No Fluke

COVID impacts on recreational data lower than anticipated


Final 2020 recreational catch and effort data estimates where released by the National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) last week. Data from the Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) are now available for the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
The COVID impacts on Fisheries Management Plans, recreational harvest limits and regulations will be a lot less on the recreational fishing sector than originally anticipated.

NOAA said in a press advisory last week, “While the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the Access Point Angler Intercept Survey (APAIS), its overall impact on recreational fishing data collection was lower than first expected, and NOAA Fisheries was able to fill gaps in 2020 catch data with data collected in 2018 and 2019.”

NOAA’s use of imputed data, also known as proxy, or replacement data, match the time, place, and fishing mode combinations that would have been sampled had the APAIS continued uninterrupted. Imputed data were combined with observed data to produce catch estimates using standard estimation methodology.

NOAA said, “The use of imputed catch data had minimal impact on the agency's effort estimates, as the mail and telephone surveys that collect effort data continued largely uninterrupted.”

Two new changes have been made to MRIP queries. There is now a Contribution of Imputed Data to Catch Estimates column, and a second new option that allows users to select to include rows with missing data for estimate where no estimates exits.

The MRIP data and queries website can be found at MRIP Web Queries (

Where’s the bite?

Freshwater. “Trout fishing is good and with restocking this week it should continue to improve as the weather warms,” said Ken Landry of Ray’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick. Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle Providence, said, “Freshwater fishing is exploding with customers catching largemouth bass, pike, white perch and the carp bite has been good too. The trout fishing has been very strong at stocked ponds so overall freshwater fishing is great.”

“Bad Luck Pond, Rehoboth continues to produce largemouth bass for customers and the trout bite at Willet Avenue Pond, Riverside; Only Pond, Lincoln; and Brickyard Pond, Barrington continue to produce trout for anglers,” said John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside.

Tautog fishing which opened up April 1 continues to build. “Anglers are catching fish in lower water. The fish seem to be heading for warmer water rather than traditional deep water spots that are too cold right now.
Customers are catching fish at India Point, Providence where they caught six keepers this weekend and the Codington Cove jetty in Middletown is yielding tautog, anglers are working for them but some keepers are being caught there too.” “Tautog fishing in Providence and East Providence has been slow, some shorts (under the minimum 16” size) have been caught at Kettle Point, Riverside but no reports of keepers being caught.”

Striped bass fishing is starting to heat up with keeper sized fish being caught in Narragansett as well as at Conimicut Point, Warwick. “Striped bass in the 27” to 30” range were caught using Al Gags Whip-It Eels (white) while fishing at night,” said Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle. “Fishing for striped bass has been slow. One customer fished the West Wall of the Harbor of Refuge this weekend and could not hook up, however, on the return trip he fished the Middle Bridge, Narragansett area and caught two school bass on the Narrow River.”

Dave Monti holds a captain’s master license and charter fishing license. He serves on a variety of boards and commissions and has a consulting business focusing on clean oceans, habitat preservation, conservation, renewable energy, and fisheries related issues and clients. He often rights about the associations he belongs to and the clients he represents. Forward fishing news and photos to or visit

Dave Monti

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