Each year the Fish and Game Department releases thousands of fish across the state in an effort to increase fishing opportunities. The spring trout stocking has begun. Already over 510,000 brook, brown, rainbow and tiger trout have been put in rivers and lakes so far. These are sizable fish; more than 74% of the fish are in the 12 inches or longer category with more than 32% of the fish in the 14 inches or larger category. Stocking got under way in the second week of March in southeastern Massachusetts and as weather, water chemistry, and access conditions improved, other MassWildlife District offices were stocking trout by the last week of March.
“We’re putting out 295,400 rainbow trout, 84,700 brook trout and 129,400 brown trout,” said Ken Simmons, MassWildlife Hatchery Chief. “In addition, over 3,000 tiger trout weighing more than a pound and measuring over 14 inches will be distributed equally throughout the five districts.”
Tiger trout are a cross between a female brown trout and a male brook trout, have become popular with folks lucky enough to hook and land one. Large water bodies will receive the bigger fish while the smaller brooks and streams will receive the majority of the smaller-sized fish. Finally, in addition to the trout, approximately 350 broodstock salmon from the Palmer Hatchery ranging from 2 to 3 pounds will be stocked across the state. Trout stocking schedules will be updated every Friday between March and Memorial Day in May. You can access that stocking schedule by going to the Fish and Game web site.
In our area the Ipswich River, Parker River, Pentucket Pond, Pleasant Pond, Baldpate Pond, and Stiles Pond have all received fish.
Freshwater anglers are reminded that the use of lead sinkers and lead jigs weighing less than one ounce, regardless of whether they are painted, coated with rubber, covered by attached “skirts” or some other material, is prohibited.
Spring Turkey Season
The spring turkey hunting season opens in Massachusetts on April 29, 2013. In order to legally hunt turkeys, licensed hunters must obtain a turkey permit. With the new electronic MassFishHunt system (www.mass.gov/massfishhunt), there is no longer a deadline to apply for a turkey permit. Hunters may simply purchase a permit via home computer or by visiting a license vendor or DFW office to get their permit. A hunting license is required in order to purchase the permit.
Remember that the bag limit is: (a) 2 bearded birds in spring season (1 per day) with NO fall bird allowed, or (b) 1 bearded bird in spring season and 1 bird of either sex in fall season. No hunter may take 2 birds in the fall season. The printed version of the 2013 MA Guide to Hunting, Fishing and Trapping omitted information regarding the bearded bird requirement in the spring turkey season. The bag limit information has been corrected in the online version of the 2013 Guide to Hunting, Fishing and Trapping.
Turkey hunters can check their turkey harvest online this spring season. Here are some important reminders regarding turkey tagging and online game checking.
As in the past, you must tag your bird with your permit immediately after harvesting it. Within 48 hours of harvest and before the bird is processed for food or for taxidermy, you must check your bird on the MassFishHunt site. After submitting your report, turkey hunters must write the MassFishHunt assigned confirmation number on the turkey tag that is on the bird. (The confirmation number is the official seal.) The tag with confirmation number must remain on the bird until it is processed for food or for taxidermy.
Turkey hunters still have the option of bringing their bird within 48 hours of harvest to a traditional game check station. A list of game check stations is posted on the Fish and Game website. Also new this year the regulations on shot size for turkey hunting have changed. The legal shot sizes for turkey hunting are now is No. 4 - No. 7 shot.
The number of wild turkeys on the North Shore should be fairly high this year. With a fairly easy winter and a pretty good food supply available to them, the numbers have grown. That being said, the continuing decrease in areas available for hunting makes it more difficult to harvest them. There are very good laws that have been developed regarding where you can safely discharge a firearm. Because of these laws, more and more turkey hunters are now pursuing old Mr. Tom with a bow and arrow.
Modern bows are now constructed in a way that allows hunters to be quite accurate out to fifty yards. Most turkeys are taken at a distance much closer than that. Hunting with a bow and arrow also adds a degree of difficulty that a lot of hunters find challenging. The average gun hunter can learn how to use a bow quite quickly. With some tutoring and practice, you might be surprised how enjoyable the sport of turkey hunting with a bow can become.