04/24/13 8:00pm
04/24/2013 8:00 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | Riverhead senior Ryan Bitzer fires a shot in a game last season. The varsity team’s Senior Day will cap off the May 4 fundraiser ‘Lax for a Smile.’

LACROSSE: ‘Lax for a Smile’ Boys and girls PAL teams and Riverhead’s varsity teams will be involved in a lacrosse fund-raiser, “Lax for a Smile,” on May 4 at the Pulaski Street School fields. The event will raise funds for Michael Hubbard, a boy who was critically burned about one and a half years ago. It will run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The day will finish with Riverhead’s boys varsity lacrosse team playing its Senior Day game against North Babylon.

PAL FOOTBALL: Registration info The Riverhead Police Athletic League is accepting registrations for football players ages 7 through 12 and cheerleaders who are grades 2 through 6 for the 2013 season. To register by mail, go to www.townofriverheadny.gov, Local Links, Hot Links, go to Juvenile Aid Bureau, drag the side bar down to Registrations, print the necessary forms and mail to the PAL office. Forms are also located at the PAL office at 210 Howell Avenue in Riverhead. The registration deadline is tomorrow.

FISHING: Flounder season opens May 1 The recreational fishing season for summer flounder will open May 1 and remain open through Sept. 29, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced Monday. The flounder size limit is 19 inches and there is a four-fish bag limit. Anglers are reminded to register with the Recreational Marine Fishing Registry, which is required for fishing in the Marine and Coastal District. No fee is required.

New York was faced with a shorter season or increased size limits for 2013 due to federal landings data for 2012. The DEC said it worked with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission in January to avoid restrictions that would have reduced the length of the season and increased the size limit which the DEC determined was unnecessary given the healthy condition of the stock. Several of the east coast states underharvested their quotas in 2012, which allowed them to catch more fish in 2013.

Through a change spearheaded by the DEC to the ASMFC Fisheries Management Plan, these states agreed to share some of their unharvested fish with New York and New Jersey in 2013. This change was approved by the ASMFC Summer Flounder, Scup and Black Sea Board recently.

“The improvements to fluke fishing is good news for New York anglers and the saltwater fishing industry who have been shortchanged for many years by an inadequate quota relative to the size of the fishery in New York,” the DEC commissioner, Joe Martens, said in a press release. “These are the same anglers who are struggling to get back on their feet after the impacts of Hurricane Sandy. DEC will work with a subcommittee of key states and the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council to find a long-term solution to the inequity New York fishermen have faced for over a decade with fluke management.”

The black sea bass fishing season will run from July 10 to Dec. 31, with a 13-inch minimum size and an eight-fish bag limit. These limits are better than previously thought since all states were originally required to take a 32-percent reduction in 2013 harvest, but an analysis of new data shows that only a 24-percent reduction is needed.

The scup (porgy) fishing season will also see an improvement for 2013 with a 10-inch minimum size, 30-fish bag limit and a season from May 1 to Dec. 31 for all anglers. Party and charter boats will have a bonus of a 45-fish bag limit from Sept. 1 to Oct. 31.

03/26/13 11:30am
03/26/2013 11:30 AM
KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO  |  A commercial fishing boat docked in Greenport.

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | A commercial fishing boat docked in Greenport.

A saltwater fishing license fee that East End towns successfully fought against after it was enacted in 2009 was officially eliminated as part of the state budget, New York State Senator Ken LaValle announced Tuesday.

The state Legislature repealed the controversial license in 2011 and registration was guaranteed to be free for the next two years.

“For many in our region, fishing is a way of life,” Mr. LaValle said in a statement. “Mandating a license placed a burden on individuals and families who have fished our local waters for generations. I voted against the license law and fee when it was part of the 2009 budget and I’m happy to see the demise of what was essentially a hidden tax.”

The Senate passed a portion of the state budget Sunday, which included a provision to eliminate the saltwater license fee permanently.

The $10 license for anglers age 16 or older was originally implemented by the Department of Environmental Conservation in October 2009.

Previous Coverage: Legislature sinks saltwater fishing license

03/02/13 8:00am
03/02/2013 8:00 AM

KATHARINE SCHROEDER FILE PHOTO | The Miss Nancy fishing boat moves through Greenport Harbor.

Life could get just a little easier for East End commercial fishermen if a bill Senator Kenneth LaValle (R-C-Port Jefferson) ushered through the New York State Senate has the same support in the Assembly.

The bill that passed the Senate with only a single negative vote would allow commercial fishermen to aggregate their daily catch limits over a seven-day period. A fisherman could, for example, catch three times his daily quota on Monday and two times the limit on Wednesday and then stay off the water until the following Monday, thereby conserving fuel. The bill that passed the Senate would also allow individuals, each of whom had a fishing license, to go out together in the same boat with each able to take a daily or aggregate limit.

“Fuel for running a fishing boat is extremely costly,” Mr. LaValle said, noting that it “significantly cuts into the already slim profits” fishermen get.

Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor), who is shepherding the bill through the Assembly, said he and Mr. LaValle drafted the bill together in consultation with local fishermen.

While the Assembly is focused on getting a budget passed by the April 1 deadline, Mr. Thiele said as soon as that’s accomplished, the fishing bill would move ahead.

“It’s a bill that is high on my list,” Mr. Thiele said.

Assuming the Assembly gives the legislation the go-ahead, it would go to Governor Andrew Cuomo for his signature.

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11/29/12 8:00am
11/29/2012 8:00 AM

BETH YOUNG PHOTO | Charlie Manwaring of Southold Fish Market with a fresh batch of Peconic Bay scallops.

Scallop season didn’t begin with its usual bang the first Monday in November thanks to Hurricane Sandy, but fish markets and restaurant menus are stocked with the cold-weather shellfish in time for the holidays.

Before the hurricane, scientists who study bay scallops had been finding many empty shells, known as “cluckers,” in scallop grounds that had promised a bumper crop.

Then, when the hurricane hit, the state DEC pushed off opening day to Nov. 13 due to potential water contamination because of the storm’s flood tide. Many areas in the eastern Peconics were opened sooner after the DEC determined that the water was clean, and the few scallopers who ventured out found plenty of live scallops among the empty shells.

But Phillip Tocci, Riverhead’s “Clam Man” who runs a shellfish stand on the north side of Route 58, said many baymen have told him they’re having trouble selling the scallops they have, because of public concern over whether they’re safe to eat.

“The water is fine. The scallops are fine,” he said this week. “I have people asking constantly ‘Is the water all right? Are the scallops all right?’ The public is not after them like they usually are.”

Mr. Tocci added that many seafood restaurants were damaged in the storm, putting a dent in the wholesale accounts baymen rely on.

He said he hasn’t been catching his limit of 10 bushels of scallops per day, but he has been pulling in enough to meet the market demand.

Southold Fish Market owner Charlie Manwaring said Tuesday that, while there was a big scallop die-off due to unknown causes earlier this year, there are plenty of scallops still in the water.

“Certain areas were closed after the hurricane, so not everyone was in one area opening week,” he said. “They’re doing really well in certain areas. It’s just hit or miss. I think we’ll have them right through to March 31,” the official end of the season.

Mr. Manwaring said baymen are seeing “tons of bugs,” or baby scallops, which will reach harvest size next year.

He said the retail price this week is about $17 per pound, down from $19 when the season opened, although he expects the price to rise again as the supply thins out later in the season.

“Some areas just opened up, so we have a little more product,” he said.

Mr. Manwaring said baymen were lucky that many of this year’s scallops were in deep water, since they are often thrown up on shore by hurricane surges if they are in shallow water.

He said the boats belonging to the 15 to 20 baymen he buys scallops from were also safe during the storm.

“We really got lucky out here,” he said.

Recreational scalloper Ed Densieski of Riverhead missed the first few days of the season, which opened in some local waters on the day of the nor’easter that hit shortly after the hurricane.

“It was nasty,” he said. “A lot of people didn’t go opening day.”

Mr. Densieski said it appears there was a scallop die-off in Cutchogue Harbor and that by the time he got to the scalloping grounds off the Orient Causeway on Nov. 10, “a lot of it was picked through” and he didn’t find any.

“There was definitely some die-off this year, but in some spots they were huge. They were the size of marshmallows,” he said, declining to disclose where he found them.

“If you want to put the time in, you’ll get some,” he said.

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11/09/12 6:00am
11/09/2012 6:00 AM

TIM GANNON FILE PHOTO | A view across the bays from Strong’s Marine in Flanders as the hurricane was moving on shore last Monday.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation announced Thursday some shellfishing areas around Long Island have been reopened.

The DEC had initially closed shellfishing area on Oct. 29, the morning Hurricane Sandy first touched our shores, through Nov. 13.

The following areas in Southold Town have been reopened: All the normally certified shellfish lands in Flanders Bay, Great Peconic Bay, Little Peconic Bay, Cutchogue Harbor and Hog Neck Bay lying westerly of the Cedar Beach Point. In addition, all the normally certified areas along the northern shore of Fishers Island, including Hay Harbor, West Harbor and East Harbor, have been reopened.

Over in Southampton Town,  all the normally certified shellfish lands in Moriches Bay, Narrow Bay, Flanders Bay, Great Peconic Bay and Little Peconic Bay lying westerly of the northern most point of Jessups Neck,

All the normally certified shellfish lands in Flanders Bay located in Riverhead Town has also been reopened to shellfishing.

DEC officials said all enclosed creeks, harbors, coves and tributaries in Riverhead Town, as well as along the south shore of Southold Town and the north shore of Southampton Town remain closed for the harvest of shellfish and bay scallops through Nov. 13.

DEC officials said it will continue to conduct shoreline assessments and collect water samples for bacteriological testing.  Other shellfishing areas will reopen based on those test results.

A recorded message advising harvesters of the status of these shellfish areas is available by calling (631) 444-0480. To speak with someone about shellfishing closures, call (631) 444-0475 during normal business hours.  Additional information about temporary closures is available on DEC’s website at: www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7765.html.

10/03/12 12:04pm
10/03/2012 12:04 PM

COURTESY PHOTO | Lunkerville host Mike de Avila, left, and producer Shannon Goldman film at the Riverhead fish passage last month.

The North Fork is set to grace the small screen once again this week.

“Lunkerville,” a fishing show aired in the U.S. and Canada to roughly 88 million homes, will air an episode featuring local fishing in Cutchogue and other North Fork locations starting Friday night.

The show’s crew spent several days last month filming and fishing on and around the North Fork.

“This week’s show has plenty of North Fork in it,” said producer and Cutchogue resident Shannon Goldman. “In addition to fishing in Cutchogue we shot segments at Jamesport Bait and Tackle in Mattituck and the Ace Hardware in Southold.”

The episode will air on the World Fishing Network, Channel 465 for Cablevision customers at 10:30 p.m. Friday. The episode will be aired  several more times over the next two weeks, according to the station’s schedule.

The show will later air in February on the NBC Sports channel, Mr. Goldman said.

Mr. Goldman said the television show also filmed at the fish passage in Riverhead last month as a way to highlight the “community effort” it took to get the project done.

That segment will be featured in a different episode that will be aired in two to three weeks, he said.

“We couldn’t fit it all into one show,” Mr. Goldman said.

See below for a full list of the air times for the North Fork themed episode of “Lunkerville.” All episodes will be aired on WFN, channel 465:

  • Friday 10/5 | 10:30 – 11 p.m.
  • Saturday 10/6 | 6:30. – 7 a.m.
  • Saturday 10/6 | 2:30 – 3 p.m.
  • Wednesday 10/10 | 6:30 – 7 p.m.
  • Thursday 10/11 | 2:30 – 3 a.m.
  • Thursday 10/11 | 10:30 – 11 a.m.
  • Friday 10/12 | 10:30 – 11 p.m.
  • Saturday 10/13 | 6:30 – 7 a.m.
  • Saturday 10/13 | 2:30 – 3 p.m.

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated the episode would begin airing Wednesday night. The schedule provided was incorrect, and the episode will be first aired this Friday.

09/09/12 12:00pm
09/09/2012 12:00 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Liam Hansen, 7, of Wading River fishes with his father Mark on the town’s floating dock during the 15th annual Riverhead Snapper Tournament.

More than 150 children and adults participated in the Riverhead Recreation Department’s 15th annual Snapper Tournament held on the Peconic Riverfront Saturday.

The event is designed to get children “hooked” on fishing and to raise money for the recreation department’s youth scholarship fund.

There were 18 fish caught, with sizes ranging from 7 to 9 and 1/8 inches.

All the winners received a trophy and the first place winners received a fishing rod and reel donated by Warren’s Tackle Center of Aquebogue and West Marine of Riverhead. After the winners were announced there was a Chinese Auction with items donated by local merchants. Free hot dogs and soda were donated by the Flanders Men’s Club.

The youth winners were: First place, Ryan Zaleski of Riverhead; second place, Christina Gigante of Lindenhurst; and third place saw two winners, Ava Gradischer of Wading River and Mikayla Nirrengarten.

The adult winners were: First place, Al Raynor of Eastport; second place, James Zaleski of Riverhead; and third place, Don Visek of Aquebogue.

Emily Smitheimer, 12, of Stony Brook, brought a stool from home.

Renee and Joe Dragotto of Middle Island came up empty-handed.

Dalton Lucas, 11, of Jamesport showed off his catch — just under 8 and 3/4 inches.

Recreation Department staff member and tournament director Colleen Eastwood (far right) with winners (back row) Al Raynor of Eastport, Don Visek of Aquebogue, (front row) Ava Gradischer of Wading River, Christina Gigante of Lindenhurst, James Zaleski of Riverhead (holding for his dad Jim) and Ryan Zaleski of Riverhead.

08/19/12 3:00am
08/19/2012 3:00 AM

The Prime Time III out of Orient by the Sea was “catching everything under the sun,” according to Capt. Mike Boccio on Monday morning. Scup numbers are up, and there are so many bluefish, they interfere with the bass fishing. Fishing for all bottom species is good, and there are more sea bass now. A few triggerfish still show up in catches along with an occasional six-pound summer flounder that comes up with the porgies.

Liz Caraftis at Charlie’s Mattituck Marina and Fishing Station explained that lots of small sea bass mix in with the local scup along Long Island Sound. Porgies, too, are mixed sizes with the largest fish now about 12 to 13 inches in length. The only fluke in the catch are shorts showing occasionally among the porgies. Blues are mixed sizes from cocktails to large fish, and no one has seen any weakfish of late.

Steven at WeGo Fishing on the Main Road in Southold termed the Peconic Bays “alive” with weakfish, blowfish, and “kingfish” (northern whiting). Action breaks out daily from Greenport all the way back to Roses Grove. Scup are everywhere; there are still cocktail blues at Jessups Neck while the best action for larger blues is in Plum Gut or Fishers Island Race.

Matt at the Rocky Point Fishing Stop has been bass fishing frequently with Capt. George Grosselfinger on the Second Chance out of Orient. They’ve been seeing a lot of teen-sized bass on the night shift with occasional large fish in the usual spots out east. Back west in the Shoreham area, there are some small bluefish to three pounds along the beaches, with bigger slammers to 10 pounds off Mount Sinai. Scup haunt the beaches along with the first blowfish seen in years. Abundant snappers are now three to five inches in size. Along the South Shore, the bays have lots of short fluke to 18 inches, with occasional keepers. Triggerfish are also common. Montauk has big bunker schools with consequent action on stripers. The best bass catches are on eels and scup (live baits). A few bluefish come from the Montauk surf as well.