It was Wednesday, June 1, and William (Bill) Roy, of Palmer, was fishing alone out of his 16-foot Lund fishing boat on Quabbin Reservoir.
Fishing in Quabbin is something the 72-year old does nearly every day. He had set out his planer boards, rigged up his two rods with lead core line and 10-pound test leaders, and was trolling a gold Mooslook wobbling lure in about 10 feet of water.
As his 25 horsepower outboard motor putted along, he couldn't help but notice the beautiful morning with calm waters and small ripples. It just couldn't get much better than this. Perhaps he was daydreaming a little, recalling that nice 16 lb. lake trout that he had caught and released the previous week.
But this day, he was after landlocked salmon, his favorite fish to catch.
"They taste better, for one thing, and they fight harder," he once said.
It was around 10 a.m. when a fish struck his lure. After fighting it for about 15 minutes, he discovered it was a massive lake trout.
"That's a long time to fight a fish," Bill said. "It didn't want to come in."
When the trout first emerged from the water, Bill didn't realize it was that big and thought about releasing it, like he usually does. But he decided to keep this one.
When he got back to the boat launch gate, he weighed it, but it completely circled the scale.
He then took it and weighed it in at R & R Sport Shop in Belchertown (scales certified by MA DFW) where it barely fit into the tray. That's when he finally found out the true size — 25 lbs., 7 oz., 33 inches long with a girth of 26 inches. It appeared to be the state record, so they in turn contacted MassWildlife, where it was confirmed as the state record.
"I got excited," he said. "It's a good feeling. I wasn't anticipating it."
He said that he has been fishing for 50 years on the Quabbin Reservoir and on Lake Ontario in New York, but before last week, he had never reeled in a record-breaking fish.
It's a good thing Bill kept that fish, for to be recognized as a state record, it must be weighed and inspected by fisheries personnel at a MassWildlife office and cannot be released.
Bill is going to have that fish mounted so that current and future anglers can admire and see what the state record lake trout looks like. Unless someone catches a larger lake trout in Massachusetts this year, Bill can look forward to receiving recognition next year from MassWildlife under its Freshwater Sport Fishing Awards Program.
In that program, anglers who catch the largest fish (by weight) in each category receive a gold pin and plaque in addition to their bronze pin.
ANTLERLESS DEER PERMITS
MassWildlife reminds us that the deadline to apply for an antlerless deer permit is July 16.
There is no fee to apply, but a $5 fee is charged if you are awarded a permit during the Instant Award Period, which will take place in August. If you have not yet applied, you may do so by logging into the MassFishHunt licensing system at mass.gov/massfishhunt and following the instructions, or by visiting a license vendor.
If you are not sure you submitted an antlerless deer permit application, check your hunting license in the "Item Purchased" section where you will see a line item that reads: "Antlerless Deer Permit Application/Zone xx" if you have already applied. Or you can log into MassFishHunt and check your customer inventory.
FIREARMS SAFETY COURSE
Avid Sports on West Housatonic St., in Pittsfield will be holding its next Firearms Safety Course on Sunday, June 26 at 9 a.m. The course allows one to apply for a pistol permit or FID card.
Call (413) 997-3600 for details.
Each fall, MassWildlife cautions drivers to brake for moose, and to be particularly alert, especially at night during the fall breeding season.
Moose will step out onto a roadway without showing the slightest concern for oncoming traffic. The dark body is difficult to see and its eyes are much higher than those of white tail deer.
But May and June can be problematic, too. That is when the yearling moose are driven away by their mothers. Spring yearlings will sometimes appear in densely populated areas, having followed waterways or forests into the heart of an urban center.
MassWildlife cautions us to never try to approach or pursue a moose. Pursuit not only stresses the animal, but it adds the risk of having it chased out into traffic or into a group of bystanders. Keep dogs under control. Leave the moose alone and call MassWildlife or the Environmental Police if the moose is in a highly populated area. Usually the moose will find its way out if given the chance, especially in semi-suburban and rural areas.
Questions/comments: Berkwoodsandwaters@roadrunner.com. Phone: (413) 637-1818