Trout Unlimited is coming to Carroll County, and with it is coming that prominent conservation group's focus on the cold-water fisheries of Central Maryland.
Also coming is Lefty Kreh, internationally known fly fisherman and author who for 19 years was outdoor columnist for The Sun. In retirement, he conducts guided fishing tours anywhere in the world for Frontiers International of Wexford, Pa.
Kreh will be the keynote speaker at the county-based chapter's inaugural meeting at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 20 in the Iroquois Building of Hashawha Environmental Appreciation Center near Westminster. No name for the chapter yet: It will be chosen that evening.
Once organizational aspects of the latest TU chapter have been completed, look for it to have positive impact on the Patapsco and its East Branch -- its water quality, habitat and fishes, not necessarily just trout.
TroutUnlimited can claim to be North America's leading cold-water conservation group, dedicated to wild trout and salmon.
Many of its members are activists in the true sense of the word and have made their mark on waters elsewhere in Maryland, as well as across the nation. They get into the thick of things in their campaigns to get waters cleaned up and in the past decade have earned great respect -- and influence.
It was a TU member, 34-year-old Tom Gamper, a Baltimore architect and avid trout fisherman, who sparked interest in formation of the local chapter and also in the stream that meanders through Carroll County as it flows to Liberty Reservoir.
Last spring he was among about 40 TU members from elsewhere in the state who walked the East Branch, looking for signs of pollution -- as well as good trout habitat.
What they saw, they liked; the waters weren't in bad shape. Their mission roused the Department of Natural Resources to check thingsout on a more scientific basis.
Then came DNR electro-shocking procedures to monitor fish life, which found that we have brown trout waters in a place that at times is little more than a brook -- which few fishermen had realized supported good fish life. Electro-shocking temporarily stuns fish; after examination they are released and go ontheir way. There were many trout checked.
These were not rainbow trout stocked in the annual plantings of DNR on a put-and-take basis.No sir, they were trout that were making it on their own -- and obviously were prospering. Brown trout are a highly desirable game fish, and their presence had an even more significant aspect.
They want clean, cool and clear water; their abundance was an indication of at least fairly good water quality.
Previously, many thought Carroll County's trout fishing potential was pretty much limited to the stocked waters of Beaver Run Watershed upstream of Route 90; Morgan Run from London Bridge Road upstream to Route 97; Piney Run from its confluence with the South Branch of the Patapsco upstream to the bridge at Arrington Road; and a few community ponds.
No one knows why the East Branch has so many fish or where they came from. But they presume cleanup efforts in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed have made a contribution. The East Branch is clear and sparkling.
Through the years, mostly way back, there were stories of the occasional trophy trout taken in East Branch and its tributaries. Earlier this year, Liz Bowie, environmental reporter for The Sun, told of the reported catching in the 1970s of a 26-incher in the Aspen Run tributary.
So an excitingnew fishery could be on the horizon, and an exciting new Trout Unlimited chapter will be around to press for preservation and improvementof its water quality.
Fishermen and naturalists alike are invitedto attend the inaugural meeting, which will include coffee and otherrefreshments, a door prize drawing and Kreh's talk, which every outdoorsman is bound to enjoy.
Information: Brian Kaltrider, 848-5005.
Old-time hunters can remember when, with deer and deer hunting, reference was commonly made of bucks and does. Now it's antlered and antlerless.
Dan Wilhelm of Manchester learned why in a recent hunt with a muzzleloader at Eastern Neck Island National Wildlife Refuge in Kent County.
With his .45-caliber round ball, he downed with one shot a six-point buck -- or at least he thought it was a buck until he got a closer look.
It was a doe with a fine antler spread.
Back in the old days when doe shooting was the exception, this could have frightened many a hunter. Seasons then were designated buck and doe shoots, and what was a fellow to do when he found he had shota doe, even if it had antlers, especially in Pennsylvania, where deer laws were exceptionally rigid?
These rare occasions prompted game officials to start designating seasons and deer as antlerless or antlered. The old buck and doe reference was gone -- and so were the worries.
Incidentally, a hormone imbalance is responsible for does with horns.