Berkshire Woods and Waters: White perch caught is a world record

If this featured picture looks familiar, it is because I ran it in my Oct. 30, 2016 column, and also mentioned it in a follow-up article of Val Percuoco, from Leominster, and her sisters in my Feb. 5 column. So why am I fixated on that fish?

Well, last week it was announced that not only was that 3-pound, 8-ounce white perch a state gold pin winner and the new state record, but it is also the new world record! That catch landed her in the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame in Hayward, Wisc. There, it was recently recognized as the Division 1 Rod and Reel 10 lb. Line Class World Record.

About the same time, the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) recognized the fish as the new All-Tackle World Record for White Perch.

As you may recall, it was caught out of Wachusett Reservoir north of Worcester. Check it out again, for it's not every day that a world record fish is caught in Massachusetts waters.

Bald Eagles

According to MassWildlife, there are now more eagles nesting in Massachusetts than any time in the recent past, and they need your help keeping track of them.

Please report eagle sightings to Andrew Vitz (MassWildlife's State Ornithologist, Many of our nesting eagles are banded with color-coded bands that identify the individual, so make sure to look for these leg bands whenever you see or photograph an eagle.

According to DFW Western District Supervisor, Andrew Madden, there will be a big push to locate nesting eagles in our area, especially in North County. They are particularly interested in evidence of nesting eagles (e.g., birds carrying sticks or sitting in nests).

When there is evidence of a new breeding territory, DFW staff verifies the report as they monitor known nests. MassWildlife will conduct its Spring Eagle Survey on Friday, April 7. The Survey consists of coordinated teams of staff and volunteers who spread out across the state to check on historic nest sites and look for new nests.

According to MassWildlife, we have both Golden and Bald Eagles in the state. Both grow to approximately the same size, but the white head and tail of the adult Bald Eagle differentiates it from the Golden Eagle. Immature Bald Eagles may be confused with both immature and adult Golden Eagles.

The adult Golden Eagle is nearly uniformly dark without the mottling found on the immature Bald Eagle. Golden Eagles at any age may have relatively sharply defined, bright, clean white patches of varying size at the base of the inner primaries and outer secondaries on the wings and a clean white area at the base of the tail.

All immature Bald Eagles have whitish axillaries and, depending on age, can have extensive, "dirty" white mottling virtually anywhere on the head, body, wing linings and tail. The Golden Eagle's legs are feathered to its toes; the legs of the Bald Eagle are unfeathered.

Basic Hunting Course

All first-time hunters who wish to purchase a Massachusetts hunting or sporting (combination) license must complete a Basic Hunter Education course.

There will be such a course at the Becket Town Hall at 557 Main Street in Becket on April 10, 12 and 15. The times are: on April 10 from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. and on April 12 and 15 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

There may also still be openings in the scheduled class at the East Mountain Sportsmen's Club, which also starts on April 10 (previously mentioned in this column). To enroll, call (508) 389-7830.

Coyote Contest

Nineteen coyotes were entered into Dave's Sporting Goods Coyote Contest this year, and the winners were as follows: Jay Fortier, of Washington, bagged the most coyotes with a tally of 6. Joe Trybus, of Lanesborough, got the heaviest one, which weighed 44 1/2 lbs.

Congratulations to both hunters. Keep up the good work.

No trout stockings in the Western District yet

DFW WD Fisheries Manager Leanda Fontaine Gagnon went to check some access points during the week and because of the snowstorm, they have decided they were not able to start the stocking last week as planned. Probably they will start next week.

Club events

The Lee Sportsmen's Association and Ducks Unlimited will be having its third Annual Youth Sportsmen's Gala dinner and raffle on Saturday, April 8 at the Country Club of Pittsfield.

It is billed as a night of fantastic food, great raffle prizes, music and fun. Doors open at 4 p.m. and dinner is served at 6 p.m. The price is $100 per person. For more information, contact Virginia DuBois at (413) 446-5404.

The Lenox Sportsmen's Club is having its annual Spring Ham Shoots beginning today and running for the next three Sundays beginning at 12:30 p.m.

The costs are $3 per shot. You are encouraged to bring your shotguns and .22 cal rifle or pistol, as they have a few 22 shoots during the day as well. Prizes include hams, gift certificates and some other items. The kitchen will be open for burgers dogs, sausage and a few other items.

The Stockbridge Sportsmen's Club will be having a 450 Round Indoor Archery Tournament to benefit the Aim for Higher Education Scholarship Fund on April 8 and 9.

Click onto the club's website, events and calendar page to find out the times, prices, categories, etc. There will be Chinese raffles and auction. There will be a spaghetti dinner at 6 p.m. on Saturday and a pancake breakfast on Sunday Morning.

The Cheshire Rod & Gun Club will also have turkey and ham shoots every Sunday from March 26 until Easter. They start at 1 p.m. and the cost is $3 a shot.

Questions/comments: Phone: (413) 637-1818.


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