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01/11/2023 05:26 PM

Striped Bass Draft Addendum 1 to Amendment 7

Will Addendum I, Amendment 7, of the Interstate Fishery Management Plan ultimately be adopted to allow voluntary transfers of ocean commercial quota between states? Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan
The Kensington fish hatchery in Berlin, CT raises and provides outstanding broodstock Atlantic salmon to be stocked in rivers readily fished by recreational anglers. Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan
Fishing the Shetucket River for broodstock Atlantic salmon is one of the popular winter outdoor activities recreational anglers pursue. Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan

Connecticut does not have a striped bass commercial fishery in place within its waters. The commercial harvest and sale is prohibited with re-allocation of that quota given to the recreational fishery. Nevertheless, the state is still allocated an adjusted commercial quota for the popular morone saxatilis of 14,607 pounds, down from 23,750 in 2014.

The purpose of Draft Addendum 1 to Amendment 7 is to allow the voluntary transfer of legally harvested striped bass between states that have an ocean quota, thereby maximizing a greater percentage of this allowable ocean region fishery and reducing unnecessary mortality. Allowing quota transfers for the first time could increase utilization of the total ocean quota, which could undermine the goals and objectives of the reductions taken under Addendum VI in 2020.

The commercial ocean fishery has consistently underutilized its total quota, due to a combination of fish availability and state-specific regulations (e.g. commercial fishing prohibitions). Addendum VI was designed to achieve a specific reduction in total removals through more restrictive recreational measures and reduced commercial quotas in order to achieve the fishing mortality target.

Multiple factors could contribute to how much quota is landed each year, including year class availability, overall stock abundance, nearshore availability, fishing effort, and state management programs. These factors and their impact on striped bass commercial fisheries likely vary among states and within seasons. Note that in 2021, total Atlantic striped bass removals (commercial and recreational — including commercial dead discards and recreational release mortality) were estimated at 5.1 million fish — 14 percent commercial and 86 percent recreational.

If quota transfers are permitted, quotas would be transferred, pound-for-pound, from the donor state to the receiving state. Since different states might have different size and quota restrictions, challenges would need to be addressed concerning transfers between those states. One concern to consider in allowing commercial quota transfers of striped bass might be the encouragement of intentional over-quota fishing and “deal”-making. Such action may have unintended consequences that could negatively affect health of the overall stock.

There are several options on the table which include: A) Commercial quota transfers are not permitted; B) General commercial quota transfer provision with overfished conservation tax; C) Limited commercial quota transfer provision based on stock status; D) Board discretion commercial quota transfer provision with overfished conservation tax; E) Limited Board discretion commercial quota transfer provision based on stock status. Measures approved by the Striped Bass Management Board of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) through this addendum would be effective immediately on the date of approval. The final date for public comments is Friday, Jan. 13 at 11:59 p.m. (EST) and should be forwarded to Striped Bass Draft Addendum I.

On The Water

High pressure gradually shifted offshore as low pressure approached to welcome in 2023. The associated warm front moved north, opening the door for the associated cold front that moved across the area and strengthened as it shifted farther away to the northeast. High pressure returned from the west, bringing 50 degree-plus temperatures ahead of another low pressure system that brought 40 degree temps, clouds, some rain, and sun. Meanwhile, Long Island Sound water temperatures fluctuated around the low 40’s, joined by gusty winds that were light to moderate and accompanied by variable seas.

Most fishers out and about will agree that despite flippant weather conditions overall, many days amounted to being unseasonably warm. That resulted in striped bass being fished for and caught in CT’s major tidal rivers, as well as some parts of the Sound on the more calm days.

Throughout the sometimes rain, sometimes unseasonably warm holiday break, any thin ice was short-lived. Calls for ice baits were from fishers looking to pop holes for tip-ups and do some jigging north of I-95, especially northwest and northeast regions of the state. Along the shoreline there was more action in stretches of trout rivers and salmon waters that were not skimmed over, like the recently stocked Shetucket on Jan. 3. Action in those waters varied, but worth the trip for most anglers venturing out. Southern CT lakes and ponds saw mixed results in between the warm and cold fronts. Most of that action came from open water and included catches of largemouth bass, a few pickerel, catfish, yellow perch, and other panfish. Anglers looking for toothy critters, like northern pike, targeted parts of the CT River, its coves, and additional known pike waters such as Bantam, Beseck, and Mansfield Hollow, parts of which saw tentative ice.

For those anglers who have been wrapped up in year-end activities and not yet heard of some key changes to inland sportfishing regulations, some of the key ones are brought to your attention below:

Seasons: Removes the closed season for fishing on all lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams. Establishes a statewide “Catch and Release” season for trout and kokanee from March 1 to 6 a.m. on the second Saturday of April (Opening Day of harvest). Extends the season on Trout Management Lakes from March 31 to 6 a.m. on the second Saturday of April (Opening Day of harvest). Retains thermal refuge closure to protect trout while seeking refuge in cold-water tributaries, as indicated by signs posted by CT DEEP.

Species: Revises the statewide daily creel limit for trout and kokanee to now be five trout daily and five kokanee daily.

Gear: Establishes a limit of two devices per person when ice fishing on East Twin Lake or Lake Wononskopomuc. This may be two tip ups, two jigging rods, or one of each.

Event: CT River Salmon Association 45th annual dinner to be held on Saturday, Jan. 14 at the USS Chowder Pot IV. Live music, social hour, auction (rods, reels, trips, etc.), awards, guest speaker, door prize, mystery wine raffle. African Safari Trip up for bid! Reservation form: or Contact: Tom Chrosniak at 860-519-7451,

Fly Fishing: Outstanding Opportunity for the experienced or beginner! Booking inland and marine fly fishing lessons for 2023 with World Fisher, certified Master Fly Fishing Casting Instructor and Fishing Lodge Director. From trout, salmon, steelhead, and sea-run browns to striped bass, bonefish, permit, and tarpon, etc., techniques learned and honed will improve your fishing.

Note: Email us pics of your catches to share with our USA and International fishing friends who keep up with the latest fishing news and frequent social media.

For all things fishy including the latest gear, ice fishing, flies/fly fishing, rods/reels, clam/crabbing supplies, fishing trips, licenses/permits, and much more, swing by the shop (203-245-8665) open seven days located at 21 Boston Post Road, Madison. Until next time from your Connecticut shoreline’s full-service fishing outfitter and Authorized Penn Premium Dealer, where we don’t make the fisherman, we make the fisherman better.

Tight Lines,

Captain Morgan

twitter @captmorgan_usa