Rain over the past two weeks seems to have washed away a potential problem with the trout population in the Lower Savage River, Robert Bachman said Thursday.
The drought in Garrett County had created problems with the water levels in the Savage River Reservoir and, you may recall, some fishermen in Western Maryland had worried that reduced flows in the lower river would endanger its trout.
Bachman said that water levels in the reservoir are still lower than normal, but that water lost to controversial white-water trials in the river had been replaced by the rains.
"And I expect that, in the very near future, we should have more water coming through the dam," said Bachman, chief of Maryland's cold-water fisheries for the Department of Natural Resources. "It does look like things are in pretty good shape and we seem to be out of the woods."
Bachman also said that, although water levels in the Lower Savage were far below optimum conditions, a recent survey during the spawn indicated that there was enough water in the river to produce an acceptable spawn.
In an earlier interview, Bachman had said that the drought conditions of the spring and summer had forced some tough decisions on when to allow the highest flow from the dam into the tailwater fishery.
Bachman and DNR biologists had decided to opt for good flows through the warm weather to keep the current population of trout as healthy as possible. The risky time period then became the fall spawning period.
"It was pretty touch-and-go for a while there," Bachman said. "But it appears to be OK and, if there is a lesson to be learned from this, it is that we got about as bad as we could get from the weather and we seem to have survived."
According to the DNR, some 2 million Marylanders feed wild birds during cold-weather months. The following are some guidelines for attracting certain kinds of birds.
In general, black oil sunflower seeds and millet are the best seeds to buy because most birds like these. They are inexpensive.
To attract chickadees, titmice and other small songbirds, put sunflower seeds in a feeder hung from a tree limb or house eave.
For mourning doves, red-winged blackbirds and other types of birds that like to look for their food near the ground, combine sunflower seeds and millet with corn and peanut chips in a low platform feeder. The addition of dried fruits will help attract mocking birds, catbirds and perhaps wintering robins.
Woodpeckers are attracted to suet, which can be melted and mixed with sunflower seeds, millet, peanuts or even peanut butter and then reformed.
Pa. bear hunt
The preliminary count for Pennsylvania's three-day black bear hunt during the last week of November was 1,685, according to (( the state game commission, an increase of 485 over last year and well beyond the predicted harvest of 1,500.
Pennsylvania has a black bear population of about 7,500. The record harvest was 2,213 in 1989.
A 604-pound bear was taken by 16-year-old Chad Reed in Bradford County. In counties bordering Western Maryland, 14 bears were harvested.
Maryland is considering a black bear season next year for the first time since 1953.