Outdoors column: Stocking up on fish, pheasants

MassWildlife purchases 485 acres of land in Templeton

The Massachusetts pheasant season will get underway on Oct. 19, with 40,000 pheasants being stocked — the most in all of New England. (AP FILE PHOTO)

There can be no more frustrating time of year than this one, with the wait for fishing and hunting seasons upon us. Trout are being liberated, stripers and blues are fat and on the move, and upland game seasons are about to open.

Here in Massachusetts, the folks at the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife will start this week releasing some 60,000 rainbows and 4,000-plus brown trout for the fall season. These fish will all be a pound or more at 12 inches long, and some over 14 inches.

Many of these fish will be stocked in waters such as Baddacook in Groton, Fort Pond in Lancaster, Lake Whalom in Lunenburg, Millers River in Athol, Squannacook River in Townsend, Walden Pond in Concord and many others.

These fish are an addition to the spring-stocked 500,000 allocation of rainbows, browns and brookies, and should provide great fun to catch now and well through the ice-fishing season.

While trout fishermen are getting their equipment out again, stripe bass and bluefish now are making tracks for the deep south. They have been here since May getting fat on bunker, herring, pogies and mackerel. Now they are ready for the long journey home. These fish are swimming by in big schools and right along our beaches.

The migration is on and to catch a 30- or 40-pound striper, try the ocean front of Plum Island from the rocks of Surfland to the mouth of the Merrimack.

Also the Cape Cod Canal has been hot of late for just about everything. Stripers are moving through but at a slower rate but they are here at the Railroad bridge at first light. Swimming plugs have been good and eels have been lights out. Also in the mix are albies, bonito tautog and bluefish.

This has been a great fall run thus far.

The other quandary sportsmen have is the upland game season in New Hampshire, which opened on Tuesday. Some 11,500 pheasants will be released for the season, with birds also released during the season. In season stocking began on Thursday and Friday, and will continue on Oct. 11, 17 and 18. During these days no hunting will be allowed until noon.

Also occurring in the Granite State is some great woodcock hunting that will run until Nov. 14 and some of the very best grouse hunting in all of New England.

The Massachusetts pheasant season will get underway on Oct. 19, with 40,000 pheasants being stocked — the most in all of New England.Bear hunting is a very difficult sport. So many hunters try their hand with just a handful being in the 10-ring. I have heard of several taken this year that ranged from 125 pounds to a high of more than 400 pounds.

One such bear was taken by George Poulakos of Dracut. Poulakos was able to go out and take down a 410-pound bruin using a rifle.Bob Koener of Pelham took a 140-pound bear in northern New Hampshire using his rifle.

The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife — also known as MassWildlife — has announced the purchase of 485 acres of land in Templeton. The new land is now called the Norcross Hill Wildlife Management Area. It will now be open to bird watching, hunting, hiking and fishing.