The ice fishing season, such that it was, is basically over. Already, Mass DFW is planning to stock nearly 500,000 brook, brown, rainbow and tiger trout for this spring's trout fishing season.
That's about the same number as last year. The fish will come from their five hatcheries located in Sandwich, Palmer, Belchertown, Sunderland and Montague. The Western District should get about 100,000 of them.
DFW reports that those 500,000 trout, coupled with the more than 67,000 twelve-plus inch trout stocked last fall, should provide some excellent fishing in the coming months (I'll bet that due to the shortened ice fishing season, lots of those 67,000 trout are still cruising around in our waters).
Here are some 2016 trout stocking facts provided by DFW: 55 percent of the trout average over 14 inches, 72 percent of them average over 12 inches, 215,700 rainbows will average over 14 inches, 39,350 rainbows will average over 12 inches, 10,000 rainbows will average between nine and 12 inches, 530 brown trout will be over 18 inches, 48,500 brown trout will average over 12 inches, 80,600 brown trout average between nine and 12 inches, 940 brook trout will average over 15 inches, 41,900 brook trout will average over 12 inches, 46,740 brook trout between nine and 12 inches and 2,900 tiger trout that will average over 14 inches.
Anglers are encouraged to check the listing of trout stocked waters as well as the stocking schedule for the areas near them, or contact individual district offices for the latest stocking information. Trout stocking schedules will be updated every Friday until Memorial Day.
There is a Tags 'N Trout program, a cooperative venture between MassWildlife and participating clubs, businesses and other groups. A certain number of trout are tagged and stocked into selected waters in each MassWildlife District. The tagged trout in each water body are sponsored by the participants. Any angler who catches a trout with a bright pink tag will receive a prize from the local cooperator in this program.
In the Western District, tagged trout will be stocked in the following waters: Westfield River (15 tagged, sponsored by B&G Sporting Shop, 1460 Russell Road, Westfield), Deerfield River (15 tagged, sponsored by Davenport S.S. Mobile, 269 Rte.2, Shelburne) and Littleville Lake (10 tagged, sponsored by Round Back Bait & Tackle, 13 Hyde Hill Road, Williamsburg).
If you catch one, contact the sponsor for your prize. A statewide listing of the sponsors is available on the MassWildlife web site. Tight lines!
The Baker-Polito Administration recently announced $320,464 in grants for 13 wildlife habitat improvement projects in 12 Massachusetts communities from the Department of Fish and Game's Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW).
"These grants will allow municipalities and conservation organizations to improve wildlife habitats and enhance recreational opportunities for people who enjoy hunting, bird watching and other outdoor recreation," said Governor Charlie Baker. "This grant underscores our commitment to protecting the Commonwealth's natural resources."
"We are proud to offer resources for habitat improvement efforts previously unavailable to municipalities and private landowners," said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. "This will greatly strengthen municipal and private wildlife conservation efforts throughout the Commonwealth."
"Land protection and wildlife conservation have been important goals of the Baker-Polito Administration in its first year," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. "With this new grant program, we are able to provide needed resources for forward-thinking local projects that will ensure the Commonwealth's native species are being conserved."
The new MassWildlife Habitat Management Grant Program provides financial assistance to private and municipal landowners of conserved lands to improve and manage habitat for wildlife deemed in greatest conservation need and for game species. The projects will also expand opportunities for hunting, fishing, trapping, and other outdoor recreation, and complement the ongoing habitat management efforts on state lands.
"Wildlife in special need of conservation and some game species will benefit directly from these habitat management activities," said Department of Fish and Game Commissioner George Peterson. "In addition, the sporting community, birders, naturalists, and other wildlife enthusiasts will enjoy better recreational opportunities as a result of this program."
"Though the Division is responsible for the conservation of wildlife and the habitat upon which it depends, the reality is that 80 percent of Massachusetts' lands where wildlife lives is held in private ownership," said DFW Director Jack Buckley. "It makes sense as an agency to apply science-based habitat management activities with committed private landowners, thereby protecting their investment in wildlife and habitat."
During its first round of grants, DFW awarded funds to ten municipalities and organizations. The approved projects for our local area are as follows:
Sheffield — The Nature Conservancy has been awarded $49,480 to improve fen and grassland habitats through invasive plant control and removal of woody plants on the Schenob Brook Preserve. Also in Sheffield, The Trustees of Reservations has been awarded $33,000 to restore grassland habitat on the West Grumpelt Parcel of Bartholemew's Cobble Preserve.
Great Barrington — Berkshire Natural Resources Council will receive $20,900 for work to control invasive plants on the Housatonic Flats Reserve.
According to MassWildlife, there are now more eagles nesting in Massachusetts than any time in the recent past. They need our help keeping track of them. Please report eagle sighting to Andrew Vitz, MassWildlife's State Ornithologist (firstname.lastname@example.org). Many of our nesting eagles are banded with coded-color bands that identify the individual, so make sure to look for these leg bands whenever you see or photograph an eagle. They are particularly interested in getting reports of birds carrying sticks. When there is evidence of a new breeding territory, its staff verifies the report as they monitor known nests.
Questions/comments: email@example.com. Phone/fax: (413)637-1818.