alright so this is a somewhat rambling post that may not interest a whole lot of you, but i find it interesting. i would love to hear any opinions or discussion of decline of fish numbers of any type: flounder, tuna, whatever...but my topic is more towards the bottom of the food chain, that purveyor of deliciousness, the smelt.
i have been going smelt fishing each late summer/early fall for many years, and also have been hitting the ice shacks in maine every winter over the past 5 or 6 years. smelt fishing has a lot of nostalgia attached to it for me, always liked seeing the old timers lined up along the piers filling buckets down in place like hull, scituate, and plymouth. a lot has changed since then.
up until 2 years ago, the handful of remaining smelt fishermen in mass did pretty well. i would always come home with plenty for the fryer and the freezer. trips to maine would fill buckets.
then, in the past 2 years, numbers have seemed to divebomb. a trip last week to maine with 4 guys, we caught a couple dozen altogether, and that was our best trip in 3 years. not very long ago, people would go and catch them by the 100s. this past september in mass, i went a couple times a week but only caught 2 or 3 total. some people want to blame it on all the snapper blues that were around, but i just dont buy it. other people are saying it is seals, or global warming...and of course the cormorants. whatever it is, it's a shame.
i was up in maine at baker's smelt camp last week and there was a biologist there asking questions about catches. he said he was doing research for an article for the bangor news because of the decline in numbers. here is the article:http://www.pressherald.com/news/Maine_smelt_camps_having_bad_season_.html?pagenum=%202