Thursday, March 01, 2007

Where the Bass Are

It’s possible that you’ve been wondering where all the striped bass hang out in winter. The answer is: in the Thames River, near Norwich.

John Torgan, the Narragansett Baykeeper, reprints on his blog an article by a fisherman named Al Anderson, who has been conducting a mark and recapture study of striped bass in the Thames for years. It’s a fascinating article. In it Anderson writes:

It appears that 30 or 40 thousand or more striped bass have congregated here each winter in recent times. In 1999 Bob Sampson, Jr. and I used an underwater video camera to survey an area in the basin at Chelsea Landing. In it was a school of fish 250 yds. long by 15 yds. wide by 10 yds. deep. Sampson calculated that approximately 30,000 fish made up this school. … Furthermore, my research uncovered a Boston newspaper article reporting that following a warm, wet Southeaster that broke up river ice, 20,000 stripers were haul-seined at Chelsea Landing over several days in February, 1729. Tremendous numbers of fish undoubtedly over-wintered here long before colonial times.

Chelsea Landing, for the uninitiated (like me), is an area below downtown Norwich. For the truly uninitiated, Thames is pronounced Thaymes in these parts.

Here’s Torgan’s blog.

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