By Brett Peruzzi, Contributing Writer
Region – A group of local conservation and recreation organizations is offering a series of nearly a dozen fishing-related events from now through the summer. The goal is to attract and educate both experienced and aspiring anglers.
The Blue Space Angler Event Series is sponsored and hosted by the Lake Quinsigamond, Tatnuck Brook, and Indian Lake Watershed Associations, Shrewsbury Parks and Recreation, and the Worcester Department of Public Works and Parks Lakes and Ponds Program. Events are free and open to the public, although some require advance registration. Other collaborators include MassWildlife, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, and the Lake Quinsigamond Commission.
A mix of virtual and in-person events
The series offers a mix of virtual and in-person events. It kicked off in February with two learning how to ice fish outings and concludes in September with another family-oriented learn to fish event. In between, other events will feature everything from the biology of fly fishing to harmful algae blooms, sharing of fish photos and stories, to how invasive aquatic plants can negatively affect fish populations. The learn to fish events allow participants who don’t have their own gear to reserve and borrow all the necessary fishing tackle for the day.
“This is a collaborative effort between our city’s watershed associations to showcase our waterways as recreational resources, and engage new anglers,” said Jacquelyn Burmeister, senior environmental analyst for the Worcester Department of Public Works and Parks. “We want to highlight the links between high-quality water and high-quality fisheries. As the coordinator of the city’s Lakes and Ponds Program, my focus is making sure that water quality at our lakes and ponds will support recreation and local ecology.”
Educating the public about the importance of water quality
Burmeister explained that doing water quality monitoring and management is not enough. Her department believes that it is important to educate people about the importance of water quality for both the environment and the recreational activities they enjoy. “Anglers represent a large stakeholder group when it comes to all of our lakes,” she noted. “The health of fish populations is tied to water quality. We thought we could engage more anglers, and new anglers, by designing a project that identified water quality issues that impacted fisheries and gave more people the opportunity to fish.”
“We are thrilled to be working with the Blue Space Angler Event Series,” said MassWildlife aquatic biologist Jim Lagacy, who coordinates the state’s angler program. “The goal of our program is to inspire an interest in the outdoors through the experience of fishing. Finding your inspiration in the outdoors is critical and fishing is an easy fun way to make that connection.”
“I really love the diversity of fishing events we have happening across the whole city, for people of all ages and experiences,” said Burmeister enthusiastically. “Worcester has a lot of opportunities to fish! But, as a city, we also have a lot of water quality challenges that threaten our fisheries. I hope that this series will give people an appreciation of our responsibility to take care of these amazing recreational assets.”
For more information about the Blue Space Angler Event Series, visit www.wooanglerseries.com.