Harford youths interested in getting involved with fishing can do soduring the Governor's Youth Fishing Derby, Saturday, June 8, at Friends Park in Forest Hill.
The theme of the event is "Hooked on Fishing -- Not Drugs." It promises to be a fun-filled, educational day for youngsters ages 6 to 16.
More than 3,000 youths entered last year's derby, and if the weather holds up, more are expected this year.
Individual registrationcosts $2 and youngsters receive free fishing hats, goodie bags and other prizes. In addition, a limited number of free fishing rods will be given out.
Friends Park, located on East Jarrettsville Road in Forest Hill, has a 1.3-acre pond stocked with rainbow trout, catfish,bluegill and large-mouth bass.
For additional information and registration, call the Harford County Department of Parks and Recreationat 838-5444.
On the fishing scene, last weekend's warm weather triggered several species of fish to go on a feeding spree. Bluefish, the state's most sought-after gamefish, are migrating up the bay in fair numbers. Most of the choppers tip the scales at 12 to 18 pounds, and a few likely will top the 20-pound mark. Although most are being caught below the Bay Bridge, along the western edge of the main shipping channel, a few were recently taken in the shallows adjacent to Swan Point, located near the Bush River.
Large silver spoons and big surface plugs are the most productive lures.
Here's an area-by-area list of what's biting locally:
* Conowingo Lake -- "Crappie are scattered, but when you find the fish, most measure 10 to 12 inches,"said Butch Young at Glen Cove Marina.
He said the fish are concentrated in the coves situated along the Harford County shoreline. If you're looking for large-mouths, you'll find them congregated among the submerged boulders along the Cecil County side of the lake.
The most productive area has been between the mouth of Conowingo Creek and Conowingo Dam. Scattered catches of small-mouths are being made by anglers fishing the upper reaches of the lake above Mount Johnson Island.
The bronzebacks are hitting live minnows fished under a float.
A caution: Bass season in freshwater is closed until June 15. Therefore, all large-mouth and small-mouth bass must be released. Hybrid white bass are still congregated near the hot-water discharge of Peach Bottom Nuclear Power Plant; however, catching a legal size fish can be a tough proposition. Most of the hybrids range from 10 to 14 inches. The creel limit is two fish per day of 15 or more inches.
* Susquehanna River -- More than 8,000 American shad have been lifted above Conowingo Dam during the first portion of the spring spawning run.
Early predictions from on-site biologists are that last year's total of 15,000 shad will be exceeded by a substantial margin. Anglers fishing from the catwalk are hooking good catches of channel catfish, while shorebound fishermen are finding their best action on small-mouth bass. Because the tide line was recently extended upriver to the base of Conowingo Dam, you can now keep large-mouth and small-mouthbass, but they must measure at least 15 inches.
Downriver, near the mouth of Deer Creek, anglers are finding good numbers of white perch, but most of these fish are too small to keep. Scattered catches of large-mouths are being made along the shores of Garrett and Spencerislands.
The bucketmouths are hitting small, shallow running crankbaits and some action-tailed plastic worms. The best fishing takes place during high and outgoing tides.
* Gunpowder and Bush Rivers -- Scattered catches of tidewater large-mouths are being made in the upper reaches of both rivers. According to Hayward Putnam of StonewallSports, live minnows, spinners, crankbaits and plastic worms are thesecret to success.
Putnam said channel catfish are plentiful throughout the area and they'll take bottom-fished nightcrawlers, clam snouts and chunks of peeler crab. White perch are migrating out of the rivers toward deep holes and lumps situated off Pooles Island.
When the water temperature of the bay climbs to 65 degrees, the perch should congregate over the submerged structure and they'll eagerly hit grass shrimp and live minnows.
When bass ignore your surface plugs, white perch turn their nose up at grass shrimp and even the lowly carp avoid you like the plague, there's always catfish.
Granted, Ictalurus punctatus has a face only a mother could love, but whether one's at the end of your line or in the skillet, catfish ranks right upthere with the best gamefish.
Channel catfish can be found in fresh and brackish waters throughout North America. The species is highly regarded for both its recreational and commercial value, being pond-reared and transported throughout the nation.
Catfish are most abundant in the middle portion of the country. A thriving population lives right here in Harford County.
Channel catfish prefer fast-flowing rivers with sand, gravel and rock bottoms. Thus the Susquehanna is ideal habitat for "Mr. Whiskers."