The sun shines through a forest of pine trees.

Outdoors in RI: Smog. Litter. Ticks. From Maine to RI. Children’s Fishing Derby Sunday- Jeff Gross

by Jeff Gross, contributing writer

Returning from Maine, as soon as I got south of Boston the air changed to a smoky haze that got worse the further south I went on Route 24. Hopefully, this wildfire smoke that condenses on raindrops doesn’t screw up the fishing in New England. So far, Maine fishing has been fair at best for me, while a few people tell of taking nice fish in Rhode Island. Overall  it seems like fishing has quieted down, maybe as an outcome of all the smoke and pollution. The jury is still out on that theory.

As a chemist I can say all this smog is not healthy.  This is uncharted territory as we have never seen so many fires in North America as we have in the last 2 years.  I’m sure at some point fish and wildlife will pay the price, as will our respiratory systems.

On the approach to the Sakonnet River Bridge in Rhode Island I was surprised to see how severe the smog from the wildfires actually is.  One could not see Mount Hope Bay from the Sakonnet River Bridge. The view was more severe from the Mount Hope Bridge. One may need a respirator to work outdoors if this pollution doesn’t move out. It was reported we may endure this smog for months on end as the Canadian Wildfires are turning into Firestorms.  The Header Photo, here, was taken By Steven R. in Pennsylvania. Since Steven took that photo, the air quality has worsened.


In “a better 401 fishing” Facebook page numerous anglers are stating the need to clean up after neglectful anglers.  These neglectful anglers are leaving litter, beer cans and bottles, fishing line and other debris on the shores and in the water.  This writer is encountering the same in Maine.  Unfortunately we need to suck it up and clean up after these slobs as, for the moment, no one else will and many Fish and Wildlife agencies are under staffed. If the Game Wardens start enforcing Rhode Island and Maine litter laws, those monies can be used to hire interns to clean up the messes. Or a law passed in Rhode Island in 2012 states that a litterbug can be ordered to clean up litter from 2 hours to as much as 24 hours. Both methods would have a direct impact.

Tick Watch

Maine has had a number of deaths due to Powassan Disease.  Fortunately,  Rhode Island has not encountered any Powassan disease deaths, however 4 people were diagnosed with Powassan from 2010 to 2021. This recent trip to Maine saw a moderate to severe encounter with ticks of the Brown Tick and Wood Tick variety. A local family talked of how they must spray their lands every month, due to the tick population.  Abby had 9 ticks found walking on her and I had 3 ticks crawling on my legs. Standard practice is when Abby comes in from outdoors she is checked head to tail for any of these parasites.  Abby doesn’t complain though, regarding all the attention.

Children’s Fishing Derby

June 11th is Rhode Island Fish and Game Protective Association’s Family Day.  From 10 am until 11 am the Children’s Fishing Derby will be conducted.  RIFGPA is co-hosting the derby with the RI DEM and I would like to thank the entire staff at the RI DEM Fish and Wildlife for making this event happen. The Derby is open to all children, and registration is at 9 am. Parents will need to sign a release allowing for their children’s photos to be published and also a contact method to send a reminder about trophy night. The youngsters will need a fishing pole and bait to be entered in the derby. At the RIFGPA September meeting trophies will be awarded for the 1st Trout, Largest Trout and Most Trout. In the event of a tie in any category, a trophy will be awarded to both tying youngsters.

Enjoy the next week – see you on the 11th!


Jeffrey “Jeff” Gross spent 21 years as an Analytical Chemist at the USCG R&D Center in Groton, Connecticut, Woods Hole Laboratories, and Helix Technologies. Changing careers is a “great learning experience for everyone”, Jeff says, and I’m an avid outdoorsman and conservationist, a student of the sciences, and the world. The US holds too many wonders not to take a chance and explore them”.

Jeff is the Model Train and Railroad entrepreneur. Proud Golden Retriever owner. Ultra strong Second Amendment Advocate and Constitutionalist. “Determined seeker of the truth”.  Jeff is a RIFGPA Legislative and Legal Officer, Freshwater Chairman, NRA Liaison.

His subjects include Outdoors, Second Amendment, Model Railroading, and Whimsical.

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