Saturday, May 28, 2011

Bonus Fish: River Herring

We can not count this in the quest because it was caught with a net, but we thought our fans would like to see the pictures. A few weeks ago we ran into our old fishing friend Jim, whom we only see during the herring run. He was out doing a little catch and release herring netting.

Jim is the best citizen advocate we know for the herring and for the fishermen who catch them for lobster and striper bait. He is convinced that there is enough herring spawning beneath the Exeter River fish ladder to sustain more harvest than NH Fish and Game currently allows. Right now people can only net on Saturdays and Mondays. No one can touch them on Wednesdays.  This restriction is based on the number of herring that go up the ladder, which is a pitiful in most years.  But there are thousands below the ladder that never make it up.

Jim caught a bunch in his net and all but one go. He gave us one for the quest. We took it home and cleaned it in preparation for smoking later.

 We don't claim to be able to tell the difference between alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus) and bluebacked herring (Alosa aestivalis) - both are called river herring.  If we had to guess we would say this was an alewife. They are suppose to be the dominate fish in that river and the internal body cavity of a bluebacked has a black lining. We did not see that.

If we can catch one of these on hook and line, we will add it to the quest list.  They will strike at small sabaki rigs. We have seen them also swipe at small jigs, but not very often. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks guys. That is definatly an Alewife. The lack of a black or charcoal colored inner lining is the best identifier, but if you don't want to cut them open, there is another way. The eye of an Alewife is larger than the distance between the eye and the tip of the nose, but a Blueback's eye is smaller than that distance, seeing them both side by side is a big help till you get the nack.
    Although you won't be able to catch a River Herring in NH freshwater at this time of year, next spring try a small teardrop spoon with a 1/4 ounce weight tied about three ft above it. Jus cast and reel slowly.