Saltwater anglers, we need your help. I would like to invite you all to consider participating in the Department of Marine Resources Volunteer Angler Logbook Program. It doesn’t matter if you make two trips or two hundred, we would like your information.

The Volunteer Angler Logbook (VAL) program is primarily geared toward striped bass fishermen as a means of collecting additional length, catch/effort data, but is open to anglers who fish for any saltwater species.

Although we have increased the sample size of the Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP), we still miss lengths and weights on sub-legal or released stripers because Maine’s striped bass fishery has size and bag limits.

Coupled with the fact that many anglers opt for catch and release, field interviewers actually see limited numbers of fish (87 in 2009).

The VAL program is quite simple. An angler records information about fish harvested or released during each trip for themselves and any fishing companions. Additional information about each trip is also recorded, including: time spent fishing, area fished, number of anglers, target species and how much money was spent. At the end of the season each angler mails his/her logbook to us (in a prepaid mailer), which we then copy and send the original logbook back to the angler. If you are interested in participating, please give me a call or drop me an e-mail with your mailing address.

 

Here is a preliminary summary of the 2009 data:

One hundred and twenty-one logbooks were distributed during the 2009 fishing season, of which 72 (60 percent) were returned and summarized. It’s worth noting that 102 (84 percent) participants responded in some manner at the season’s end, some noting no fishing for the season or lost logbooks.

The following species were reported as being caught: Acadian redfish, alewife, American eel, American lobster, American shad, Atlantic cod, Atlantic halibut, Atlantic herring, Atlantic mackerel, blue shark, bluefish, cunner, cusk, winter flounder, haddock, hake, lumpfish, northern pike, pollock, porbeagle shark, rainbow smelt, river herring, sculpin, sea raven, sea robin, smallmouth bass, spiny dogfish, striped bass, sturgeon and tautog.

EFFORT DATA

The 72 logbook keepers reported 1,368 fishing trips which, when multiplied by the number of logbook keepers and their fishing companions, resulted in 2,416 individual angler-trips.

The 72 logbook keepers reported they and their fishing companions fished for more than 8,000 angler-hours over the course of the season.

Less then one striped bass was caught per angler-hour on self/family/friends trips targeting striped bass as the primary or secondary target (1,083 trips). This is the same catch per unit effort as in 2008.

CATCH DATA

Of the 1,368 reported fishing trips, 89 percent (1,220) targeted striped bass as the primary or secondary target.

A total of 2,525 striped bass were caught on 625 trips. This was the lowest total recorded since the logbook program was started in 1996.

The highest total was 2005, when 28,476 striped bass were caught on 2,203 trips.

Of the 2,525 striped bass caught in 2009 13 percent (321) were kept and 87 percent (2,204) were released.

Sixty-one percent (1,467) of the stripers with estimated or measured lengths were slot length (20-26 inches). Of these, 21 percent (310) were kept and 79 percent (1,157) were released.

Fifty-four striped bass were estimated or measured to be 40 inches or greater in length (20 were actually measured). Six of these were kept while the other 48 were released.

Thirty-seven percent (879) of the striped bass with estimated or measured lengths were not legal size.

If you are planning to saltwater fish this season, make sure you sign up with the National Saltwater Angler Registry. It’s free in 2010 and only takes a couple of minutes. You can go online at www.countmyfish.noaa.gov or call 1-888-674-7411.

This saltwater report is written by Bruce Joule, Maine Department of Marine Resources, P.O. Box 8, West Boothbay Harbor 04575. If you have information to report please contact me at 633-9505 or e-mail:

[email protected]