Ice fishermen haven’t been complaining about the cold weather, and neither are bait-and-tackle shop owners, who say business has been great.
Ice fishermen haven’t been complaining about the cold weather, and neither are bait-and-tackle shop owners, who say business has been great. Shiners are the most popular bait and they are selling loads of them.
“It’s been super,” said Bruce Johnson at the Outdoor Sportsman in Hanson. “I’ve been busy selling bait all day long for over three weeks now.”
Johnson said a guy who came into his store said there were so many fishermen on the ponds he went to that it looked like there was a party going on out on the ice.
Anglers are reporting ice thickness of 6 inches or more on most ponds in this area. Catches consist of pickerel, largemouth bass, crappie and yellow perch.
Johnson said Oldham Pond in Pembroke is a great spot to fish for big crappies, with many weighing over two pounds.
Pete Belsan at Belsan’s Bait and Tackle in Scituate said this has been the best ice year in a long time. He suggests trying Stockbridge Pond, The Pitts, Tack Factory Pond or the Reservoir in Scituate; Summer Street ponds in Marshfield and Furnace Pond in Pembroke.
“The Plymouth ponds are doing very well also,” he said. “We’ve been getting some reports of nice salmon and trout coming from Long Pond and Little Pond.”
Although the ice has been good on most ponds, warm spells and rain can create hazardous conditions. MassWildlife urges anglers to play it safe and check ice carefully before venturing onto ice-covered waters. Foot traffic on a layer of four-inch ice is a good safe thickness. A link to an ice-strength table and safety tips is posted at www.mass.gov/masswildlife.
Broodstock salmon stocking
MassWildlife reports approximately 1,800 broodstock salmon were released into lakes and ponds across the Commonwealth in December. This is in addition to an October stocking of approximately 460 fish. Another 100 fish will be stocked in early January.
A list of the waters stocked with these huge fish is posted at www.mass.gov/masswildlife. The majority of fish come from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's White River National Fish Hatchery in Vermont and the remainder from MassWildlife's Roger Reed Salmon Hatchery in Palmer.
The salmon were evenly distributed to each district and range in weight from four to 18 pounds. Dr. Ken Simmons, chief of hatcheries, expressed appreciation to MassWildlife district and hatchery staff in getting the fish out in December.
“Anglers may not realize this, but our people put in many hours and miles to get the fish from Vermont and stock them in Massachusetts,’’ Simmons said.
Saltwater fishing license
While most anglers are thinking about freshwater ice fishing right now, saltwater fishing season is just around the corner and so is the new saltwater licensing program.
Fishermen do not have to purchase a license this year, but they do need to register with the federal government so the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration can gather data on how many fish are caught by recreational fishermen.
Starting in 2011, the state will charge an annual saltwater license fee of $10.
The new state law requires that money collected under the program go into a dedicated recreational fishing fund. One-third of the funds each year will be used to improve public access to coastal waters.
To register for the federal license, go to www.countmyfish.noaa.gov and click on the Angler Registry link, or call the toll-free registration line at 1-888-674-7411 from 4 a.m. to midnight daily.Enterprise correspondent Randy Julius’ Outdoors appears weekly. Send your outdoors photos or links to your videos to firstname.lastname@example.org.