Riverhead fish passage filmed for fishing show ‘Lunkerville’

COURTESY PHOTO | Lunkerville host Mike de Avila, left, and producer Shannon Goldman Lunkerville Producer film at the fish passage Thursday afternoon.

The Peconic River fish passage at Grangebel Park in Riverhead is about to get some national attention.

“Lunkerville,” a fishing show that reaches about 88 million homes in the U.S. and Canada, filmed at the rock ramp Thursday afternoon, with host Mike de Avila, producer Shannon Goldman and one of their friends also going porgy fishing in Cutchogue earlier in the week.

Mr. Goldman said he heard about the Riverhead fish passage from town community development director Christine Kempner. The project, which allows alewives to migrate back up the Peconic River, was championed by Bob Conklin, a former Riverhead biology teacher.

Mr. Conklin died in December 2010, just three months before the passage was completed. The story of the passage fit in well with the show, Mr. Goldman said.

“It was such a community effort to get it done,” he said. “That is kind of very much in sync with what Lunkerville is about: local people doing what they’re passionate about.”

Ms. Kempner said the fish passage allowed an estimated 50,000 to 70,000 alewives to travel up the river to mate this past spring.

“The impact of this effort by Bob Conklin … and his associates Jim Miller, George Bartunek and Byron Young grows each year as time goes by and is a lasting contribution to the ecology of the entire area,” Ms. Kempner said.

Mr. Goldman, who moved to Cutchogue six months ago, spent time on the North Fork as a child at his parent’s summer home and said he is was happy to showcase the North Fork in an episode.

“I liked the North Fork so much I wanted to show it [to others] … that was kind of the theme of the show,” Mr. Goldman said.

Mr. Goldman and the other members of the show used rowboats to fish off the Cutchogue beach and chartered a shark fishing boat out of Montauk as part of the episode.

“We had a ton of fish. Porgy and blowfish and kingfish… sea bass, we got everything,” he said.

Mr. Goldman was an independent filmmaker before he started the show, which won a CINE Golden Eagle in 2009 for documentary filmmaking and is in its seventh season. The show is edited and produced in Cutchogue.

The episode will air first on the World Fishing Network within about two months, and will later air on NBC Sports sometime in February.

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