Zebra Mussels are in the news again. This past week authorities in western Massachusetts learned Zebra Mussels had established themselves in Laurel lake. This is the first documented case of Zebras in Massachusetts. For those of you who are not familiar with them, they often clog pipes and other mechanical gear. For fisherman, the big fear is changing the ecosystem. These little filter feeders can be devastating to a lake or river. They can turn murky water to crystal clear water by filtering out the algae.
What is wrong with no algae and crystal clear water? Algae are at the bottom of the food chain and the loss of this food source makes it way up to the top predator. No algae results in no food for the second level of the food chain. No food for the second level means they die off and leave no food for the next level and so on. Soon the game fish we generally target are around in much lower numbers. It can be devastating to a sport fishery. The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River are two prime examples.
Even though we are saltwater anglers, most of us fish in fresh water. Make sure you adequately clean your boats, kayaks, and gear when moving between different bodies of water. Did you know it can take up to 30 days for Zebra Mussels to die, even though your kayak is in your backyard? Check your state fisheries website or Google Zebra Mussels to learn how to keep your gear clean. Or just stick with saltwater fishing!
Cast a Fly skipper Capt. Ray Stachelek reports:
There’s still some good bass fishing at Block Island even though it’s two thirds thru July. There’s plenty of top water action during the morning hours near sun rise, but it doesn’t last long. The sand eels quickly dissipate.
Larger stripers are holding in deeper waters will hit a sluggo or other rubber offering. Fly fishermen are having success with sand eel imitation with sinking lines some as large as fifteen pounds. Plenty of larger stripers in the plus thirty range willing to take a live eel in deeper waters. The southwestern humps and the area around the red nun at Black Rock is a good start. Move around a lot. There are pockets of fish moving thru the current most of the mornings.
Joe Calcavecchia and Joe Herbert (see picture above) fly fished Monday morning during the rising tide. They had steady action for most of the morning with calm seas and little wind. These teen sized stripers are a lot of fun to catch on a fly rod. You will soon find out, “why they call them rock fish?”
Watch Hill and Eastern LI Sound
Capt. Mike Duclos of Tiderunner Charter reports:
Hit or miss have been the mode for the past week, one day the fish are visible and feeding, the next the water seems almost sterile with the absence of birds and fish on the surface. Stripers have definitely moved into summer mode, so a little more effort is needed to hook up. Reports of the tiny shrimp hatches that frustrate so many anglers have started this week in the Watch Hill area; catching the Stripers slurping them necessitates using a very small dead drifted tan to grey fly in a size 8. It can be frustrating but when you get the rhythm it can be very successful. Bluefish on the top first thing in the morning at the mouth of the Thames and also in the Race near the Middle, they are not particularly picky but sometimes hard to stay on as they chase the bait. They are feeding on small bunker and sand eels; watch the terns to see the size of the bait they are picking off the surface. Have a great week and tight lines to all.
Capt. Roger K. Gendron of Connecticut Island Outfitters reports:
Wow! What a great way to end a week, particularly in mid July. However, the water temperature is still hovering around 69 to 70 degrees on the surface. The cool water is working in our favor as a number of Bass are willing to cruise near shore and feed in shallow water. This week I fished mostly light tackle, and fish are taking small soft plastic jigs that imitate sand eels or small minnows, but so are Sea Robins and hundreds of Blues, sized for canning.
Switching to top water plugs takes some of the pesky by catch out of the equation, and has drawn some positively ferocious strikes from Stripers. It’s not just the schoolies slamming the surface either. Persistent plugging proved rewarding for Keith and fishing partner Dwight, as the fish seemed to get larger and more aggressive as the tide picked up.
Occasionally fish would reveal themselves with a swirl or tail flip, but blind popping on a steady drift eventually brought fish up. Repeating the drift or moving up wind of bait schools was productive as well.
Generally the early mornings are more productive for sun-shy Bass, but this past week the converse was true. The action at first light was pokey at best with the top of the incoming tide at slack during the early morning. As the tide accelerated, so did the strikes. It was a rare and welcome treat to have good action and great weather on the same day.