the year for Shoo-Fly. The weather was good as far as temperature [52F] and sunshine, but the winds, as usual, were howling out of the west and kept us pretty much confined to the lee side of the River.

We’d heard from Don G. that the stripers were now resuming their wintering-over positions in the upper part of the Housatonic that we fish…up above the Merritt Parkway, all the way to the junction of the Housy with the Naugatuck River; so, we forsook the marsh and headed north.

In the hole below Pamper Mountain [a landfill] we found no fish but did see a small group of whitetail deer grazing on the mountainside. These does kept a close watch on us; later on the buck came into view, but was gone before I could get a shot of him.

Sure enough, the fish were there in great numbers. In some places we could drift with the current for maybe a quarter of a mile and be marking stripers the whole time. Unfortunately, the fish were not at all aggressive so we caught only a dozen fish…none of which was large enough to be worthy of a photograph, but still a lot of fun on light tackle. There were several other boats up river fishing…I don’t think we saw one of them land a fish.

Here’s a shot of a turkey vulture. We saw about a half-dozen of these just above the Sikorsky plant; a few of them flew low over us, checking to see if we were carrion anything interesting for them to eat. Apparently Charlie and I had both used deodorant that morning, so they left us alone.

Back at the dock, Charlie and I made fast work of cleaning out the boat…tackle, gear, coolers, stuff…and piled it all into the car for the trip back to the barn. It’s stacked up out there now waiting for me to start cleaning it all.

So, that’s it for this year. Our next fishing report will be from Islamorada where we’ll spend a few days in the sun this winter…and once again begin our search for the ten-on-a-scale-of-one-to-ten key lime pie. We’ll also be seeking to fill out the cast for our production of the grand opera, I Bimbini [The Bimbos]. And, of course, we’ll search for the wily permit, bonefish, tarpon, redfish, snook, jacks, seatrout, sharks….

In the meantime, you can keep an eye on this blog as we’ll continue to post news items and photos of interest related to salt-water fishing in Long Island Sound, the lower Housatonic River, and environs.

Thanks to all our clients and friends who participated in making the 2008 fishing season a true success.

Capt. Skip

29 November 2008

“Tons of medicine ends up in the environment each year."

"Much has been excreted by patients. Leftover pills may also have been flushed down the toilet. Because water treatment plants were never designed to remove pharmaceuticals, water released into rivers by these plants generally carries a broad and diverse array of drug residues.

“In 2006, a pair of chemists reported that antidepressants downstream of water treatment plants were making it into the brains of fish….

In a research study, “Each bass was offered four minnows once every three days. Any not eaten in 25 minutes were removed. Prior to drug exposures, young-adult bass quickly devoured prey, sometimes all four within 10 seconds, Bisesi notes. But six days into a 27-day exposure to fluoxetine, several fish in the higher concentration groups began to show behavior changes. Some waited a minute or two before going after their first fish. Some spit a minnow out after capturing it or failed to eat more than two. A few developed severely aberrant swimming patterns — such as hanging vertically in the water or resting at the surface, dorsal fin exposed — as minnows cavorted beneath them.”

Science News

28 November 2008

Connecticut DEP Completes Salmon Stockings

"Broodstock Atlantic salmon stocking update – DEP completes its 2008 broodstock salmon stockings this week, with approximately 110 salmon being released into the Shetucket River today (Wednesday, 11/26). This stocking will bring the total number of broodstock salmon stocked this fall to over 1,100 fish. Of the salmon stocked this year, approximately 500 salmon were stocked into the Naugatuck River, 440 salmon were released into the Shetucket River, and the two lakes being stocked experimentally this fall, Crystal Lake and Mashapaug Lake, received 90 salmon each.

"Naugatuck River anglers are reminded that DEP is not stocking salmon upstream of the Route 8 Bridge in Campville this fall due to a DOT bridge repair project limiting access. Additionally, in the Beacon Falls area, DEP will no longer be stocking the area along the RR tracks in Naugatuck State Forest due to safety concerns."


27 November 2008

26 November: We Froze Our Butts, but Caught 27 Stripers

Val S. and I went out at 10 a.m. on Wednesday for one of the very last trips of the year. The wind was blowing 20kts out of the west. Although the air temp was only 45F, as long as the sun was on us, we were fairly comfortable; however, the clouds rolled in and we ended up staying out only about three hours.

We fished only between the marina and the mouth of the Housatonic, finding that spots which had regularly produced fish earlier in the month were now non-producers—the fish had moved further up in the River. We boated a total of 27 stripers, from rats to schoolies. Val landed the biggest fish of the day…and that was on a sand eel fly that he had tied up, so it was a nice catch for him.

The temperature of the water in the River was 44F, and it was 48F out on the Sound, so we saw no bluefish at all. Blues tend to head south when water temps hit 50F or so.

It’s sort of sad to see Shoo-Fly sitting in the docks all by herself. Practically all of the other boats in the marina are now land-locked and covered in plastic for the wintering-over. This fate awaits Shoo-Fly as well as we’ll probably pull her out on December 1.

26 November 2008

Lobster V-Notch Program A Success

"...the "V-notch" program--is an economic development effort that involves students from the state's three aquaculture schools, who in the first year helped identify 59,000 female lobsters.

“The effort paid the lobstermen as if they had kept the females. Instead, they marked the lobsters' tail flippers with a V-shaped clipper, then tossed them back into Long Island Sound where they could procreate. At any time a female lobster can carry as many as 10,000 developing eggs."

Read the full article at: Connecticut Post

25 November 2008

Interesting Stuff on the Shoo-Fly Website

Before we go out on the water each time we check the tide charts and have a look at the weather report…especially wind...and the radar to see if there’s any precipitation headed our way. The Intellicast Weather Loop shows where rain, sleet, or snow is falling in our area…not only now but also where it’s fallen for the past two hours. From this you can get an idea of where the precip is headed, and decide what weather gear you’ll need on board.

To see the radar, just click on the hotlink "Weather: Local Radar," in the left frame of this page.

24 November 2008

Charles Walsh's Column Rates the 2008 Season

“Ask 10 people who fish Long Island Sound when they consider the season to be over and you will get 10 different answers.

“Some are ruled by the calendar, never wetting a line after Labor Day, others will stretch the season well into December. And of course there are the frost-free folks who will be casting for holdover bass at Sunnyside in Shelton on New Years Day.

“Whatever the case, we are at a point now where it is safe to pass a few judgments on the 2008 fishing season.

“We surveyed the local bait and tackle shop owners to rate the 2008 season on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the worst they have ever experienced and 10 the best. We also asked the respondents to site some highlights and lowlights of the just-about-to-end season….

Captain Skip Persson, who guides in the lower Housatonic River, rated the season a seven.

"’I think the most outstanding characteristic was how good the shallow-water light tackle fishing was during the summer months," he said. "Normally, we'd expect the catch to fall off during July and August, but this year it didn't."

“’The bluefish were inshore in good numbers. True, there wasn’t a lot of size to them, but there were enough stripers and enough big blues interspersed with the schoolies to keep it interesting.’”

Read the rest of the comments on the season at: Charles Walsh's Fishing Column

23 November 2008

Fishing Party Rescues Dog a Mile from Land

"'You think the dog would just jump right in the boat,' Lamont said. 'When Tim reached for him, he started snarling and growling. When I tried, he did the same thing. At that point, I didn't think we'd be able to get him.'"

Lab portrait by Deb Persson

Read the full story at: NewsObserver

22 November 2008

Stratford’s Long Beach West Sold to Federal Government

"The Trust For Public Land, a national group with offices in Connecticut, is acting as an intermediary on the transaction and has until Dec. 31, 2014, to come up with funding to acquire the barrier beach, which would then be transferred to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“The property will be incorporated into a Long Island Sound preserve managed by the federal agency, with part of the property set aside for the nesting ground of endangered shore bird species. However, advocates of the sale also said public access to the rest of the beach is guaranteed.

“Bridgeport officials also are considering the sale of the contiguous Pleasure Beach to the federal agency."

Photo by Deb Persson

“LONG BEACH WEST What it is: A 35-acre barrier beach that protects the Great Meadows unit of the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge. Why it's important: The beach offers a vital habitat for waterfowl, raptors and songbirds. It's also a migratory stopover habitat for thousands of shore birds each year, and is an important area for nesting piping plovers and least terns during the breeding season. It's also a habitat for rare plants, the diamondback terrapin, foxes and deer. It was designated in October as an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society, one of 27 in Connecticut.

“Price: The town of Stratford expects to receive at least $10 million from the federal government for the parcel. Access: There is access via foot on a path that begins on the west end of the Long Beach parking lot, the only way to reach the beach on foot since the wood-deck swing bridge to the contiguous Pleasure Beach, at the foot of Bridgeport's Seaview Avenue, burned on Father's Day 1996. It's about 2.5 miles from the Long Beach parking lot to the eastern end of Pleasure Beach. Location: The narrow neck of mostly beach sand extends from Stratford's Long Beach to Bridgeport's Pleasure Beach. There are about 45 abandoned, tumble-down cottages still standing, most of which will be demolished as part of the acquisition deal."

Read the complete story at: Connecticut Post

21 November 2008

Osprey Added to List of Undesirables in Greenwich

"To some, the osprey that have flourished in Greenwich Cove over the last several years symbolize the renewed health of Long Island Sound and have the same right to be there as anything - and anyone - else.

"To others, the fish hawks, though beautiful, are uninvited guests that leave the bloody remains of their kills to bake on boat decks, causing untold frustration and thousands of dollars in damage.

"The latter group wants the two osprey-nesting platforms on the island at Greenwich Cove relocated, possibly to Calf Island in Cos Cob, before the osprey return to Greenwich next spring. The former say they won't let that happen without a fight."

Photo by Deb Persson

Read the whole article at: Greenwich Times

20 November 2008

Saltwater Fishing License: Another State Taking Action

New Hampshire: “Among the topics that will be discussed at a Fish and Game meeting on Thursday is a saltwater angler registry that will come with a licensing fee, and charter captains say they are not happy with the idea.

“Kevin Sullivan, a marine biologist for Fish and Game’s Marine Fisheries Division, said there will definitely be a licensing requirement. The only real issue to be resolved is whether the federal government or the state gets the money from the fees."

Photo: New Hampshire Coast Near Portsmouth

“Charter Captain John Savage of Rye said he doesn’t object so much to the idea of a license, but is concerned what it will do to an already troubled fishing industry.

“’The fishing industry is on the verge of collapse,’ Savage said. ‘They will say it’s federally mandated to have a registry of anglers, but the state is trying to work an alternative so they get the money. I know the state needs money, but the fishing industry is caught in the middle. The state is trying to bleed money out of a dead industry.’”

Full article at: SeaCoastOnLine.com

19 November 2008

Want to Eat Wild Fish? Better Learn to Catch Them Yourself

“I suppose you might call me a wild-fish snob. I don’t want to go into a fish market on Cape Cod and find farm-raised salmon from Chile and mussels from Prince Edward Island instead of cod, monkfish or haddock. I don’t want to go to a restaurant in Miami and see farm-raised catfish from Vietnam on the menu but no grouper. Those have been my recent experiences, and according to many scientists, it may be the way of the future: most of the fish we’ll be eating will be farmed, and by midcentury, it might be easier to catch our favorite wild fish ourselves rather than buy it in the market.”

Read the entire article at: The New York Times

18 November 2008

Probe Nets Illegal Shark Market

"Undercover video shows one of the suspects selling a bag of shark meat to undercover officers. Fish and Wildlife says it was caught illegally.

"'You don't see this type of business anywhere else,' said Lieutenant Steve Delacure, who has been working the case for six months. Eight people are now under arrest, accused of making millions of dollars selling illegally caught fish.

"Delacure says several commercial boats were involved, and the main target was shark. 'I catch them all the time! I just like them I don't know. Just the thought of them eating me out there, I just want to kill every one I see,' said one suspect.

"Investigators say the group also targeted species that wound up in saltwater aquariums around the world."

Complete article at: MyFoxTampaBay.com

17 November 2008

Eels at O'Sullivan's Island

“Floodlights gave the leaf-barren trees an eerie look as the two wader-clad anglers made their way along a darkened path toward the tip of O'Sullivan's Island in the Housatonic River in Derby one night last week”
Charles Walsh in CTPost.com

• Eastern Long Island Sound Fishing

“If you want to brave the wind, there are blackfish on the inshore rockpiles as well as the lower Thames River. Schoolie bass are moving up into the Thames and there's also been a nice run of school bass along the Rhode Island beaches from Watch Hill to Charlestown.”
Tim Coleman in TheDay.com

• Long Island Fishing

“Stripers are feeding on large sand eels, chasing them up onto the beach at times. As a result, any kind of tin — Kastmaster, diamond jib, any metal — should do the trick. Harvey Bennett of the Tackle Shop in Amagansett recommends a faster retrieve than how a tin is usually brought back. The reason, he said, was that the bass seem to be chasing the eels rather than digging them out of the sand bottom. Of course, the old let-the-tin-sink-before-reeling-fast should work too.”