No Fluke

Better recreational fishing data may be on the way


Sometimes there is a silver lining and good things come out of a bad situation. Last week anglers met with Janet Coit, assistant administrator and chief of NOAA Fisheries and her staff, to talk about recreational fishing issues, including improving recreational fishing data with the modernization of data collection and analysis.

Historically, commercial fishing extraction rates have been obtained by reports they are required to file with federal fish managers (and state mangers) on every single fish they catch and where they caught it. However, recreational fisheries are not required to report their catch, so NOAA estimates the number of fish anglers are taking out of the water, which are used in part to establish future harvest limits and ultimately regulations.

This year the Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP), the NOAA organization that estimates recreational fishing catch and effort, reported an error in their effort survey. NOAA conducted a routine study to evaluate the integrity of their effort survey data, which is mailed to angler homes, and related they may have overestimated recreational catch by as much as 30 percent in select states on select species.

They announced the error and immediately started to plan a more extensive pilot study to be run in 2024 that further explores bias that may have been introduced by the way and order questions were asked and responded to by anglers in the effort survey.

Hats off to NOAA Fisheries for being upfront about the error and developing a plan to explore it further and correct it. However, the data mishap has opened the door to not only improve MRIP but to perhaps supplement MRIP data with data from states as well as with citizen science data obtained from recreational fishing smartphone data collection applications.  But first NOAA must establish acceptable standards for both state data collection and smartphone applications to make sure the additional data provides what NOAA would want and can be used to supplement the MRIP data they already collect.

Anglers in the Northeast are working with NOAA’s regional office, the Greater Atlantic Regional Office (GARFO), to work on data modernization plans, which play a significant role in the agencies new Recreational Fishing Policy and regional implemental plans. Other additions to this implementation plan include climate ready fisheries provisions, social environmental justice, and data modernization, as well as continuing to make fisheries sustainable in light of difficult climate impacts including shifting stocks, sea level rise, warming water and a host of others.

More to come on the data modernization effort and the new recreational implementation plan as it rolls out with angler input opportunities in region.

Ponds stocked in Rhode Island

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announces that four additional freshwater ponds will be stocked with fish during the week of Dec. 10. The ponds will be stocked after the recent lifting of Cyanobacteria alerts and Wyoming Pond, Hopkinton, after the conclusion of dam repairs.

Carbuncle Pond, Coventry will be stocked with Seago Salmon, Brook and Rainbow Trout; Melville (Upper and Lower) Pond, Portsmouth will be stocked with Sebago Salmon, Brook and Rainbow Trout; and Wyoming Pond, Hopkinton will be stocked with Rainbow Trout.

Visit DEM’s Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Facebook Page for stocking updates and visit for more information.

Where’s the bite?

Tautog, cod and black sea bass are being caught by anglers anchored up to tautog fish with crabs. Parker Mandes of Watch Hill Outfitters, Westerly, said, “Saturday we caught three keeper cod when tautog fishing. The tautog fishing has slowed a bit, but it is nice to catch cod along the southern coastal shore and not have to go further to catch them.”

“Anglers are catching cod while tautog fishing off Newport in 50 to 100 feet of water. It is hard to work a jig in water that deep, so tautog rigs are working best for anglers. The bite is good for cod in the Block Island Wind Farm and at Cox Ledge too,” said Jeff Sullivan of Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren.

Matt Conti of Snug Harbor Marina, South Kingstown, said, “Anglers are finding fish both South and East of Block Island when anchored up fishing for tautog; they are catching both cod and sea bass as well. The Island Current has been doing fairly good too.”

Nick Karjewski of Quaker Lane Bait & Tackle, North Kingstown, said, “Some anglers are still tautog fishing, and the fish they are catching are in deep water.” Call ahead to make a party boat reservation for tautog and cod fishing; vessels sail between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. and return in the afternoon. Visit, and Full day rates for vessels are $130 to $135 per adult and around $80 for those under 12 years old.


“Freshwater fishing in stocked ponds for trout and salmon is pretty good, with a fairly decent largemouth bass bite too,” said Jeff Sullivan of Luckey Bait & Tackle. For a complete list of trout stocked ponds in Massachusetts visit Mass Wildlife at Trout stocking report |  and in Rhode Island visit, or call 401-789-0281 or 401-539-0019 for more information on trout stocking.

Dave Monti holds a captain’s 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. Forward fishing news and photos to or visit

2024 by East Bay Media Group

Barrington · Bristol · East Providence · Little Compton · Portsmouth · Tiverton · Warren · Westport
Meet our staff

Mike Rego has worked at East Bay Newspapers since 2001, helping the company launch The Westport Shorelines. He soon after became a Sports Editor, spending the next 10-plus years in that role before taking over as editor of The East Providence Post in February of 2012. To contact Mike about The Post or to submit information, suggest story ideas or photo opportunities, etc. in East Providence, email