National Fisherman


Cold temperatures brought an early freeze to local rivers, which has allowed smelt-fishing camps to get a jump on the season.

Commercial smelt camps that most years don’t typically open until mid-January had enough ice to open around Christmas.

“We’ve probably got 16 inches of ice, if not more,” said Sonny Newton, owner of Sonny’s Smelt Fishing on the Kennebec River in Dresden. “We started cutting (through the ice) with a 14-inch bar, and we couldn’t get through it. It was 17 below yesterday. It’s making ice.”

Newton put shacks out the day after Christmas and has 10 shacks out so far, but said business has been slow, in part because people aren’t used to being able to fish this early in the season. Last year, Sonny’s didn’t have fishing until a couple weeks into January, he said.

“It has been slow, but it’s early,” Newton said. “People just had Christmas and New Year’s, when they spend a lot of money. And the economy is hard.”

Read the full story at the Portland Press Herald>>

Inside the Industry

Pat Fiorelli, the long-serving public affairs officer for the New England Fishery Management Council, will step down at the end of July.

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The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation announced last week the sixth round of grant awards from its Fisheries Innovation Fund, a program launched in 2010 to foster innovations that support sustainable fisheries in the United States. 

The goal of the Fisheries Innovation Fund is to sustain fishermen and fishing communities while simultaneously rebuilding fish stocks.

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