One day after the official start of spring, on Thursday a Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW) tank truck is scheduled to arrive on Martha’s Vineyard with the goods fishermen need to celebrate the seasonal shift.
The truck will deliver a mix of brook, brown, rainbow, and tiger trout to four Island ponds — about 1,000 trout in all carried over from the Sandwich State Fish Hatchery.
The truck’s route will include Duarte’s Pond, Uncle Seth’s Pond and Old Mill Pond in West Tisbury and Upper Lagoon Pond in Oak Bluffs. A second stocking is scheduled for April, and a third in early May.
A new state law that went into effect last year prohibits the use of any lead fishing sinkers and lead jigs that weigh less than 1 ounce in fresh water. The regulation was implemented primarily to protect the state’s small population of Common Loons (Gavia immer), a state listed species of special concern.
Fishermen are allowed a limit of three trout per day from ponds. Fishermen 15 years of age and older must have a Massachusetts freshwater fishing license. Licenses are available from town clerks and online.
Fishing and sporting license buyers pay for the stocked trout. MassWildlife, the umbrella agency, is supported by license buyers and federal taxes on fishing equipment (Wallop-Breaux) and hunting equipment (Pittman-Robertson).
The popular annual Martha’s Vineyard Rod and Gun club kids trout derby is scheduled on Saturday, May 4. In addition to state-provided trout, the club pays for an additional stocking of trout to introduce youngsters to the fun of fishing.
The selection of ponds and streams to stock and the number of fish allotted each depends on fishing pressure, acreage, trout habitat, and ease of access to anglers, according to Fisheries and Wildlife.