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River Herring


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#1 fisher9910

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Posted February 21 2012 - 08:46 PM

I caught a few of these last year with a sabiki when jigging for mackerel. I know they were illegal to use as bait, but on the Recreational Species info on the MA Marine Division Website it says:
"It is unlawful for any person to harvest, possess or sell river herring in the Commonwealth or in the waters under the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth. These measures will expire on January 1, 2012."
Does that mean they are now legal to use as bait?
Sorry if this has been previously discussed

#2 Mike J.

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Posted February 21 2012 - 09:04 PM

Good Question. :confused:


As for the ones you caught last year while fishing for mackeral they where probably Sea Herring.

#3 bob_G

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Posted February 21 2012 - 09:05 PM

I caught a few of these last year with a sabiki when jigging for mackerel. I know they were illegal to use as bait, but on the Recreational Species info on the MA Marine Division Website it says:
"It is unlawful for any person to harvest, possess or sell river herring in the Commonwealth or in the waters under the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth. These measures will expire on January 1, 2012."
Does that mean they are now legal to use as bait?
Sorry if this has been previously discussed


Anadromous (river) herring will be illegal to possess for many, many years to come. If not for the next decade.
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#4 Mike J.

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Posted February 21 2012 - 09:12 PM

Bob I agree with you, but there is nothing in writing stating that is the case from the state. I checked both the Division of marine fisheries and Fish and wildlife websites and as stated by fisher a person could probably get out of a ticket at the moment.

#5 whatmeworry

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Posted February 21 2012 - 09:22 PM


You have to have possession at some point if you are going to use it as bait I would imagine.




#6 robc22

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Posted February 21 2012 - 09:55 PM

If you caught them on a sabiki rig they were sea herring not river herring and you can use sea herring all you want as bait...........

#7 1ife

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Posted February 21 2012 - 10:03 PM

Catching them on a sabiki does not make them sea herring. Most herring caught offshore while fishing for mackerel are sea herring but alewives and bluebacks can be caught on sabikis. Especially in near coastal areas. .... just an fyi.

#8 fisher9910

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Posted February 21 2012 - 10:37 PM

I have caught sea herring before and what I am talking about is definitely river herring (alewife). Bob, if they will be illegal to process for a long time, why is it stated that the measures are expired? Does this mean that technically they are illegal to harvest and consume, but they can be used as bait?

#9 GeneralSwimBait

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Posted February 21 2012 - 10:37 PM

yeah well unless i see it in big bold letter or the signs are no longer posted in and around or near a run then i'm not touching them. even if they opened it i'm still not touching them. they depend on us to survive as long as they can and that should be the end of this discussion because again they are ILLEGAL TO POSESS even if it isn't stated and you are caught and you're not an american idian with the proper license.. why bother even talking about it when just about everyone here would say the same thing over and over, SEA HERRING ONLY! they dont even look the same and yesi'm guessing it's likely you will catch 1 now and then but you should release it instantly. u should know your baits well because there are people who call the EPO's and u don't wanna have an incident with them they take everything, BYE, BYE!!
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#10 robc22

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Posted February 21 2012 - 10:37 PM

Catching them on a sabiki does not make them sea herring. Most herring caught offshore while fishing for mackerel are sea herring but alewives and bluebacks can be caught on sabikis. Especially in near coastal areas. .... just an fyi.


As long as you know the difference between river herrings and a sea herring.....no problem.....they do not look that much alike that you can't tell the difference.......I have very rarely seen a river herring caught on a hook......once, by a fly fisherman fishing for smallies in herring pond, plymouth.........

#11 fisher9910

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Posted February 21 2012 - 10:39 PM

yeah well unless i see it in big bold letter or the signs are no longer posted in and around or near a run then i'm not touching them. even if they opened it i'm still not touching them. they depend on us to survive as long as they can and that should be the end of this discussion because again they are ILLEGAL TO POSESS even if it isn't stated and you are caught and you're not an american idian with the proper license.. why bother even talking about it when just about everyone here would say the same thing over and over, SEA HERRING ONLY! they dont even look the same and yesi'm guessing it's likely you will catch 1 now and then but you should release it instantly. u should know your baits well because there are people who call the EPO's and u don't wanna have an incident with them they take everything, BYE, BYE!!


I agree with what you are saying, I'm just trying to understand why they had the law expire and what it means for the river herring now.

#12 pogie_boy

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Posted February 21 2012 - 11:00 PM

I agree with what you are saying, I'm just trying to understand why they had the law expire and what it means for the river herring now.


They wrote the law like that so it would not take a legislative action to remove the ban once it has been determined that the stocks have recovered. That said, it has been renewed twice so far and the data for the last four years I highly doubt will cause them to not renew the law again.

Rest assured, it will be renewed before the river herring return... and it will be illegal to possess river herring regardless of your intended use.
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#13 Mike J.

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Posted February 21 2012 - 11:27 PM

Hopefully sooner than later... Nemasket usually has the first scouts show up 2nd week in March. Might be sooner with the mild winter.

#14 1ife

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Posted February 21 2012 - 11:33 PM

we catch a lot of alewives up here especially when smelt fishing.. before the ban the I remember seeing people filling pails full.

#15 1ife

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Posted February 21 2012 - 11:39 PM

As long as you know the difference between river herrings and a sea herring.....no problem.....they do not look that much alike that you can't tell the difference.......I have very rarely seen a river herring caught on a hook......once, by a fly fisherman fishing for smallies in herring pond, plymouth.........

we catch a lot of alewives up here especially when smelt fishing.. before the ban the I remember seeing people filling pails full.