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Old 03-19-2003, 07:29 AM
bdowning's Avatar
bdowning bdowning is offline
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Use of herring as bait in fresh water in Mass. & CT

Saw this on www.newenglandshad.com. As it came from Caleb Slater of the Mass DFW and is presumably the authoritative word, I thought it would be of interest, especially to Connecticut River anglers fishing for stripers:

Re : Herring for bait By : Caleb Slater
Email : caleb.slater@state.ma.us
Posted : 18-Mar-03 at 04:03 PM
This message has been read [ 12 ] Times


I work for MA DFW and here is the scoop on herring.

Our regulations define legal LIVE baitfish- That's the list in the abstracts. Herring are not on that list so they may not be used as LIVE bait in freshwater.
As the laws are now you may use ANY fish as DEAD bait (herring, shad, mackerel, or trout if you like).
We are thinking about changing these laws to:
1) Include herring as a permited baitfish.
2) Define baitfish as LIVE OR DEAD fish only as listed. This would stop people from using gamefish (like shad) as striper bait.

If we go this route there will be public hearings this summer- I'll post the dates and locations here- we are trying to make this easier for you guys.

CT has prohibited the capture, but not the use of herring in CT- so if you have herring in CT you better have a reciept, or a good excuse (like you caught them in MA- but you will need a permit to import LIVE fish...)

Hope this helps.

Caleb Slater
MDFW
Westborough
508.792.7270x133
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  #2  
Old 03-21-2003, 06:34 AM
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striperman13 striperman13 is offline
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Fresh/Saltwater?

In the spring we take the boat up river and snag herring. Many times the stripers (big ones) are right there and we may take a few of them on a snagged bait without even removing the bait from the water (we call this a "Snag-n-Bag"). Since this is done past the first bridge is this considered fresh water? I have asked the Mass Environmental Police this question before and gotten vague answers like, "It's probably O.K."and "I would let that go." Does anyone know the rules?
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Old 03-21-2003, 07:11 AM
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bdowning bdowning is offline
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Good question. I would say in general that most states consider waters above the first bridge "fresh" but I would call Mass DFW for a definitive answer, if you can get one. Also, the way I read the Mass DFW fishing laws, snagging of anything in fresh water is prohibited. So if you are using herring in, say, the Connecticut River at Holyoke Dam, you can only take them by hook and line and they must be fished dead.

Of course, what the laws say and what I see people doing are often two different things!

-bd
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Old 03-23-2003, 06:50 AM
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striperman13 striperman13 is offline
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Snaging Herring

I am going to call DMF and ask them about the herring. I think you are correct about where the legal freshwater line is. I will post to this thread again when I get an answer. It may be the case that this is an accepted practice where I fish. That is, until someone decides it is not acceptable any more.
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Old 03-24-2003, 07:57 AM
jettyjockey jettyjockey is offline
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i always understood that a section of river in mass was considered "salt water" if it was tidally influenced...for some rivers, tidal influence can extend many miles inland, often well up past the first bridge typically to a dam or falls area...

i used to fish indian head river in pembroke during the shad season...this is the head of the north river and is tidally influenced all the way to the falls and fish ladder at indian head pond (the river level would fluctuate by less than a foot)...i was told by an epo years ago that a freshwater fishing license technically is not required to fish tidally influenced rivers, even ones the state stocks with trout...i don't know if this still is the case...
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Old 03-25-2003, 06:41 AM
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striperman13 striperman13 is offline
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From MA DMF

I copied this from the MA DMF abstract. There is no mention of herring in the MA DFW inland water handbook and no definition of what is considered an inland water so I guess the DMF definition goes for both.


Coastal Waters Under the Jurisdiction of the Commonwealth:

All the waters within the rise and fall of the tide extending
out to three miles from an established coastal baseline and
all the waters of Massachusetts Bay, Cape Cod Bay, and
Nantucket Sound. It does not include the waters within or
above any fishladder or dam, nor the waters above any tidal
bound established by DEP in streams flowing to the sea.


Snagging, Snatching of Anadromous Fish:

including shad, smelt, white perch, striped bass, trout, and
salmon, but excluding alewives or river herring is prohibited.

Last edited by striperman13; 03-25-2003 at 06:44 AM..
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Old 03-25-2003, 07:43 AM
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bdowning bdowning is offline
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I'm not sure what thye mean by "tidal bound defined by the DEP" but this may support the concept that any waters within tidal influence (excluding dams and fish ladders) are subject to saltwater rather than freshwater regs. In Mass., that would put the boundary well upstream of the "first bridge" in most rivers.

The Indianhead, for example, is definitely tidally influenced all the way up to the dam. Does that mean you could fish for stocked trout there without a license? I, for one, wouldn't, but the law implies you can.

-bd

Last edited by bdowning; 03-25-2003 at 07:46 AM..
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  #8  
Old 03-26-2003, 06:28 AM
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striperman13 striperman13 is offline
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Jurisdiction

It sounds like the DEP and the DMF may be having a jurisdictional conflict. I would be safe and obtain a freshwater license when fishing in any river. It also sounds like snagging herring past the first bridge is ok although, the part about the "established tidal bound" is still a bit fuzzy.
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