Gene Chague: Pittsfield youth catches bronze pin-qualifying fish

Sunday February 17, 2013


Recently, 6-year old Grace Ungewitter of Pittsfield was wrapping up a day of ice fishing with her dad Erick on Pontoosuc Lake. As they were picking up their tip-ups, Erick noticed that one of them had spooled out and was shaking, but the flag had not gone up.

He asked Grace to pull it in. When she tried, she noticed something heavy on the line and thought it was tangled up in the weeds. The line was wiggling, and Erick knew that there must have been a fish on the other end. After a lengthy battle, Grace brought the fish near the hole where Erick could see that it was a large fish as it passed by.

She pulled the fish up to the hole a second time, and this time Erick grabbed the fish through the gill plate and pulled it out of the hole. In doing so, a tooth must have caught him and he got a nasty cut. Young Grace went running around shouting, "I caught an alligator! I caught an alligator!"

The fish measured 341 2 inches with a 16-inch girth. According to the Crea's Bait Shop certified scales, it weighed 11 pounds, 8 ounces. That is large enough to qualify Grace for a state bronze pin in the children's category.

Erick said that some ice fishermen came rushing over to them to see the big fish, while others checked out his cut. Later on that day, he tried to get into the hospital emergency room, but it was full of people with bad colds and symptoms of the flu. He went home and had his mother, who is a nurse, tend to it.

Erick will have the fish mounted by friend Matt Ranzoni of Lee. It will be attached to a piece of driftwood and when the bronze pin arrives from the state, it also will be attached.

He fishes all the time with his girls. His 8-year-old daughter, Leena, also has a nice fish to her credit, an 8-pound tiger muskie.


In his last report to the Berkshire County League of Sportsmen, DFW Western District Manager Andrew Madden reported that the Division received 350 broodstock salmon ranging in size from 3 to 11 pounds from the Nashua National Fish Hatchery in Nashua, N.H. Our district's allocation of 70 was stocked on Jan. 30 into Windsor Pond and Laurel Lake.


Gary Soucie of Williamstown, internationally renowned fly fishing author and outstanding fly tyer, will be the guest speaker at the Taconic Chapter Trout Unlimited monthly meeting at Zucco's Family Restaurant, on 451 Dalton Avenue in Pittsfield, this Thursday evening. His presentation, which will be about emergers, will begin at 6:15 p.m., and be followed by an Italian buffet dinner around 7 p.m.

Some books written by Soucie include: "Hook, Line, & Sinker: The Complete Angler's Guide to Terminal Tackle;" "Soucie's Field Guide of Fishing Facts;" "Home Waters: A Fly-Fishing Anthology;" "Traveling With Fly Rod and Reel;" and "Woolly Wisdom: Tying and Fishing Woolly Worms, Woolly Buggers, and Their Fish-Catching Kin." He was also a former editor or assistant editor for several fly fishing magazines.


The Lee Sportsmen's Association will offer a National Rifle Association Basic Pistol Safety course at the club's facility on Fairview Street in Lee with two mandatory sessions: Monday, Feb. 25 and Friday, March 1, from 5-9 p.m. The cost is $100 per student, which includes an individual Sportsmen's Association membership. Pre-registration and payment are required. Call Larry at (413) 442-7807.


The 30th annual Springfield Sportsmen's Show opens Thursday and runs through Sunday at the Big E in West Springfield. The hours are Thursday from 3-9 p.m., Friday from 12-8 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults, 5 for kids aged 6-12, and kids aged 5 and under are free.

It is billed as the largest ‘pure' hunting and fishing show in the Northeast and it is filled with hundreds of booths, exhibits, seminars and action areas.

See the giant traveling aquarium stocked with a selection of trout and salmon; the retrieving pool where there are live waterdog demos; trout ponds stocked daily for fishing; a casting pool where fishing experts will perform, teach and lecture; deer hunting seminars; live wolves; the Northeast Big Buck Classic; salt water tips, techniques and seminars; turkey calling seminars and contests; fly fishing seminars; boats and hunting gear; hunting and fishing guides and more.

For a show preview, log onto

To reach Gene Chague:,
or (413) 637-1818.


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