2022 was a full year of adventures so this week, we offer a second look at some of the best with our Favorite Fish Wrap 2022 Moments II.
“How Do You Value Opening Day?” Paul Pezza sat comfortably in a Check Station folding camp chair. Gunnar Wec stood confidently on the banks of the Wood River. John Graichen held court by Tiogue Lake. Young James paced the shores of a South Kingstown kids-only trout pond. And the masses lined shorelines state-wide to land a first-of-the-the season trout on April’s second Saturday. It’s a generations old celebration of pitch black car rides, respect for a 6am start, a tug of the line and breakfast with bacon and stories. Spring greatest day for many, means different things to different folks and all have great value. Discussing if one might have more value than another, well that takes some imagination.
“No Stocking Upper Wood River” The Rhode Island chapter of Trout Unlimited has made a bold move to protect native fishes and their essential habitat. RITU Chapter President, Glenn Place, has initiated, spoken about, argued for and stood his ground when it came to protecting trout and now, bucking a tradition of historical participation from TU members, President Place is calling for an end to stocking trout in the upper Wood River Watershed.
Stocking was accepted and handily funded for generations but such reliance on hatcheries to fix what we diminished is being actively questioned. RITU members historically assisted RIDEM with float stocking brown, rainbow and brook trout throughout the Wood. Stocking does serve a purpose, as we have covered substantially here but Glenn’s announcement is focused on what many knew we should never do: stock hatchery-raised trout, two species of which are non-native, over established populations of wild trout.
“Women Who Choose to Lead” It’s clear that the Baird Symposium, the Bay Campus, the University, our businesses, our communities, our country, is blessed with and surely benefits from strong women. The very room where senators, deans, academics and anglers gathered to confront a changing climate, was named for beloved GSO alumnae Helen J. Mosby. The very day our Supreme Court summarily dismissed a woman’s right to choose, I was in the presence of women who lead academic and governmental institutions, create research, policy and regulation and enrich vocations that investigate and build knowledge. Bright, formidable, literate, inspirited women who earned their way to enviable career summits. At every step, women who choose to lead inspire others to grow and learn.
It was a potent moment, being in their company, celebrating a collaboration of thoughtful people who choose to look up, to question and understand then work to improve an undeniably changing world. What an honor it was to be in that room and to learn from those women.
More Favorite Fish Wrap 2022 Moments II
“Freeing RI’s Flat River” “If you know where the barriers and cold water are, can we make a plan to improve connectivity?” President and CEO of Trout Unlimited Chris Wood asked, standing by the Flat River in 2019. There remains approximately 670 dams impounding Rhode Island waters; a significant number are archaic relics and need to be torn down. TU has logically, passionately advocated for selective dam removal, a Herculean task considering ownership, abandonment and liabilities. “This is a really big project and a very long day,” warns Glenn Place, President of Rhode Island’s TU chapter as the Flat River etches its way through the Arcadia Management Area.
In fairness, the stone wall was really quite beautiful. Clean lines, tight corners, still level top with a lush skin of damp green moss. It might be a hundred years since laborers stacked and measured to impound this particular, pretty river. It’s obvious destruction of fish habitat and movement were considered fair market prices to pay for watering goats, cows and potatoes but times have changed.
“Surfcasting Around the Block II” Dennis Zambrotta, known for his years of surfcasting success, respected for his knowledge and fishing wisdom, famous for his first book, Surfcasting Around the Block and appreciated for being a total gentleman, has released a sequel and it is fantastic. His decades of working boulder fields, rock piles and short sandy stretches clear through to dawn also helped him build a network of angling friends who shared his love of the island and the peace of off season quiet and strong fishing. Fall and often early winter lured anglers from all over to cast needlefish and jointed swimmers for giant striped bass. Surfcasting Around the Block II gathers stories and counsel from many of these characters, combines them with his personal anecdotes then ferries readers to Aquidneck Island for similar beaches and potentials.
As is the case with the march of time, we lost some special people.
“Everett Littlefield’s Epic Spring Passing” Everett Littlefield was a true Block Island gentleman, family man, veteran and businessman. He embodied pure outdoor spirit: he was independent, self-sufficient, driven and happy. When he passed, it seemed the whole island stood at his service, through a rainstorm of biblical proportions. As we paid our respects, the heavens unleashed, grief turned to laughter and we all looked upward, knowing our friend had the last word. Yes a true islander had the last laugh.
“Fair Tides Uncle Doyle” Mike Doyle owned the F/V Charlie’s Pride and the F/V Seafarer. Uncle Doyle, as my son called him, was a friend and reserved benefactor to many people. Being local or in need carried more seawater for Mike than any credit rating. He left a lot of people and loved ones too quickly. I miss my Sunday morning visits, hearing his stories, learning from his great knowledge. So fair seas sir, fair tides, fair winds, fare well. Thank you Uncle Doyle, you were a fine and generous friend.
There is a whole year’s worth of stories, reports and reminders of how amazing our world really is at our website. Thanks to you all for another great year