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Herring begin to appear in Middleboro - 3/25/14

Herring begin to appear in Middleboro

The Enterprise

By Alice C. Elwell
Enterprise correspondent
Posted Mar. 25, 2014 @ 4:17 am
Updated Mar 25, 2014 at 4:20 AM

The first herring were spotted on the Nemasket River last weekend, and that means striped bass – and a springtime without snowstorms – aren't far behind.
Outdoorsman Allin J. Frawley, who is also a Middleboro selectman, said the annual migration of herring signals the return of striped bas, the region's biggest game fish.
Frawley and his son Sullivan visited the two runs in town, but didn't spot any herring. Now that herring are in the river, however, it's only a matter of time before Frawley lands his first striper.
"It's time to break out the saltwater fishing rods and get the boat ready," Frawley said.
Last year, nearly 1 million herring made their way upstream from Mount Hope Bay to the Nemasket River, on their way to spawn in the Assawompset Pond Complex.
David J. Cavanaugh, chairman of the Middleboro/Lakeville Herring Fisheries Commission, said the herring are right on time, but the cold spell predicted for this week could slow the run. Cavanaugh said when temperatures drop, the herring will stop swimming upstream and seek a deep spot to wait for warmer weather.
Cavanaugh said the herring are returning to their natal pond to spawn, and that each female can lay up to 200 eggs, but only one in 100 live long enough to spawn. Cavanaugh said herring are an important food source for a variety of fish, birds and animals, so their journey in the rivers is fraught with peril.
The Middleboro run traditionally peaks by mid-April, when there's a potential to see more than 1,000 herring climbing the ladders in a 10-minute span.
Cavanaugh said last year in mid-April, the herring peaked at 1,200 within 10-minutes.
Protecting the herring has been a lifelong passion for Cavanaugh, beginning when he was a youngster in the 1960s.
"You're not a Middleboro kid until you fall in trying to catch a herring by hand, and I've fallen in a few times," Cavanaugh said.
In Middleboro, the herring can be viewed at the ladders at Oliver Mill Park on Route 44 or at the Wareham Street herring run.
A ban along the entire eastern seaboard on catching herring has been in place since 2006, but that hasn't stopped youngsters from reaching in the river and trying to grab one of the slippery little fish.
Nadine Dimond is an old hand at spotting herring, but didn't have any luck this past weekend when she visited the run at Oliver Mill Park with daughter Sarah McCloud, 8, and her friend Ashley Smith, 7. McCloud has seen the run in full tilt and said, "There's thousands and thousands of fish." But she said they're slimy and wouldn't even consider eating one.
"Eww," she said.

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