any big fish in the Merrimack? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: any big fish in the Merrimack?

05-27-2003, 01:18 PM
What's the story? Anybody hear anything about big fish in the river yet? How bout herring? Are they up river?

BTW, if anybody's wondering about my OBX trip, I never wet a line. We got there at 4:00 Pm, spent a sleepless night waiting for the tent to blow away under gale force wind and torrential rain, packed up next morning in the deluge and were off the island by 10:00 AM. I brought home about a gallon of North Carolina rain water rapped up in my tent.

John Desjardins
05-27-2003, 02:12 PM
Your trip sounds a lot like what I remember of a fishing trip to OBX years ago.

05-27-2003, 08:17 PM
I've heard of a few good fish chasing herring and shad on the Mac', also the shad are in up at Lawrence. Piscataqua is getting some early herring/mackerel eaters according to liveliners I've spoken with. Since fish are showing around Hampton it's worth throwing a few french fries over the porch at Brown's and the other place across the street (Markey's?). I'd say of those cows are back the big fish have started to fill in up in that region.

Morning lows this weekend might be worth a try with a quick descent line at the bottom of the tide at the charter boats.

06-06-2003, 10:07 PM
What do you mean by big? ;)

06-09-2003, 03:37 PM
Now ssully, you've been around long enough to know to me, "big" means an honest "keeper". Inother words 36 inches!

I finally had time to get out a do some scouting myself. My two brothers, my Dad and I went up Saturday night and had a little fun. Although the fish ran a little smaller than past years for this spot [average 28" - 32"], enough good ones were around to wake our drag washers from their long winter's nap.

A great time was had by all!

BTW, although we landed enough keepers to fill our 8 fish combined limit, no fish were taken. I think in light of the new two fish limit, I'm gonna pass on killing bass this year. My wife and I have developed a taste for aquaculture salmon. That oughta fill my seafood needs. I'm not moralizing our judging anyone who wants to kill legal bass [I've eaten my share], nor do I believe my individual "sacrifice" will have significant effect on the stock. I just decided the fillets wouldn't taste quite as good with me feeling guilty about killing them.

06-09-2003, 03:48 PM
Forgive me for sounding ignorant... when did it go to two fish?? I am also of the rare harvest C&R variety of anglers, perhaps 10 in 20 years. Maybe an individual's contribution doesn't do too much but if many curb their appetite it will make a difference, especially if others are taking twice as many as past years.

Time for me to go re-read the regs...

06-10-2003, 05:47 AM
Juro, go here:

06-10-2003, 06:37 AM
It's both embarassing and at the same time a relief that I had no clue the kill limit had been doubled. I guess I am totally focused on catching them, not so much keeping them :)

This won't affect what I do any, but I am concerned that the mortality rate will drastically increase in an already escalated state (MA).

Incidental mortality is also a real villan in MA. We need to enact regulations to control gut hooking like circle hooks with bait, or reduce the number of treble hooks allowed on a plug, limit the number of hooks in an umbrella rig (let there be as many rubber fish but less hooks), etc.

Maybe if the incidental mortality was controlled there would be room for increasing the daily kill limit without impacting the striper population negatively.

I don't see why we increased overall mortality without checks and balances in place.:confused:

06-10-2003, 03:30 PM
I agree the mortality is too high. I fished an up river spot the other night which at low tide stunk like an old cannery from the dead bass carcasses. At least one I saw was a legal fish too. Some angler probably believed he did the right thing releasing the 30"+ fish after it swallowed his herring.
Although gear restrictions would be helpful, I believe angler education about the proper way to land, unhook and release a fish would be more so. I've seen many dead schoolies at the mouth that were punted back into the river by a single hook jig fisherman. Also many dead 27.5" inch fish that had been rolled in the dry sand for ten minutes while some nimrod tried to measure it.
That's why I avoid the popular spots these days. Between the poaching, fish abuse and littering, I start to get fantacies about that character Michael Douglas played. What was the name of that movie?

Dble Haul
06-10-2003, 03:38 PM
The movie where Michael Douglas snaps like a cold carrot is called Falling Down.

Great analogy!

06-10-2003, 03:40 PM
Agree w/Mike Z. No matter how you cut it if you're going to chunk off the beach or liveline, you're going to inadvertently kill a lot of fish.

Friend of mine works on a charter and mortality is pretty high trolling umbrellas too. Not from the hooks but from the fish being dragged a long distance by the boat while reeling it in.

I know this has been brought up but I don't understand the point of the new 2 fish regs. Am I missing something or is there any POSITIVE effect on the striper population at all to be gained by this legislation?

If they went to a slot limit I could understand, but I don't see the point of 2 fish over 28"...for anyone involved....

06-10-2003, 10:25 PM
Mike I was kidding. I know that you don't consider it legal unless it's at least 36". Some better than this were had on Saturday morning. On flies to boot. :D

I'm kind of shocked that you didn't know about the two fish limit as usually you are on op of these things. They had the meetings and the recs didn't show. Simple as that. And the fact that greed rules.

FWIW, I saw lots of fish killed this past weekend. I hope they enjoyed them as they won't much longer at that rate.

To me Maine seems to have the right idea. My.02

06-10-2003, 11:21 PM
I guess I let that one slip by while life was taking a few twists and turns on me. I recall the call to hearings and concerns about regulatory changes.

If MA striper mortality is unacceptably high in both retention and release, then why aren't we working on reducing the release mortality and holding steady on the current kill limits? One has to wonder what's behind this decision, the logic behind it.

No family can eat two keepers between dad's fishing trips, so hopefully it will go the way of the bluefish in the 80's. The wife will threaten the husband with a rolling pin "don't bring any more of that %$#@&* fish home!".

Besides, with the PCB levels, parasites, ick, flesh-eating bacteria, pfisteria, etc. who would want to eat one anyway? :devil:

06-11-2003, 04:55 AM
Last week's early a.m. high tides on the flats were pretty darn good!
I hate to admit it....but.....all of this season's good fish have come on flies! Good grief!! Not quite ready to give up spin fishing, yet. :)
35" and a 37" last Saturday a.m. on Kinky Fibre flies. others have said....if you fish the Merrimack and surrounding areas, expect company.

06-11-2003, 05:09 AM
Those are some damn nice fish Doug. Seeing some backing lately, eh? And you probably didn't even need to wake up early. About time for me to start playing around up the north showah!

06-11-2003, 07:22 AM
Yep.....almost forgot what backing looked like! ;)
Was definitely out early....but the larger fish hit between 6:30 and 7:00 a.m.
Lost a beauty to a broken leader and another to a non wide gap hook pull out near the boat.
With days like that, I almost wish all days could be a 4:30 or 5:00 a.m. high tide.

06-11-2003, 07:22 AM
question on the merrimack-
would I be safe fishing Joppa from my canoe (solo) around high-tide?
I know a lot of people yak it, but am I going to get swamped by big wakes or the like?
btw - I plan to be there Friday (during the day) if anyone wants to meet up. I have a red old town canoe that will either be in the water or strapped to my Saturn wagon - VT plates.

06-11-2003, 08:03 AM
Dewey - you should be o.k., just keep a look out & wear a PFD.

If you are there on Saturday put a PFD on the canoe too! ;)

Good luck,

06-11-2003, 10:30 AM
thanks! I'm going.
I'll be solo, so if someone wants to hop in the bow... let me know.
Another question.
If I put in at the "boat launch", how much time do you suspect I'll have on either side of high tide before I am stuck in the muck? I don't mind carrying/dragging my canoe a little bit, but I don't want to get stranded on the flats. Obviously I'll have to be observant.
tight lines!

06-11-2003, 10:53 AM
From what I hear you can wade a couple hours on either side of low - so i you want to avoid dragging your canoe back, I'd say all other hours...

Maybe Doug or other Joppa frequenters would know better - guys?

06-12-2003, 05:07 AM
Like Sprocket said, about 2 hours either side of low.....though I only wade on a dropping tide.
Keep in mind there is a trough between the flats and the seawall that is 1-2 feet deeper than up on top of Joppa.
I've seen a few people tip toe around on a rising tide....only to get a little surprise on the way back in by this, when "cutting it too close".
Careful out there in the canoe...some boaters just don't care how big of a wake they throw.
I did enough squirming in the kayak a year or two say the heck with it. But, that's just me.

06-12-2003, 06:23 AM
Be Careful with the canoe. Use in the afternoon and evening is suicidal on Joppa.
Try for a 9:00 am high and put in at the fishing boats on PI about 6:00. there is boat traffic and lots of it till 8:00 or 9:00 PM