The Cinder Worm Program

Sixth year running for this popular event
Register Now!  Applications taken for both students & mentors
Kettle Pond Visitor Center, Charlestown, Rhode Island

The annual emergence of cinder worms in Rhode Island salt ponds, usually in May, is a much anticipated event in Rhode Island.  Striped bass key in on the spawning worms, and feed actively on the surface, close enough to the shore to be well in range of wading fly rodders.
For the past five years, Dave Pollack and Capt. Ray Stachelek, with mentors from the Connecticut/ Rhode Island Coastal Fly Fishers, the Rhody Fly Rodders, United Fly Tyers of Rhode Island, and the Rhode Island Salt Water Anglers Association, have been facilitating an instructional program, with the aid of the US Fish & Wildlife Service and RIDEM. The first two sessions are devoted strictly to tying cinder worm emergence patterns.  One Saturday afternoon/evening is devoted to fishing them on Ninigret Pond.  Many of you have already participated as students and/or instructors.  The program, which is free, attracts anglers from throughout the Northeast and is usually oversubscribed.
We are doing it again in the spring of 2014.  Fly tying is scheduled on two weekday nights at the USF&WS Kettle Pond Nature Center, followed by fishing during the week of the 2nd tying class at Ninigret Refuge. There is no charge for this program.  Novices as well as experienced fly fishers are welcome.  Fly tying tools and materials, and fly rod outfits, are provided on request as needed.
Fly Tying: Tuesday, April 29, and Monday, May 5, 6:30 to 8:30 PM
Fishing: Saturday, May 10, 4:00 PM to dark

We generally look for a student to teacher ratio of 3-1.  If you are interested in instructing this year, contact Dave Pollack or Ray Stachelek at
The class enrollment is limited to 40 students, on a first come, first served basis.  The program is free of charge, but Pre-registration is required for all students.
For further information and registration contact:
Janis Nepshinsky at 401-364-9124, ext. 28 or

Custom Fly Rods Raffle

February Meeting Tuesday Feb 18th

Just a reminder that in addition to Capt. Ray Stachelek presentation, Dave Loren, former club president and owner of, will have a group of his custom fly rods available for 3 separate raffles.

We will pull 3 tickets, with the first winner having first choice of a rod of his choice, the second winner having 2nd choice and third winner having the last rod.

We will also have 2 other bucket raffles on a varied selection of fly tying materials from the exotic collection of our late member, Doyt Ladd.

Coffee and cookies are always complementary. Bar refreshments are available. Come bring your tying vise and tie before the meeting.

Bring a friend, share the experience!

Anglers and Hooter Girls Show up but no Stripers

Striped Bass

The excerpts below were taken from an article in the The Roanoke Times By Bill Cochran Posted: Wednesday, January 15, 2014 6:00 am.

           … the coastline action has been just as slow as it was in the Bay.

Statistics from the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament tell the story. The 2013 citation count for stripers stands at around 325, with a few more to be added as late forms are tallied. In 2012 the count was nearly a thousand more, the second highest on record at 1,331. Of that number, 107 fish weighed more than 50-pounds apiece; 11 of those were more than 60 pounds. Included was a massive 74-pound state record landed off Virginia Beach by Cary Wolfe of Bristow.

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ASMFC is a Complete Train-Wreck

Excerpts from a blog post by Capt. John McMurray on February 10, 2014


Photo by Capt. John McMurray

Photo by Capt. John McMurray


Now, let’s talk about “the bad”, and what happened with striped bass.

Based on a recently completed striped bass stock assessment, which indicated that lower fishing mortality reference points were more appropriate for this fishery, last October ASMFC unanimously voted to draft two separate addenda.  One which would propose adoption of the new lower fishing mortality reference points, and one which would provide a range of alternatives that would get us there.  You can find more info on this (as well as an explanation of what these reference points actually are) in a blog I did on this meeting:  ASMFC MOVES ON STRIPED BASS.


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Is it Time for Recreational Anglers to Act?


Striped Bass

This article in Forbes Magazine calls for recreational anglers to limit their catch.

… And now, it seems, these fish, valued by both recreational and commercial fishermen, are in some serious danger…again. Back in the 1970s, thanks mainly to overharvesting, the striped bass population crashed to the point of near no-return. Thanks to the efforts of fishermen’s groups and the U.S. Congress (gasp!) in the late 1970s, the stocks recovered from a low of just under 5 million to 56 million in 2006. The economic impact of the striped bass recreational fishery is believed to be $6.5 billion.


That’s the good news. The bad news is that we seem to heading back toward those dark days in the 1970s again. And this time, the government agencies have decided to do nothing… Stripers Forever, says there has been “a decline of approximately 90 percent in the coast-wide recreational catch of wild stripers since 2006.”

Ninety percent decline, but ASMFC sees no immediate problems, and decides to wait.

But the government agency in charge of managing stocks of striped bass sees no immediate threat. Though the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), in most recent stock status, found the striped bass to be in a continual decline since 2004 and well below its spawning target levels, the agency has decided to wait until 2015 to address the problem, which Burns says will be “too little, too late.”


To be sure, some changes are needed on the commercial striped bass fishery side. Paul Diodati, the Massachusetts Director of Fisheries, has suggested a 38% reduction in the commercial harvest.


But with the government set on inaction, it’s time for recreational anglers to step up and take their own measures. After all, much of the overfishing is from the recreational side of the equation. Stripers Forever says there are currently 10,000 commercial striped bass fishermen. There are 3 million recreational striped bass fisherman, and they take 60% of the harvest. The bag limit in many states is two fish a day of over 28 inches. Diodati has also suggested that the harvest be cut to one fish a day for recreational anglers, which seems very sensible.


But we can’t wait around for government regulations this time. For the next two years, all recreational anglers should consider limiting their catches to one keeper a day at a minimum (all catch-and-release would be better, in my opinion). This means self-imposed limits for anglers who fish from charter boats and from jetties and the beach. But it also means limits for those who go out on so-called “party boats.” Not to pick on party boat captains (these guys are operating within the rules—most of the time, anyway), but these boats seem to me to be a big part of the problem. The fishing from these boats, filled with 25 to 100 anglers all taking their two-fish-a-day limit, is just not sustainable. These captains have to know somewhere in their hearts that what they are doing is similar to the actions of the commercial fishermen who eventually fished cod out to the point of near extinction. Catching and killing that many striped bass on every trip is just not in their long term self-interest.


Striped Bass Scary Decline

This article in the Vineyard Gazette was published almost three years ago.

A drastic decline in striped bass stocks has state and federal officials scrambling to protect the fish, but many recreational fishermen say the government isn’t moving fast enough.

“It’s really scary,” said Cooper (Coop) Gilkes 3rd, owner of Coop’s Bait and Tackle shop in Edgartown, who has seen the haul from the annual June catch-and-release striper tournament fall dramatically. “At one point we had somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 fish weighed in on one night. Last year there were 100 and it’s like a staircase going all the way down to last year. It’s just dropped every year.”

Last year, Mr. Gilkes said the annual springtime sea worm hatch in the Island’s coastal ponds — an event that historically attracts stripers by the hundreds — had “just about failed” after years of under-performance.

“It’s mind-boggling that we could get to this point with everybody watching,” he said.

The situation since the article was published is the same or worse, and everyone is still watching.   How much longer is this paralysis going to last?