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Trout Trucks Are Headed This Way

March 16, 2019 GMT

Fishermen around the Commonwealth have waited a long time to once again hear the sound of stocking trucks rolling down the highways to their local trout holes.

The state has finally started stocking some of the 500,000 brook, brown and rainbow trout they have raised this year. This will be a bumper crop of fish with growing conditions ideal at all hatcheries.

Rainbows are the bulk of the fish raised and these will be mostly over 12 inches and some over 18 inches. There will be a release of bonus broodstock fish around the state as happens every year. These are fish no longer producing the number of eggs they once did so off they go. Some of these could exceed 8 pounds.

There will also be about 3,000 tiger trout split between the five districts.

Brook trout are always popular. Some will be over 12 inches but there will be some bonus brookies that will exceed 16 inches. These are like brookies you catch in Canada.

The browns will be enormous this year. There will be bonus browns over 18 inches and some surplus browns over 20 inches. These will fight you to the boat and never quit.

Stocking has already started on the Cape with more than 15 ponds and lakes planted last week. Rainbows were stocked and to name just a couple of spots, Goose and Schoolhouse were done in the town of Chatham. Central and Eastern Mass. district offices are scheduled to start this week, weather and access permitting.

Melting quickly

Ice fishing is fast becoming part of the history channel for 2019. The weather has been warm and it does not take long for the sun’s rays to penetrate the ice and make it very soft. So here are a few things for you to think about:

* Stay off the ice along the shoreline if it is cracked or squishy. Don’t go on the ice during thaws.

* Watch out for thin, clear, or honeycombed ice. Dark snow and ice may also indicate weak spots.

* Small bodies of water tend to freeze thicker. Rivers and lakes are more prone to wind, currents and wave action that weaken ice.

* Don’t gather in large groups or drive large vehicles onto the ice.

* If you do break through the ice, don’t panic. Move or swim back to where you fell in, where you know the ice was solid. Lay both arms on the unbroken ice and kick hard. This will help lift your body onto the ice. A set of ice picks can help you pull yourself out if you do fall through the ice; wear them around your neck or put them in an easily accessible pocket. Once out of the water, roll away from the hole until you reach solid ice.

Ice safety is also very important for snowmobilers. Don’t assume a trail is safe just because it exists -- ask about trail conditions at local snowmobile clubs or sporting goods shops before you go.

Outdoors news & notes

Saturday, March 23, at 7 a.m. is the day of the Last Man Standing Ice Fishing Derby at the Fitchburg Rod and Gun Club. The ice here now is over 10 inches thick. The cost is $20 per person and the club is located on Richardson Road in Ashby on the Fitchburg line. Prizes are all cash.

New Hampshire just purchased 2,781 acres of land in the northern part of the state. This will be a new Wildlife Management area open to all sportsmen for hunting and fishing. The cost of the project is $2.1 million.

Bears are waking up fast. The warm 60 -degree day and a few 50-degree days was enough to wake up a few bears and the cubs from that long winter snooze. So if you find your bird feeder ripped apart it might well be Yogi and Boo Boo.

Women who want to get in on learning to become a turkey hunter need to call Mass Wildlife now. The spring turkey hunt is fast approaching and will be held at Devens. You can take a class at the Shirley Rod and Gun Club April 6, then the two-day hunt is either May 13 or May 20. There are tons of birds at Devens so you will have a great opportunity at landing a gobbler. To register call 508-389-6300.

Safari Club International will have its annual banquet and auction April 13 at the Boxboro Regency. This will start at 3 p.m. with dinner at 5:30. Dinner will be prime rib, bison or chicken. Following the dinner will be the auction featuring trips to Alaska, Africa, striped bass fishing trips to the Cape, hunts to Argentina and more the 20 items in all. It’s the largest show ever in the New England region. To register call 860-428-6800 The cost is $75 for adults and $40 for youths.

Bill Biswanger’s email is bboutdoor1@aol.com