The 2021 Massachusetts marine recreational fishing regulations have been set at status quo seasons and limits for most species. This includes a recreational black sea bass season of May 18 to September 8, for which the Division of Marine Fisheries recently accepted public input on two alternatives, neither of which will be adopted after consultation with the state’s Marine Fisheries Advisory Commission.
Recreational regulations for which final decisions are still pending include the striped bass circle hook requirement, the Gulf of Maine cod and haddock seasons, and blue crab gear restrictions. These rules will likely be announced in late March.
For 2021 regulations visit www.mass.gov/service-details/recreational-saltwater-fishing-regulations.
Rhode Island 2021 regulations
Rhode Island 2021 recreational fishing regulations will be discussed and voted on this week by the RI Marine Fisheries Council. The Council recommends both recreational and commercial fishing regulations to Janet Coit, Director of the Department of Environmental Management. The Director makes the final ruling on all fishing regulations.
Last year data collection on recreation catch was hampered due to the COVID 19 pandemic. Not only did anglers have an irregular fishing pattern, some areas more and some less, surveyors who conducted boat ramp, fishing pier and dockside interviews with anglers were not able to complete needed surveys.
Therefore, many of the 2021 regulations are being submitted to the Council as status quo… the same as last year. Watch next week for RIMFC actions on regulations and the near future for Director Coit’s final ruling on 2021 recreational and commercial fishing regulations.
Visit DEM’s website for fishing regulations at www.dem.ri.gov.
Where’s the bite?
Freshwater. Warm weather and rain may weaken ice in many areas, so be safe and check ice thoroughly before you fish or skate. Checking with local authorities is a good idea too. Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence said, “We still have ice in western and northern Rhode Island ponds but it is up to each angler to check the ice carefully before going out on it as conditions changed constantly. Ponds in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine are still frozen with angler fishing them. With trout season ending in RI anglers are successfully targeting perch, crappie and pickerel. Many are catching bass too. One customer caught a 5.9 pound largemouth bass this weekend.”
For fresh water licensing information in Rhode Island visit http://www.dem.ri.gov/programs/fish-wildlife/freshwater-fisheries; and in Massachusetts visit www.mass.gov/freshwater-fishing-information.
Cod fishing. Party boats fishing for cod this winter (weather permitting include) the Frances Fleet at www.francesfleet.com, the Seven B’s at www.sevenbs.com, and the Island Current at www.islandcurrent.com.
Dave Monti holds a captain’s master license and a charter fishing license. He is a RISAA board member, a member of the RI Party & Charter Boat Association, the American Saltwater Guides Association and the RI Marine Fisheries Council. Forward fishing news and photos to Capt. Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.noflukefishing.com.