Three cheers for the Blackstone River

Posted 8/9/22

To celebrate the Blackstone River and bring attention to clean water, access and conservation measures taken by the Blackstone Watershed Collaborative a series of events including a paddle from …

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Three cheers for the Blackstone River


To celebrate the Blackstone River and bring attention to clean water, access and conservation measures taken by the Blackstone Watershed Collaborative a series of events including a paddle from Worcester to Providence and a much shorter Public Paddle will take place August 11 to August 14.

The Blackstone Family River Fest ( will be held Friday, August 12, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at River Bend Farm in Uxbridge, MA (287 Oak Street Uxbridge, MA, 01569). This will be a public festival with live music, food trucks, craft beer, and environmental organizations tabling, including Mass Audubon, Save the Bay, and other organizations.

On Sunday, August 14 a Public Paddle ( and End-of-Paddle Celebration, that will take place at Narragansett Beer (271 Tockwotton Street Providence, RI, 02903). The shuttle will leave Sunday, August 14, 12:30 p.m. from Narragansett Brewing to bring paddlers to Festival Pier (the start location of the Public Paddle). Anglers must register for the paddle.

Paula’s pan seared black sea bass

Last week I fished with Paula Smalec of Portsmouth, RI. She is a great angler and a retired family and consumer sciences teacher. She is an active member of the RI Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA) and their magazine’s “Cooking Your Catch” columnist. Paula shared her recipe for pan seared black sea bass, which also works for summer flounder (or fluke), so I could share it with you.

Ingredients: 2 Tablespoons butter, divided; 1 Tablespoon olive oil; 2 black sea bass fillets; lemon pepper seasoning; salt; lemon juice; and 1-2 Tablespoons capers (optional).

Instructions: Rinse fillets with cold water and pat them dry with paper towels. Season one side of each fillet with salt and lemon pepper seasoning. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter with the oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat until the butter just begins to foam. Place the fillets, seasoned side down, into the frying pan. Fry for approximately one minute. Turn fillets over and continue to fry until the fillets flake easily when pressed lightly.

Remove fillets to a separate plate, seasoned side up, and cover with foil to keep warm.

Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in the frying pan. Using a small whisk, scrape up any bits of fish that have stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add a few splashes of lemon juice (and capers, if using them) and whisk the mixture vigorously until blended well. Scrape the bottom of the pan as you drizzle this mixture over the fish.

Angler input sought on
climate scenarios

Anglers need to prepare for climate change. And, fish managers and fisheries governance have to prepare and change too accommodated climate change.

The way East Coast fisheries have been preparing is through climate change scenario planning.  The goal of the initiative is to assess how climate change might affect stock distribution and availability of marine fisheries over the next 20 years and to identify the implications for fishery management and governance.

In June 2022, I and a group of about 70 other stakeholders attended a workshop to develop an initial set of scenarios, describing several different possible futures facing East Coast fisheries out to 2042.

As the next step in the scenario planning process, two Scenario Deepening webinars will be held in August 2022. These webinars will offer all interested stakeholders an opportunity to review, validate, and add details to the draft scenarios.

Each session will begin with an overview of the draft scenarios. Participants will then have an opportunity to add comments and suggestions to make the scenarios more plausible, challenging, relevant, memorable, and divergent. Participants only need to attend one of the two webinars Wednesday, August 17, 2022, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. or Tuesday, August 23, 2022, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

The scenario creation workshop summary with draft scenarios will be posted at

Where’s the bite?

Striped bass and bluefish. Sam Toland of Sam’s Bait & Tackle, Middletown, said, “The bass bite off Newport is still very good with anglers trolling tube & worming. However, the activity in Narragansett Bay has slowed greatly.” Anglers reported a great bluefish bite in Greenwich Bay this week with multiple schools of fish surfacing at the same time. Declan O’Donnell of Breachway Bait & Tackle, Charlestown, RI, said, “Fishing has remained consistent for striped bass with plenty of schoolie to slot sized fish still holding on shallow pieces of structure and the larger fish starting to move out a little deeper. There are still some schools of nice sized bluefish around.” Jeff Sullivan of Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren, said, “With the warming water the bass are now in deeper water, but the bite is still very good.”

Summer flounder (fluke), black sea bass and scup. “The scup bite continues to be good at Sabin Point, Rocky Point, Colt State Park with anglers catching 3 to 4 fish or hitting it big depending on the day,” said John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside. “Some people limiting out and others struggling to find a couple of fluke keepers. Pink and white have been the colors of choice. Black sea bass fishing continues to improve with plenty of nice sized sea bass on deeper structure … Vertical jigging has been effective catching your boat limit with bait rigs working too,” said O’Donnell of Breachway. 

“Anglers are catching fluke but they are working for them picking through ten or so shorts to catch a keeper (18-inch minimum size),” said Jeff Sullivan. “We had some reports this weekend of anglers hooking up with fluke but overall it is still slow off Newport, some larger black sea bass are now being caught.” said Sam Toland of Sam’s Bait.

Bluefin and yellowfin tuna, chub maceral, Wahoo and bonito. Jeff Sullivan of Lucky Bait & Tackle, said, “The bluefin bite is still very good with 600 plus pound fish being caught just south of Block Island.” “Offshore reports continue to improve with yellowfin, bluefin, mahi and even a few wahoo caught recently.  Trick is getting out early and finding life.” said Declan O’Donnell of Breachway Bait & Tackle.

“Freshwater fishing has slowed greatly, particularly fishing in the day, as the water is too warm.” said John Littlefield of Archie’s.

 Dave Monti holds a captain’s master license and charter fishing license. He serves on a variety of boards and commissions and has a consulting business focusing on clean oceans, habitat preservation, conservation, renewable energy, and fisheries related issues and clients. Forward fishing news and photos to or visit

No Fluke, fishing column


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