In the Freshwater Sport Fishing Awards Programs, anglers receive bronze pins for catching fish of certain minimum weight requirements for 22 species. They must have their catch weighed at a certified weigh station and submit an affidavit and photo of their catch to the Sportfishing Awards Coordinator. Beginning in 2005, a youth category was added to recognize anglers 17 years and younger for their accomplishments.
Anglers who catch the largest fish in each category in a calendar year receive a gold pin and plaque commemorating their accomplishment. During 2013, Berkshire waters yielded four trophy fish.
In the Adult Division, Richard Garhartt, of Berlin, N.Y., took the largest brown trout. It came out of Onota Lake in Pittsfield, weighing 11 pounds, 4 ounces. In the Youth Division, Nathan Luczynski, of Cheshire caught the largest bullhead out of Cheshire Lake weighing 6 pounds, 1 ounce. (You may recall seeing a picture of that fish and the 6-year-old in my March 3, 2013 column.) Tauri Adamczyk, of Taunton, caught the largest carp weighing 23 pounds, 2 ounces out of Woods Pond (Housatonic River) in Lenox Dale/Lee. The largest northern pike, one weighing 21 pounds, 4 ounces was caught out of Lake Buel by Hunter Kempf, of Sullivan, N.H.
It is interesting how so many out-of-area fishermen are focusing on our waters. I hope the Chamber of Commerce is paying attention.
Since 2002, the Angler of the Year Award has been given to the person who weighs in the largest number of species that meet minimum weight requirements for the previous calendar year. The award promotes awareness of the Commonwealth's underutilized fish species and recognizes an angler's ability to catch a wide variety of trophy species. Beginning in 2013, the Angler of the Year is now awarded in two categories: Youth and Adult.
The 2013 Adult Angler of the Year was Mark Mohan, Jr., of Pembroke. He caught 16 bronze pin fish. They were: one smallmouth bass, two bullhead, one crappie, two white perch, one yellow perch, six sunfish, one brown trout and two rainbow trout.
The 2013 Youth Angler of the Year was Jake Souza of Berkley. He was also Angler of the Year in 2012. Last year he caught 21 bronze pin fish. They were: two largemouth bass, one smallmouth bass, two bullhead, one white catfish, one crappie, two white perch, two yellow perch, one chain pickerel, four sunfish, two brown trout, one rainbow trout and two tiger trout.
None of the above fish were caught in Berkshire waters but rather down east or on Cape Cod.
Hard water anglers (ice fishermen) will be able to take advantage of an early February stocking of broodstock Atlantic salmon. Each district received a limited number of them ranging in size from 3-11 pounds from the Nashua National Fish Hatchery in Nashua, New Hampshire. Last week, DFW personnel stocked an undisclosed number in Windsor Pond in Windsor and Stockbridge Bowl.
John Burns will be the guest speaker at the Taconic Chapter of Trout Unlimited's monthly meeting at the Bass Water Grill in Cheshire this Thursday evening. He is a River Steward, botanist, and TU Crooked Staff winner. He has been involved in watershed associations in Vermont and Mass., while also working with state fisheries in electro-sampling, stocking, shoreline surveys, and macro-invertebrate inventories. He will be presenting a watershed approach to fishing and conservation efforts focusing primarily on the Housatonic, Westfield, Deerfield, and Hoosic Rivers. The event is free and open to the public. Social hour starts at 5 p.m., with the presentation at 6 p.m. and dinner off of the menu (if you so choose) to follow at 7 p.m. For more information, contact Ron Wojcik at (413) 684-4141 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Springfield Sportsmen's Show is taking place on Feb. 20-23 at the Big E in West Springfield. The show includes the best of hunting, fishing, boating and adventure recreation that the outdoor world has to offer all bundled together in one great event. For those interested in purchasing 2014 Mass. hunting and fishing licenses, MassWildlife staff will be on hand to assist; however, those purchasing licenses must use a credit or debit card for the transaction. Cash or checks will not be accepted. Log onto www.osegsportsmens.com for more information.
There have been some big fish caught through the ice this winter. Usually, I show those caught by youngsters. Lest people think we old timers can't catch big fish any more, take a look at the 18-pound, 401 2-inch northern pike caught out of Pontoosuc Lake recently by grandpa Tom Tatro of Dalton.
To reach Gene Chague:
or (413) 637-1818.